Pc Games

Dead Island 2’s zombie fights quickly wear out their welcome—and its short, linear story has little else to offer

After 12 years of development, across four different studios, Dead Island 2 is finally a playable videogame, with release planned for April 21 this year. After such a troubled journey it’s impressive that its final custodians Dambuster Studios have pulled together anything at all—but after an extensive hands-on with the first third of the game, I’m sadly left feeling that the final result is a thin and uninteresting experience.

The game sticks close to the formula of the original. You play a hardy survivor in the middle of a zombie apocalypse—this time in sunny LA, rather than a tropical island—and have to battle your way through the hordes, primarily via the art of first-person melee combat with a variety of improbably jury-rigged weapons. It’s fully playable in co-op, though in my singleplayer-only preview I didn’t feel I was at a disadvantage on my own, so solo players can be at ease. 

(Image credit: Dambuster Studios)

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I think what will surprise a lot of people is that Dead Island 2 is not an open world, it’s a linear adventure. Though you do travel back and forth through LA, the game’s version of the city is basically a corridor of zones separated by loading screens, full of roads and lanes that make the area look bigger but are actually blocked off. And it doesn’t seem particularly long—that first third took about five hours, which suggests a full playthrough will be about 15 hours, maybe 20 with sidequests. 

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