EGX 2014: Dead Island 2 Preview

Dead Island to me still stands out as a fun game. It does have its problems and can frustrate some gamers, but the pure enjoyment of hacking & slashing zombies with insane weapons felt great. At this year’s EGX 2014 in London, I got the chance to get hands on with Dead Island 2. The booth itself was fantastic with actors and actresses in zombie attire creeping around you and scaring you whilst you play their game. Can the experience when waiting in line be reflective of the game’s experience? It’s time to grab a bat, put on some shades and smash some heads.

Dead Island 2 was available to play on the PS4 and was a four player co-op demo. This was great to experience as the connectivity between players was flawless. No lag, no jumping characters as you were going through the world and more accurate teamwork. However, whether this holds up on launch will, of course, be down to a decent internet connection and servers. As for the demo itself, it was as simple as ‘here are some toys, go nuts’. We were thrown into a controlled environment and told to explore, kill and complete some side quests. By completing the side quests you unlocked an electrified knife and a flaming pistol, though it is likely that this was for demo purposes and will not carry across to the full game.


The controls felt really tight and amusing as your main attack button could act as a fast trigger finger or produce a crazy series of knife slashes. Kicking is also an option to knock back opponents so you can react with a quick strike or a quick getaway. The electric knife and flaming pistol also played a part with adding effects to either zombies or the environment. Fire can ignite an opponent, causing them to take damage over time, whilst electric damage can do the same with the added benefit of stunning your enemy in place. This could be incredibly useful as if you were  surrounded and wanted to save your shots, you could try firing at a nearby barrel or vat of oil to blow up and set a large group of enemies alight instead.

The whole environment was very colourful and vibrant, similar to that of Sunset Overdrive, only locked to a first person perspective. There were some unfortunate moments of pop in textures when running around the world, but that could have been due to the pre-alpha build the demo was running on. Even with these slight issues seen in textures, the game ran smoothly at 60FPS. This made slicing and dicing enemies look and feel better than a restricted 30FPS counterpart.

As we fought our way through the demo, mindlessly killing zombies of all shapes and sizes, we came across two new breeds of foe. First were the Runners; big hulking zombies that were capable of dealing heavy damage and were not easy to take down what so ever. During the demo I only managed to take out one of them, and even that required a lot of stunning from the electrified knife and a bit of teamwork from one of my partners. Second were the Suiciders; pulsating creatures with gigantic puss sacks on their backs which go boom when they are defeated. These guys do nothing but charge at you and blow up. Even if you do manage to kill them, if you are too close then you are still going to get hurt, so it was best to take them out from afar rather than close up.


Along with fighting these new enemies, a random event occurred whilst in the demo. This required the team to work together as we fought off different zombies that were taking down a nearby blockade. Defend the blockade, and you win. This was very challenging, as for the first five minutes I was alone and already swamped. By the time the whole team came to join in, there were more zombies than you could count either attacking us or the blockade. Great teamwork, coordination and skill with weapons are definitely required to ace these kinds of events.

Overall the entire demo was great to play. Dead Island 2 is looking to be a more fun and colourful counterpart to Techland’s Dying Light and other similar titles. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out, the crafting system comes together and the amount of variation that the weapons all have, and I really do hope we get more than your standard fire or electric mods to mix things up on the beach. If you prefer to slash down hordes rather than think tactically about your actions, then this is the game for you. Dead Island 2 is definitely one to keep your eyes out for.

What do you think of Dead Island 2? Are you looking forward to fighting trouble in paradise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and keep a look out for more of our EGX 2014 coverage.