PAX East 2023 – Dead Island 2 Preview

The Dead Island franchise has had a storied history with the original game, released in 2011, became an early viral hit based on it’s groundbreaking trailer. The game was a major success and the sequel was announced with another stunning trailer way back in 2014. Now nearly 9 years later the game is due out soon and I finally got hands on at PAX East and it was worth the wait.

Despite the title of Dead Island 2, this game is actually set in Los Angeles or Hell-A as they refer to it in game. Similar to the original title the game is an open world First-Person, Action RPG that centers around a group of slayers that are trapped in LA and trying to survive, and thrive, post zombie apocalypse.

When I had a chance to play the game, I was immediately struck by how great Dead Island 2 looks. It seemed to me that a huge focus was made on the lighting and visual effects and it really showed. The demo was primarily on an amusement boardwalk and the sights and sounds were really appealing and added to my enjoyment of the game.

Taking the role of one of the slayers, Amy I believe, I was dropped in the middle of the beach and made my way to the fair. A number of objectives popped up and I used the easy to follow markers to get power activated and make my way to a safe zone.

Armed with a seemingly mid-game pile of weapons I was able to take on the zombies that inevitably stumbled (or ran) my way in a variety of ways. The sword was my preferred method for elegantly but brutally slices limbs from the horde, but smashing them with a rocket sledge was also really satisfying.

Once I discovered I had some firearms (with limited ammo of course) I used them to great advantage to take out some brutes and faster undead. The shotgun in particular was incredibly fun to use as I fought off waves off shambling creatures.

Near the end of my time with the demo I had to power up a Ferris wheel to get to the next area and as I travelled through it I was brought up into the air. At this point I finally encountered what I had been hearing the entire level, an undead clown that scampered around on all fours over the ride and attacked me. Was truly the scariest thing I had experienced in a game in a long time despite being a cliché trope.

Out of time I exited the demo but wanted to hop right back in. The combat felt great, the enemies were fun and varied (damn clown), the dialog was actually enjoyable, weapons were customizable and satisfying and the game itself looked and played great.

In chatting to the developer they let me know there will be a number of different slayers, all with different skills and personalities to explore the game with. They also told me the story will have some very nice twists and a huge variety of zombies and monsters to encounter.

Dead Island 2 has been in development so long I at times forgot it was a real thing. After playing the game at PAX East I am very excited to get my hands on the full version once it releases April 21 on PC via Epic Games Store as well as PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One/X/S platforms.


One thought on “PAX East 2023 – Dead Island 2 Preview

  1. Pingback: PAX East 2023 – Fort Solis Preview – Serious/Gamer

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