Dead Island 2: we tried an action RPG resurrected as a zombie

We tried Dead Island 2, which takes place in a quarantined Los Angeles, with the dead returned to walk the earth: who will have to decide the situation?

It was 2014, and a sequel to the game was announced from the stage of the PlayStation conference, which, despite its imperfections, made a lot of noise about itself. We are, of course, referring to Dead Island, the game that launched Polish Techland into the stratosphere, leading to the birth of the blockbuster Dying Light. However, things did not go as planned by then-publisher Deep Silver, and development was soon taken over by Yager Development, which had just achieved the critically-acclaimed, but not sales-successful Spec Ops: The Line. Even this time, the work is not proceeding as hoped: at first she is called to help Sumo Digital, but this was not enough. In 2019, the development of Dead Island 2 practically begins anew, this time under the auspices of Dumbuster Studioswho finally manages to bring order to the project.

So much so that at Gamescom 2022 we finally have tried dead island 2. Here’s what we’ve learned about this game that has risen from the ashes. Like a zombie.

twenty minutes demo

Dead Island 2: Welcome to Hell-A, or better say LA

Dead Island 2: Welcome to Hell-A, or better say LA

It’s 2022, we’re back at Gamescom after two long years of hiatus due to Covid, and among the games featured, guess what, there’s him, he’s back again: just Dead Island 2 from Dambuster Studios, which, as we can tell, he really seems to have done it. At least from what we’ve had a chance to play: we tried Dead Island 2 for about twenty minutes of the demo, ending in a terrifying face-to-face with a killer clown, clouded by anger and the most aberrant biblical contagions.

But who are Dumster Studios? The origin of this development team goes back to the early 2000s when, as Free Radical, they created two unusual Timeplitters; their story ended with the mega-failure of Haze, which Ubisoft and Sony tried to sell as the most compelling “Halo Killer”. Free Radical, in dire straits, was rescued and bought by Crytek, who renamed it Crytek UK. For Crytek, the Nottingham-based software company created Crysis 2 and 3, and then took over the Homefront project, from which it began developing the sequel to Homefront: Revolution. But in 2014, Crytek got really bad too, deciding to sell the war game intellectual property and shut down Crytek UK. This time, Koch Media, now Plaion, came to the rescue, which, thanks to funds and new projects, allowed the team to reach our days under the name Dambuster Studios.

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Homefront: The revolution was a disaster, but the situation was what it was. Things got a lot better with the 2021 Chorus, which we recommend you take a look at in our review.

Is it possible that in five years a software company with so much experience just managed to co-create a beautiful game, but overall as small as Chorus? It sounded weird, but only because we didn’t know until now that all this time Dambuster Studios was also and above all busy recreating the very unfortunate Dead Island 2. As you already know, since it was revealed during Night Live’s opening, This sequel takes place not in some tropical resort, but in the city of angels, California. Los Angeles. The demo begins right on Santa Monica’s famous beach, at the foot of a pier immortalized in thousands of films, now reduced to a decadent and ghostly barricade in-game.

Attack and defense

Dead Island 2: The zombies in the game are quite scary, also because of their excellent graphics detail.

Dead Island 2: The zombies in the game are quite scary, also because of their excellent graphics detail.

This is where we got to know the commands: we chose the mouse and keyboard, since the current version is the PC version, and our character already has attributes and skills. Skill system based on cards which will be found and then selected, which will give us improvements, and in some cases even new frames. There are also defensive cards that, instead, allow you to turn on the ability to parry and/or use powerful counter moves. On the other hand, the weapons we found in the backpack range from the more classic drum pistol to the more exotic Bagnakh or Wolverine-like claws that allow you to cut through enemies at incredible speed.

Meanwhile, pistols are clearly created with crafting system (which we were not given a deep taste), like axes capable of releasing electricity and other such amenities. Like Dying Light, more so than Dead Island, it will be very important in this sequel to use the elements to increase our effectiveness in combat. There are also two grenade-like throwing weapons that can attract or slow nearby undead.

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Really undead

Dead Island 2: The game seems to consist of many different spacious levels, similar to small open worlds.

Dead Island 2: The game seems to consist of many different spacious levels, similar to small open worlds.

Mindful of Techland’s latest efforts that the game has created, we immediately tried to climb up to access the pier, only to find that Dead Island 2, as usual, lacks a more or less advanced parkour system. Indeed, different characters, of which there are only six, although the maximum number of players in the game is three, all of them are endowed with heaviness, which tends more towards realism. While we were making our way through the zombies, with stamina at a minimum, our character also accidentally stumbled and out of breath. Of course, it was only a few seconds, but trust us when we tell you that they appear much larger when surrounded by similar enemies. Even the zombies are slow but relentless, what’s more, the combat system is based on a technology that allows us to react very precisely based on the weapons used, in order to generate wounds and maims depending on the strength of our shots that can be loaded. and their direction.

killer clown

Dead Island 2: Goodbye Club Honey... Los Angeles is always Los Angeles

Dead Island 2: Goodbye Club Honey… Los Angeles is always Los Angeles

Moving along the pier, weaving between abandoned arcades and haunted saloons, we retraced our tracks several times, because Dead Island 2 only gives a rough direction, plus it allows you to choose the wrong path. Driving up to the iconic Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, the fun begins: we are attacked by dozens of zombies, we are forced to constantly move, fall to the ground, back up, give up every weapon and bullet to the bottom. We are also trying to use some environmental elementsturning on a nearby generator to electrify a large pool of water that can fry enemies and blow up large gas tanks scattered around.

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Especially dangerous is a two-meter-high and one-meter-high zombie, a look fixed on us, a gloomy look and deadly slaps in the face: it is he who kills us the first time, but on the second attempt he can no longer be saved and we take home the victory. Shortly thereafter, we find eternal rest in the hands of the lost killer clown what awaits us at the end of the demonstration. We are patted on the shoulder, there is no time to try again: the one at our disposal is finished, and we would gladly continue.

Zombie Express

Dead Island 2: Day or Night, Get Ready to Escape

Dead Island 2: Day or Night, Get Ready to Escape

What follows is no less interesting: we go to a small room nearby to chat with the producer of Dead Island 2, who explains in detail how the effects of our shots are calculated, which they seem to be very proud of. and how contextual dialogues will change depending on the selected character. We will also take the opportunity to better understand the structure of the game, which we learn from the interview is not a true open world. Los Angeles in Dead Island 2 is essentially divided into different areas, all very large and which we will return to several times during the course of the main story. So Dead Island 2 willmore linear experience than we expectedand that might be good, if not great, news.

More than eight years after the debut of the very first trailer, Dead Island 2 is finally in development. The game seems to be built around solid gameplay, at least graphically on a very bright PC, but there are a few doubts that a longer and more exhaustive test will hopefully dispel soon. And do you think that after all this time you are still interested in such an experience?


  • Good graphics (on PC)
  • Solid gameplay
  • It’s not an open world in the truest sense.


  • Will card abilities be limiting?
  • Only three players for co-op
  • It’s not an open world in the truest sense.


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