Dead Island 2 demo entertains the PAX horde with feverish demo.

After more than a decade, the highly anticipated sequel to the cult classic, Dead Island, is finally set to release on both PC and consoles....

After more than a decade, the highly anticipated sequel to the cult classic, Dead Island, is
finally set to release on both PC and consoles. In preparation for its release, we visited the PLAION PAX East Booth to get a sneak peek at the game and see how it plays. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet with a developer, so we couldn't ask any additional questions or get clarifications. However, we were able to try out the public demo and here are our first-hand impressions.

Dead Island 2 is a first-person action RPG that takes place in a hellish yet stylish and vibrant, gore-drenched vision of Los Angeles, nicknamed HELL-A. The series’ unique formula of dark humor and over-the-top zombie-slaying returns, with all the swagger and charisma you’d expect from Dead Island. Armed with an array of weapons, each with their own unique, brutal fighting style and endless opportunities for upgrades, you'll face off against Standard zombies (Walkers, Shamblers, Runners), Variant zombies (grenadier walkers), and Apex zombies (hyper-mutated zombies), each with its own horrifying powers and behaviors.

The full game will allow for a 4-player team-up and will come with 6 characters, referred to as Slayers, to choose from. For example, there is Dani, who hails from the mosh pits of County Cork, Ireland. Dani’s slayer build is largely balanced and is well-suited to an agile style of combat. Alternatively, there is Bruno, a hustler from the streets of LA, who comes with lethal knife skills built for backstabbing, rogue-like techniques.

The demo started on a beach at night. In the shadows, Walkers and Runners lurked, ready to pounce and feast on our soft flesh given the chance. The game looks great graphically, thanks to the newly added FLESH (Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids) Engine, a feature that allows for particularly gruesome dismemberment scenes in the game. This is definitely a step up from the 11-year-old prequel and needless to say... This is not a game for the little ones. The game definitely is doing its best to earn the M rating by the ESRB

There are a variety of weapons to encounter in the game, but as before, the game seems to want you to get up close and personal and therefore offers a plethora of melee weaponry, whereas ammo for guns can be scarce. Despite all the on-screen action, the other part of the game is the RPG element, and as such, players will also see how tapping into Curveballs and combining a powerful set of Skill Cards can enhance abilities and create unique player builds. Those builds can come with some powerful abilities, and in this sequel, players will finally witness what happens when their chosen Slayer uses their immunity to their advantage and activates their corrupted DNA to trigger Fury Mode.

Elemental effects are a big part of Dead Island, and it seems that more emphasis has been placed on them in this game. Dead Island 2 encourages you to be creative and find fun uses for different elements in the game. Water can act as a conduit for electricity and spread it around larger areas, while Fire or Acid can do damage over time and weaken your foes or take down a large portion of a mob. Different enemy types react differently to each element, so working as a team, stacking, and dividing how to take them out adds to the challenge and the fun.

The demo on this weekend's show floor had us follow a careful path surrounding a boardwalk area with minimal puzzle solving, with the end goal being a big showdown at the boardwalk ferris wheel. It's not a new concept, as it's a choke point where you will have to survive waves of the horde while starting up the wheel, once you make it out of that it teases an Apex zombie and leaves you HUNGER for more.

Overall, it seems Dead Island 2 will mostly appeal to those that enjoyed the first game and bring mostly the same with a higher polish and some tweaks. the FLESH engine is surely impressive and from what we have seen it is working up to be another fun coop option for the moms, dads and older kids of the gaming family. It remains to be seen if the full game will do enough to bring the sceptics that were not too keen on the first game in the series. Lucky for you, you do not have to wait much longer as the release is around the corner. 

Dead Island 2 will release April 21 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5 and PlayStation®4, PC via the Epic Games Store. 

For more information on Dead Island 2 view the website here -

View the extend gameplay trailer for Dead Island 2 here -


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