For a long time, Dead Island 2 was considered vaporware. Announced in 2014, it suffered numerous delays and changing developers, going from Yager Development to Sumo Digital and finally landing with Dambuster Studios, Deep Silver’s internal developer. Nevertheless, following its re-reveal last year, Dead Island 2 is on the path to finally releasing for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC. It went gold last month and has been pushed forward from its April 28th release date to April 21st.
With its recent extended gameplay video showcasing all the bloody mayhem that fans can look forward to, let’s check out ten new things you should know before the game’s release.
All Six Slayers and Their Abilities
Dead Island 2 presents six playable characters, the Slayers, with unique abilities called Innate Skills. Jacob is about critical hits, with Feral granting a minor damage increase which keeps stacking with continuous hits, and Critical Gains increasing Critical Damage when stamina is low. Critical hits also regenerate Stamina, which is nice.
Dani regains health by killing multiple zombies with Bloodlust while Thunderstruck dishes out explosions with Heavy Attacks. Amy likes throwing weapons, gaining stamina after successful throws with Relief Pitcher and gaining a minor damage boost against lone zombies with Divide and Conquer.
Ryan is a tank, receiving a small Force boost when blocking or dodging an attack thanks to Retaliation, while Seesaw regenerates some of his health whenever knocking down a zombie. Carla is more of a frontline fighter, using Dig Deep to gain a small boost to Toughness when her health is critical and Mosh Pitt for a minor Damage boost when facing hordes of zombies at once.
Finally, there’s Bruno, who uses Backstab for a moderate Damage boost when attacking from behind. Agility and Heavy Attack Charges are increased when blocking or dodging thanks to Rapid Reprisal, allowing one to evade attacks and deal massive damage from behind.
You’ve probably heard about the Skill Deck and its cards, but don’t worry – it isn’t a random assortment of cards you draw in fights. Instead, they’re equippable skills divided into Abilities, Survivor, Slayer and Numen categories. Abilities, as you may have guessed, include attacks like the Drop Kick and skills like War Cry, which unleashes a shout weakening nearby zombies and strengthening you and surrounding allies.
While Dambuster has yet to detail each category, it has confirmed the ability to switch skills mid-combat, to the extent that you can jump into the air with one set of skills and land with another. It allows for taking “some real risks” which either pay off or go “horribly wrong.”
New Skill Cards
In addition to the Skill Cards revealed thus far, some new ones have been revealed. Dash Strike, as the name indicates, lets you dash to a zombie and attack them. Hammer Fist, a Slayer skill, is a powerful hit that can launch zombies sky-high. Ground Pound sees your character smashing the ground, creating tremors to knock enemies down, while Flare Up creates a fiery ignition in that area. It’s great for crowd control while ensuring any surviving foes are taking constant burn damage.
While Dead Island 2 touts dozens of variants of its zombies, the recent extended gameplay trailer showcased Apex Zombies. These are described as “hyper-mutated zombies” which pose a significant threat. They have unique powers and behaviors – one Apex has double-bladed arms, while another is a massive charred zombie that burns the player on grabbing them. Another has a powerful scream, which can seemingly knock players back. You can think of these as Elites, and it should be interesting to see how many different types there are.
You’ve probably heard about the FLESH System and how it enables realistic, procedural gore. Hearing about it is one thing, but seeing it in action is another. Jaws break off with enough force, undead flesh melts, and blades are stuck in enemies when broken. It’s comically over-the-top but incredibly chunky as you hack away at different layers to expose the bone underneath or break a zombie’s knees and watch them fall. There’s just something impressive about the sheer level of detail in it all.
Though Dead Island 2 isn’t an open-world game, there is a lot to uncover by exploring, like stashes and side quests. Side quests could range from discovering an intercom with someone asking you to help to wandering into a bleary rock star’s property and closing the gates while fighting off the undead to gain access to his house. While they’re likely rewarding, these are diversions, so it should be possible to beeline to your next destination without getting side-tracked.
Melee Weapon Types
Fans of the previous games will recognize a good portion of the weapons in the sequel, from the katana and various knives to the sledgehammer. They’re equally devastating, with each inflicting different kinds of damage, which flows well with the new FLESH System. You can strategically impale, dismember and maim zombies with slashing weapons like the katana, or use the sledgehammer for crushing blows that are good for crowd control. And though weapons degrade over time, you can equip eight on a Slayer and keep an additional eight in your inventory to switch to them.
Firearms are also available for shooting enemies from range and dealing significant damage. The weapons shown thus far include pistols, assault rifles, uzis, and stun guns, which are good for electrifying water for zombies walking through. Ammo is required, naturally, and if Dead Island 2 is anything like its predecessors, expect it to be relatively scarce as you traverse HELL-A.
As previously confirmed, you can modify weapons to add things like elemental damage. However, the extended gameplay video revealed even more in terms of customization. Each weapon has a fixed perk, like the katana’s Sturdy Handle, and a slot for equipping mods like Melee Mutilator, which boosts physical damage, weakens zombies with continuous hits and restores stamina with hits against weakened zombies. The rarity of the mod determines how high that damage boost will be. In the same way, there are mods for Fire damage, Electric damage, and more.
Then there are the Perk slots, like Precision Strikes, where critical hits in quick succession boost the Critical Damage and can stack multiple times. Leech has a chance to regain health when damaging a zombie, and Shockwave creates a Forceful explosion when knocking down a zombie.
You can even increase damage to limbs and durability with a mod like Slaughter. Some mods require materials like Fabric, Scrap, Chemicals, Fasteners and Alloy. Others require zombie parts like Toxic Gallbladders, Blade Arms, Infected Flesh, and more, providing plenty of incentive to hunt the undead.
Environmental Kills and Other Items
The environment also plays a significant role in combat, whether it’s electrified water, throwing gas canisters and shooting them to ignite the undead, or blowing up fuel trucks. When faced with former-military-turned-undead, you can even shoot the grenades on their vests to explode them and damage surrounding enemies. There are also returning items like Meat Bait, which can distract the undead when thrown. Unlike in the first Dead Island, it seems to explode after some time, which is much more potent.