It’s been years and years in the making, but Dead Island 2 is finally here. Dambuster Studios and Deep Silver’s action RPG is out now, bringing the series’ first person zombie action back into the limelight, and given how long the wait for it has been, it goes without saying that lots of players are going to be diving in over the coming months and weeks. As you do and make your way through LA, as the game calls it – there’s be plenty to keep track of, so to help you get to grips with things a bit smoother, here, we’ve compiled a few basic tips and tricks that you should keep in mind as you play the game.
PICKING YOUR SLAYER
The very first choice you’ll be making in Dead Island 2 is which character you want to play as, because like its predecessors, it has multiple playable characters. Referred to as Slayers, there are six of them this time around, each coming with unique attributes, and once you’ve made your choice, you won’t be able to swap to any of the other characters on that save. Our advice is to take your time with this decision and choose based on how you intend to play. If you want to play with a tanky character who can take plenty of damage, Carla is a great choice, while Ryan is great for those who prefer to focus on DPS.
Dead Island 2 might be a first person game, but like its predecessors, it won’t see you using too many guns, with its combat being almost entirely melee-focused. And given how often you’ll be getting up close to your enemies, there’s plenty of blocking and dodging involved as well. In fact, as you get deeper into the game and start facing more threatening enemies or larger groups of zombies, defensive actions become that much more important. It’s best to get the hang of blocking and dodging early on in the game, especially since doing it with the right timing gives you a window to counterattack.
The many weapons you’ll find throughout your time in the game will, of course, be your primary means of slaughter zombies in Dead Island 2, but there’s almost always plenty in the environments that you can use in creative ways as well. For instance, if you see a sparking wire, you can use water cans to make a puddle around it and then lure zombies towards you so they caught caught in your electrifying trap. Using your kick and jump kick can also come in particularly handy if you’re trying to knock zombies into environmental hazards.
Unique elemental properties play an important role in Dead Island 2’s combat, and making use of them can be quite useful (not to mention a lot of fun). Electricity, for instance, can be quite effective against large group of zombies, especially because if you hit them with an electric weapon enough times, they’ll become stunned and take continuous damage. It can be made even more effective, however, if the enemy you’re targeting is wet, which means finding ways to get them soaked – whether that’s with a can of water that you manually spray or with the help of a fire hydrant – can yield even better results.
Dead Island 2 prides itself on gore, and while it does look incredibly, it’s not just there for visual and aesthetic purposes. Dismembering enemies can actually have tactical advantages on combat, especially if you’re smart about what body part you’re looking to cut off and what type of enemy you’re fighting. If, for instance, you see a Runner coming at you, slicing off its legs can be a great way to neutralize that threat, since as their name suggests, Runners are all about movement and mobility. And of course, there’s nothing more satisfying than chopping a zombie’s head off and watching it slide off its neck.
What type of damage you’re dealing to enemies and how you’re breaking or slicing their bodies apart is, as you may have expect, based on what kind of weapon you’re using. There’s an impressive variety of weapons on offer in Dead Island 2, and they fall in different groups with unique attributes- for instance, while Bulldozer weapons are better equipped to take on larger groups of zombies at once, Maiming weapons are best suited to the task of dismembering enemies, while Frenzy weapons are ideal for faster flurries of attacks. Keep a varied selection of weapons on you at all times, because once single weapon isn’t going to be the right choice for every combat encounter.
Dead Island 2 will have you swapping in and out of weapons frequently, thanks in large part to its durability mechanics, which means you’ll be finding and picking up a lot of weapons throughout the game. But though not all of them are good enough to be used in combat, even if a weapon has low damage output, it’s worth picking up. Weapons can be dismantled for scrap, which in turn is used for upgrades and customization, so our advice would be to pick up as many weapons as you can and keep scrapping the ones you’re not going to use in combat.
Oh, and speaking of upgrades…
UPGRADES AND MODS
Though weapons are quite disposable in Dead Island 2, and though the game encourages you to not stick with just a limited selection of them, you can and should keep upgrading and customizing them to power them up in unique ways- chief among them being infusing them with different elemental properties. By its very nature, Dead Island 2 encourages you to use a wide variety of weapons, but having an arsenal full of upgraded tools with specialized damage gets increasingly more useful as you get deeper into the game.
While each Slayer has starting statistics and attributes that makes them unique, Dead Island 2 gives players even greater freedom to personalize and customize your characters through it Skill Deck system, which allows you to equip your Slayer with the skills you find and unlock throughout the game. There build variety on offer is quite impressive and lets you cater your character’s progression to your play style quite a bit, so keeping an eye on the Skill Deck is something that you should definitely be doing, especially as the game adds more and more layers to it as you progress further in the story.
Dead Island 2 does allow you to repair your broken weapons, which means you can have your favourites stick around in your inventory for longer periods. But what happens if you do lose one of your favourites, maybe just by accidentally throwing or discarding it? Thankfully, that weapon’s not gone forever. You can simply head to the Unclaimed Property section of any weapons locker you see to recover any weapons that you may have lost.
Dead Island 2 isn’t an open world game, but quite a few of its environments are quite open ended and provide plenty of room for exploration. Even when you’re linearly moving through levels and get from point A to point B, you can often do so in a couple of different ways. So if, for instance, the door of a house that you need to get into is locked, while you can try and find the code to open the door, you can also just try and find a way around and break in through the sliding glass doors in the back. Exploring is, of course, also quite useful for finding new weapons, resources, logs and collectibles, skill cards, side quests, and more.