Explore iconic, gore-drenched Los Angeles, meet larger-than-life characters, slay countless foes in exquisitely bloody detail and evolve to become the ultimate Zombie Slayer in Dead Island 2, out now. Buy it here.
Dead Island 2 is nearly upon us after a long, excruciating wait, and if you’re planning on taking a holiday to HELL-A this April you’re going to want to plan your trip for maximum enjoyment – and maximum survival. Luckily, we’ve contacted our best travel agents and celebrity home tour guides to put together a handful of helpful hints to make it as easy as possible for you to play and slay your way in HELL-A!
Of course, giving you all the answers would ruin things – experimenting with death and destruction in Dead Island 2 is 99% of the fun, after all – but this should get you started on the right foot.
Find Your Slaystyle
Dead Island 2 features six playable Slayers to embody on your HELL-A vacation, and each comes with their own personality, history and importantly – their own unique stats and skills. Every Slayer comes with innate skills that suit their vibe, like Bruno’s Backstab that gives him a damage boost when attacking zombies from behind, Amy’s Relief Pitcher that regenerates stamina when she throws weapons, or Carla’s Mosh Pit which boost her damage in a crowd.
The great thing is, while the two innate skills are unique to each Slayer, there’s plenty of room to build on them and “Slay Your Way” with the game’s heavily customisable melee weapons and firearms, as well as the Skill Cards you’ll be able to collect and equip along the way.
Trust In The Heart Of The (Skill) Cards
Dead Island 2’s collectible cards are for more than flipping on eBay at exorbitant prices – they form a crucial part of Slayer progression and customisation. Using Skill Cards, you’ll be able to build your Slayer into the best zombie killing machine for your slaystyle.
Broken down into four categories that slowly open up with new slots as you level up your Slayer, equipping Skill Cards can grant new abilities, buffs and bonuses that can be mixed, matched and stacked to adapt to your strengths and weaknesses. Struggling with crowd control? Safe Space triggers a concussive area-of-effect explosion whenever you pop a med kit. Or if you’re a big fan of throwing Curveballs, Pain Magazine will recharge your active Curveball with a well-timed block or dodge.
There’s no limit to how often you swap Skill Cards in and out either, so learn what works for you but don’t be afraid to change things up when the situation calls.
Load Up On Guns…
On top of Skill Cards, Dead Island 2 also offers customisation in its weapons system, which allows players to upgrade and build on the huge number of unique weapons found out in HELL-A. Picking up as much scrap and cash from around the place as you can is vital, as you’ll gradually unlock new blueprints to craft more and more insane weapons. All manner of hammers, clubs, swords and more can have bits strapped on to make them stronger, faster, longer-lasting and even imbued with status effects like electricity, fire, bleeding and acid to add even more insult to injury.
And yes, there are guns. While they’re fewer in number than melee weapons and ammo is in equally short supply they can make all the difference against some of the game’s tougher enemies so make sure you keep at least a couple on hand, kitted out and stocked up for some of the gnarlier fights you’ll face.
Make sure you pick up any particularly powerful or unique weapons that you find too, even if you don’t think you’ll use them. You’ve got a little bit of universal storage to access in safe rooms that’s shared between any Slayer save files you create, and if nothing else you can sell them or break them down into crafting components.
…Bring Your Friends
Dead Island 2 also features full co-op play for up to three total Slayers, meaning you can team up to take some of the edge off of surviving and balance your strengths and weaknesses with two friends – or strangers, if you want. It’s totally drop-in, drop-out so you can set your game’s privacy how you prefer and others can jump in and join you while you play.
With the flexibility of the Skill Cards system and weapon customisation, putting together a crack team of Slayers can make even the most chaotic and intimidating showdowns with zombie hordes feel much more manageable, and while you’ll split any cash you find equally with your mates the rest of the loot is instanced to each player so you’ll all get to walk away with your own spoils for the trouble. Having someone along for the ride is also great for, uh, “testing” for any booby traps that might be hiding around every corner.
Work The FLESH
One of Dead Island 2’s biggest draws is its innovative “Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids,” or FLESH.
FLESH goes beyond simple zombie dismemberment physics with a fully-modelled and procedural damage system that allows players to tear zombies apart in real-time, with blunt weapons breaking bones, razor-sharp blades slicing through muscle and organs, caustic acid dissolving skin in seconds and plenty more gross stuff. More than just an impressive and disgusting display of tech though, it’s a crucial factor in zombie slaying.
Dead Island 2’s unique zombie types can be formidable, but they’re still just bags of meat. The mighty, roided-out Crushers can’t do their trademark ground slam if they’re missing arms, for example, and what’s a Runner with two broken legs? Try out all of the unique weapon types and test the impact they have on zombie bodies – surviving against impossible odds and controlling hordes becomes easier when you think less “How can I do the most damage?” and more “How can I do the best damage?”
And if all else fails, empty a jerrycan full of Caustic-X in front of your shambling foes and watch them melt from the outside-in before they ever reach you.