Dead Island 2 PAX East 2023 Preview

Dead Island 2

When it comes to games that have been delayed for a long time, many gamers lose faith or expect that the project has been scrapped entirely. Until August 2022, it was suspected that Deep Silver and Dambuster Studios’ sequel to the popular Dead Island franchise was dead in the water.

Then after years of radio silence, a new listing for Dead Island 2 was discovered. This listing not only gave new information about the game but that it would be released in 2023. The original release date was scheduled for February 3rd, 2023 but was later pushed back until April 28th. Now, the new release date is April 21st, 2023.

So how did Dead Island 2 turn out? Was it worth the long wait? Our first impressions are here, so find our Dead Island 2 preview below!

Dead Island 2

PAX East 2023 Demo

With the game’s upcoming release, we had the opportunity to meet with Plaion to preview Dead Island 2. Plaion also featured demos for System Shock, Undisputed, and Road 96: Mile 0. They also helped promote Berzerk Studios’ update to Infernax titled Infernax: Deux or Die.

After waiting for almost a decade, we finally got the chance to get out hands on Dead Island 2 and quickly found that it did not disappoint. 10 years after the original outbreak, a newer stronger outbreak has come to the state of California and it is on lockdown. According to the developers, Dead Island 2 will take place in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. For the PAX East 2023 demo, we played a portion in Los Angeles.

The demo had us start on Santa Monica Beach and work our way up to the Santa Monica Pier. Once on the pier, the player is told that they need to search for a medical briefcase that has important information about the new virus on it.

The pier like many other areas was transformed into a quarantine zone, but the quarantine zone did not hold. For the demo, the player is given a wide array of weapons to use to fight the infected horde. While trying to enter the quarantine zone, we accidentally killed ourselves through electrocution.

The fact that the game managed to do that convincingly showed us how far Dead Island has come since Dead Island Riptide. Once through the decontamination tent, we were tasked with finding a way to the edge of the pier despite part of the pier falling into the Pacific Ocean.

In order to get around the collapsed pier, we had to cut through the Playland Arcade. Although the arcade is slightly out of date by a few years, you get a general idea of what it would feel like to be in that arcade.

Once in the arcade, the player is tasked with turning on the power in order to open the back door. Turning on the power causes the machines to turn on, alerting the horde.

The player must fight off the horde and find the key card in order to open the door. Once the door is open, a new obstacle stands in the way: getting past the Pacific Wheel. This was the second time we were forced to face the horde and use primarily melee weapons to survive.

During the Pacific Wheel fight is where we got our first taste of the rage system. Shockingly, it wasn’t as heavy hitting as we expected. Additionally, specialty zombies appeared making our life an even bigger headache. Once the horde was dispatched we could get past the Ferris Wheel, or so we thought.

The Ferris Wheel jerked to life and gave players a glimpse of a new type of infected – for those who are afraid of clowns, you might want some backup. After a scary ride, we could finally search for the briefcase. If you don’t like clowns then this boss fight might make you hate them even more.

Dead Island 2 Extended Gameplay Thumbnail

Gameplay Takeaways

Playing the Dead Island 2 demo gave us the opportunity to see how combat will work within the game. The game seems to favor melee weapons with a majority of the drops either being components or melee weapons.

Ammo within the demo was scarce and we wish we had saved it for a later point. The game allows players to target individual body parts of the infected making it easier to cut them down to size; there were multiple occasions where we cut the legs out from under an infected just to get away and recover health.

Sadly, we did not have the opportunity to play the demo cooperatively with others which is our preferred way to play Dead Island 1 and Riptide. Additionally, we did not have the chance to preview the game’s crafting system, but we look forward to what the developers have added to the game.

The thirty-minute demo of Dead Island 2 gave us just a taste of what to expect when the game releases and honestly, we can’t wait for more. The way that limbs fly off, blood squirts out, and the feeling of my heart racing as we fight to survive are just a few of the aspects that we loved from this short demo.

Dead Island 2 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on April 21st, 2023.

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Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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