Dying Light 2 Challenges Dead Island 2’s Gorefest With An Iteration Of Its Own

The open world zombie-survivor is not done yet.

Story Highlights

  • Dying Light and Dead Island have closely related histories, starting off from the same developer, and have since been in competition due to similar genres.
  • After suffering a development hell of over nine years and going through multiple changes, Dead Island 2 is finally here and rewards us by showing those obstacles couldn’t hold it back.
  • With impeccable timing, Dying Light 2 reveals a major “Gut Feeling” update to overhaul its combat with more brutality and is once again ready to enter the fray.

Dying Light and Dead Island series share a history of rivalry, both being open-world zombie survivors and their latest entries are currently in contest. Dead Island was an exceptional game that was a pleasant surprise for many and started the satisfying gore-fest of eliminating zombies in the most brutal ways. The same developer later started the Dying Light series as a more exploration and parkour-focused open world filled with zombies.

Dying Light 2 had big shoes to fill, and it delivered exceptionally by refining existing mechanics, providing a more rich map, and improving parkour mechanics. Dead Island also made a return this year with the highly longed-for sequel, and despite certain problems, it is the fun zombie killer we all wanted it to be. And on its release, Dying Light 2 also stepped up to release the major “Gut Feeling” update.

Dead Island and Dying Light’s Entwined History

With the survival horror genre going strong, Techland put a unique spin on the concept with an open-world zombie game, where the focus is more on how gruesome you can make the zombies’ deaths, up to even comedic heights. The final product might not have been as depicted, but no one can deny Dead Island’s cinematic trailer was downright epic and hooked us all immediately.

The gameplay loop was highly satisfying, with the extremely gory deaths of grotesque zombies and the ability to freely wander around, enhancing the sense of tension and dread. Dead Island was extremely successful and brought Techland a lot of praise. However, the IP was still the publisher Deep Silver’s property and multiple reasons led to Techland having to give up the series, after working on the DLC/Sequel Riptide.

The team that worked on the game went on to develop a new IP, Dying Light, regarded as a spiritual successor to the Dead Island series. Being similar in setting and mechanics, the game had much more focus on exploration and parkour rather than gore. This gave the game a more serious tone and the thrill of discovery. The game quickly acquired its distinct identity and stood strong among competitors.

Having considerable history, the two similar series quickly became rivals and still continue to compete. Both Dying Light and Dead Island received a sequel announcement in close proximity to one another, and once again we had two enormous titles to look forward to. After long development cycles, Dying Light 2 beat Dead Island 2 to it and launched on February 4, 2022.

Dying Light 2 was a phenomenal game, improving upon the mechanics of the prequel skillfully with much more content to discover and fluid parkour to do so, and is among the best survival horror games you can play. Now we had to see how Dead Island 2 fares in comparison, but sadly we had to wait a little longer. After a rather murky development cycle and multiple delays, the game was finally on its way to release.

Despite Rocky Development, Dead Island 2 Manages To Shine

Back when Dead Island 2 was first announced, the fact that Techland was no longer the developer was saddening, but we still had high hopes for games. No one could have expected the development hell the game was going to be plunged into. Following its announcement back in 2014, the game stayed in development for over 9 years and has seen multiple changes and revamps.

After parting ways with Techland who went on to create the Dying Light series, Deep Silver handed over Dead Island 2 production to Yager, the developer responsible for the exceptional campaign of Specs Ops: The Line. Yager showed considerable enthusiasm and had created a lot of the game when it all came to a halt due to unfortunate circumstances. This was just the start of the trouble.

Sumo Digital was the next developer to take up the game, and it fell silent for a few years. With Dying Light 2 announced in E3 2018, it was soon revealed afterward that Sumo Digital is no longer working on Dead Island 2 either. Dambusters was the last and final developer, the game received a re-announcement trailer and was finally released on April 21, 2023.

It seems our long patience paid off though, as we received an excellent game living up to the Dead Island name. With excellent combat mechanics and an improved comedic touch, Dead Island 2 is exactly the mindless zombie-killing adventure we were waiting for. It is evident by the game’s enormous success and favorable reception right on its release.

The game presents a rather simple premise, the staple of the genre, and then brings excellent gameplay mechanics to execute it. Rather than running away scared from the zombies, you can relish in the excitement by eliminating them in the most brutal ways possible and have a ton of fun doing so. Just grab a bat and bash their skull in, or bring in some friends to have a few laughs crushing them together.

Eliminate the zombies in the most brutal ways in Dead Island 2
Eliminate the zombies in the most brutal ways in Dead Island 2

The game shows off its horror-comedy inspirations very well. With witty protagonists and excellent comedy writing, the game makes sure you never get bored and burst out into laughter at multiple points. The story and dialogues set up excellent scenarios and with combat that is downright hilarious, the laughs continue on as you enjoy this unique and comedic recreation of Los Angeles.

The game is not without its shortcomings though, and they are significant to be notable. Dead Island 2 lacks much creativity and originality like the original, and you feel like you’ve done it all in other games, like Dying Light 2 for example. However that doesn’t stop it from being an amazing adventure, and to be honest we’re grateful considering the game could have been much worse due to development problems.

Dying Light 2 Boldly Announces That It’s Back In The Contest

Blood and Gore is going through a prime time currently, as fans of the genre have already received multiple treats this year and Dead Island 2 is yet another welcome addition to it. What’s more, seemingly not letting its predecessor get a lead, Dying Light 2 is also gearing up to make an epic comeback with the introduction of multiple new contents in a major update.

As we’ve discussed the two series’ history is closely woven together. This has brought them into a competition and their rivalry yet continues as Dead Island 2 is released and Dying Light is looking to ramp things up. With the tease of a sequel, as is evident by the series director’s post to gather fan opinions about the sequel’s protagonist and the major “Gut Feeling” update, Dying Light promises a bright future.

Since the start, Dead Island has been a more combat-focused game with extreme gore and brutal killings with its FLESH system to fuel the thrill of battle, and Dying Light had a lot more focus on the exploration of the open world and the impressive parkour to facilitate it. However, with the new Gut Feeling update, Dying Light 2 is getting a Dead Island-style integration to the gameplay mechanics.

The most important addition to the game is an improved combat system and visuals. Dying Light 2 now has much more brutal killings and accurate physics for zombie dismemberment to make your kills feel a lot more realistic. This puts the game right into the rival’s territory and serves as a direct competitor to Dead Island 2 right on its release.

Gut Feeling update brings epic gore and dismemberment to Dying Light 2
Gut Feeling update brings epic gore and dismemberment to Dying Light 2

That’s not all. Gut Feeling adds gear transmog to impart a cosmetic feel and appeal to the game. You can now set the appearance of your choice to your gear and retain its stats rather than switching to a piece of lower-quality equipment just because you feel it looks better. In addition, the game has received a time-limited Viral Rush event to encourage players to get back to the hunt for Virals, which received an increased spawn rate.

The prospect of a time limit is bound to attract players to return in order to put in as much progress as they can to earn valuable rewards, further intensifying the competition. Other than integrating new mechanics, Dying Light 2 also hopes to further improve its established strengths. Dying Light 2’s parkour and exploration will also receive updates as is evident by the 2023 roadmap of the game.

Techland is not backing down and is showing considerable intent to keep on improving. The rivalry of these two series has continued in both maturing and improving and healthy competition is highly important for growth. We hope this sparks a reaction in Dead Island 2 too and it receives considerable improvements to stay fresh and keep us entertained. We look forward to the future of both these franchises.

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Najam Ul Hassan


Najam is a lifelong gamer and lover of movies, and a fanatical consumer of all sorts of media such as comics, manga, and novels. Currently, he channels his limitless love for games into reporting news for eXputer.

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