Note: This game does have DLC packs, but those were not played in this review and will not factor into this review.
A World Overrun
It’s sometimes a little strange to think about the way that zombies have become such a cultural phenomenon in the last decade thanks to properties such as The Walking Dead. They’ve gone from being one movie monster among many, to being a genre all their own, combined with just about everything at some point or another. So, how does Into the Dead 2 stand up alongside it’s brethren?
The Zombie in the Room
So, before we go any further, it is important that we address the elephant in the room regarding this game. Into the Dead 2 on the Switch is a port of a free mobile game brought to consoles. In the interest of seeing what the reason to charge for the game was, I downloaded the mobile version onto my tablet so that I could help you to make an informed decision. Now, my tablet isn’t anything great and powerful (A Samsung Galaxy Tab A) but the switch version ran markedly better in every aspect, with longer draw distance and no frame rate drops that I saw.
The biggest difference is in the monetization aspect. Everything in the mobile version is monetized and there is a lootbox-like system for getting parts to make new weapons or get companions. There is also a energy system so that you cannot play endlessly and a system of free and premium currency. It’s your typical kind of freemium game monetization, though there is a lot of it. The Switch version, however, strips that all away and has you earn currency for in game performance and play and allows you to play as much as you would like without stopping. Everything can be unlocked in game and does not require additional purchasing.
Game play remains unchanged, so you could easily use the free mobile game to give the game play a try before committing to the purchase of the console version to avoid micro-transactions. Speaking of the game play, how is that?
Into the Dead 2 is an endless runner game where it isn’t always endless. You run in a first person perspective automatically, shooting zombies in your way to both make your running easier and rack up that sweet sweet kill score. Aiming is done automatically, with the gun lowering slightly when nothing is locked onto. This makes it perfect for those who might not be very good at aiming in a first person game, but it also means that you might not shoot the exact zombie that you are looking to fire at. It also means that most of the time you will only be shooting zombies directly in front of you. This leads into a risk-reward sort of situation where you have to move into the danger that is their direct path in order to get the kill. Most of the times that I died felt fair, but there were a few runs where the collision detection with the zombies wasn’t perfectly clear.
Weapons and companions are unlocked by reaching certain points in the story or completing the challenges in each of the story missions to collect up to five stars each mission. There are also side stories that will unlock all sorts of goodies as well. This is all, of course, provided that you have managed to collect enough in game currency by playing to unlock what it is that you want.
There is also an endless mode in the form of the arcade mode where you run as long as you can and get as many kills as you can without getting killed yourself. This has it’s own goals and rewards to aid you further in getting your perfect load out to help you collect all of those challenges.
The game is definitively more of a pickup a play for a bit here and there before setting it down or playing something else, rather than a game that you sit and play for hours on end in order to grind through the story. The levels, despite being distinct, can sometimes get a little repetitive since the core game play doesn’t change aside from your companions or weapon load out and as a result, doesn’t always keep you 100% engaged all the time. The side stories tend to change up the scenery and does help a lot, so bouncing between the main campaign and the side ones can be a big help to alleviate this sense.
Blood, Guts, and Tears
When it comes to the story mode, the story does fall back on a lot of the trope of the typical zombie story. This isn’t entirely a bad thing as long as those tropes are handled well, though. In this case, it’s a little of both. You play as a man who is separated from his family and despite running on foot for long distances, is constantly unable to catch up to exactly were they are as they are forced to keep moving. This means that your only point of contact with them is over a radio, which while giving the very real fear of being away from your family and unable to reach them as horrible things happens, does lead to there being a bit of disconnect since you only know the other characters from their voice over a radio. There was also one brief argument that the main character has with his sister that just felt out of place at the point that it happened in the story and pulled me out of the narrative for a bit. The story certainly doesn’t reach the highs of the first season of Telltale’s Walking Dead game, but it doesn’t have to. It’s got smaller plans and sometimes that’s okay.
At the End of the World
Into the the Dead 2 can get a little repetitive in long play session, but the game play is overall fun and a fresh take on a zombie game. It’s perfect for being one of those games that you play on the go in short bursts for that extra little bit of zombie killing action that you might need throughout the day. While I would recommend, trying the mobile version to see if you like the game play, consider that a demo and go for the full game on Switch rather than the micro-transaction riddled original.
- Lots of content in the story mode and beyond
- Easy to understand game play
- Lots of extra challenges for those who want to take them
- Collision can feel unfair at times
- Gets repetitive in long play sessions.
Perfect for short bursts of play throughout the day and scratching that zombie killing itch.