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How to Survive 2 Review (PS4)

15 years after the first one, you're thrown back into the zombie outbreak. It's even more brutal than before, and this time it's in New Orleans. Scavenge, loot, craft, and build, but most importantly survive at all costs. With the introduction of online multiplayer and camp building/defending, there's a lot to learn about the game if stand a chance of making it out alive.

How to Survive 2 Console Review (PS4)


Sequel to 2013's release (How to Survive), How to Survive 2 brings back the zombie mayhem but with a few new additions and changes. Developed by Eko Software and published by 505 Games, players will experience an almost top-down (third-person) action-adventure game of survival. This Louisiana setting takes place 15 years after the first one and features the same helpful Kovac as before, along with a other NPCs throughout. Loot what you find and craft what you can out of it because you're going to need to make sure you're prepared for any and everything. Bring a friend if it helps; the game supports having 4 players on local, and that number increases online for your camp. This title was first released on PC in 2016 after having an early access period since 2015, but has now made its way to console. 

You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for $14.99


Your survival depends on how well you are able to defend yourself, how thorough your searching is, and how well you can protect your camp. Attacking is either done with melee or ranged weapons, but mostly melee throughout the beginning. You can either quick attack or power swing (even delivering a power strike from sprinting that will instantly kill most zombies). The first main weapon you'll get to equip will be a stick, but eventually you can craft a baseball bat, then an improved baseball bat, and ultimately to a specialized melee weapons with their own unique names like "The Deathbringer" and "The Punisher." Ranged weapons are a powerhouse in the zombie infested land (with good reason). The variety of guns and bows make them an enjoyable task in collecting. You can craft a bow and arrow kind of early on but there are levels and unique versions of it as well. In terms of guns, you'll find yourself, in time, shooting revolvers, assault rifles, lever-action rifles, etc.

How to Survive 2 Base Defending
Scavenging works just as you would expect for it to; you search around the maps to find the items you desperately need, as well as the items you desperately want in order to make the next cool gadget or base structure. You'll need to look in various locations as items may have a single designated place. For example, you can collect wood logs and sticks from both the woods and the swamps, but you aren't likely to find them in the parking lot of a city. Same is vice versa with cement blocks; they can be found in the parking lots of the city, but not in the woods. Braided rope is popular in the swamps, and you can find cloth on nearly all zombies. There's a countless amount of potential items to find though, these are just a few example, so being mindful of your weight is important (but you get quite a bit of room, so it's not too stressful). You fast travel to locations when you accept a quest, so making sure you already have deposited some things in a storage chest before beginning one is a pretty smart idea.

Character and base customization allow for a really immersive experience, even if limited in some ways. Once you start your character profile and go through the initial introduction, you can access inventory and then proceed to the "customization" tab in the top right corner. Here you can change the base appearance of him or her, hair style, hair color, shirt, pants, shoes, etc. Each category has 1-5 possible options which is not a ton, but it still offers enough uniqueness to them. Skill progression is another aspect that can make you extremely different than other survivors with the options of boosting melee damage, stamina, health, hunger and hydration resistance (yes, you must make sure you eat and drink often). Setting up base and progressing its power level is an entire guide of its own but to keep it simple, you pick a spot anywhere on the map. It's best to set up near one of Kovac's bunker entrances, and with minimum entry points. After you set up your basic structures like storage and armory, you can build different forms of defenses (walls, traps, obstacles, etc.).

How to Survive 2 Character Inventory

Sound and Graphics

I was expecting for the graphics to look a little rough, but was happy to find them looking smooth and polished. They aren't AAA style graphics, but why would you expect it to be? It aims to deliver a semi-realistic looking zombie apocalypse, and does so successfully. The camera stays in a locked position, and while it cannot be rotated, there are 3 levels of zooming that can be switched between on the fly. When the foreground of any environment or building were to block your view of the character, a clear circle will highlight and clear it all out of the way, allowing a constant visual. It's a little hard to adjust to at first due to a very few number of games that implement the same idea, but it's ridiculously appreciated. 
Sometimes when running in the woods it would clear out trees marking a border wall causing me to think it was an open route, but pulling up your transparent map helps as well (two great aspects that allow you to navigate the world effortlessly and without pauses to reevaluate). The game lacks a descent soundtrack, but has really good voice acting whenever used, as well as sound effects that bring panic and a sense of rush to players. Kovac and his awkward sense of optimism and precautions make him an instant favorite (especially when he teaches you the guides to surviving).

How to Survive 2 Surviving with Friends


How to Survive 2 is a quality zombie survival game, and the fact that you can enjoy with a bunch of friends is even better. It improves many things in comparison to the first one, but could have used a little bit more in order to make it all even better. The maps feel a little repetitive in the sense that, for example, one small section such as a parking lot is almost completely copy and pasted just down the street. If you look at your world map, everything feels like a strict structured environment, which is understandable in the city, but not in the swamps. The other struggles are from a lack of explanations you get in regards to what you can craft and when. There's a lot of menus and items, so you'll have to invest a little time in perfecting your inventory searching.

Those are the negatives however, and if those sound bearable to you, then there's a lot to love. The camp building and defending is incredibly fun (and chaotic at times), and even better, there's always something to do regardless of where you're at in your overall progress. Day and night cycles, along with weather, make for a world living on its own, and the possibilities of crafting items and structures is wide open for you to sink hours of your life into exploring. The game isn't perfect, but it has a pretty good idea how to be enjoyable (but consider bringing a friend, or a couple of them, to get the most enjoyment).

Pros Cons
 + Tons of looting and crafting  – The maps feel a little too strict in format
 + Online co-op with friends  – Lacks a story or purpose
 + Camp building and defending  – Skill progression is not very impressive
 + A permanent circle of clear vision 


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