How to Survive 2 (Xbox One) Review

By Greg Giddens 23.02.2017

Review for How to Survive 2 on Xbox One

EKO Software is back with another slice of co-op zombie-slaying survival fun in How to Survive 2. The world is now infected with the undead scourge, and deep in the Louisiana swamps is where survivors look to build a settlement, save other survivors, craft oodles of gear and team up to fight back against the undead. However, with very little new to offer is this sequel worth the effort?

The opportunities for emergent gameplay in How to Survive 2 are bountiful. Survival requires ingenuity, boldness, exploration, a little luck, and a slice of desperation and How to Survive 2 uses these aspects splendidly to create a survival game that's challenging, satisfying and fun to play in a familiar zombie apocalypse setting.

It's a fairly clichéd situation: zombies have overrun the Earth and people are struggling to survive against the flesh-eating fiends. However, this sequel takes the humour and concept of the original a refreshing step forward by improving the drive to survive considerably by adding the ability to build and manage a base camp. Scavenging for junk now not only allows for the crafting of weapons and items but also the building and upgrade of multiple structures. It's compelling too; building the base to become more self-sufficient is an on-going objective that helps breakup the quests, providing a more meaningful distraction than the original title offered.

The source of the survival guide book from the first game, Kovac, is once again back with advice and quests. This time around the quests take place in separate, standalone locations, where scavenging for particular items and chasing a specific objectives is the order of the day. Succeed or fail and it's back to the open-world main map, where accepting the quests, building the base camp, and then defending it from the local undead hordes takes place. This separation of quest locations and the main map does make it feel all a bit disconnected, but at the same time it also provides greater variety to the quest locations than what the forested main area provides. Certainly, a larger, more varied open-world map could facilitate this in a more cohesive way, and one that's more indicative of the survival genre, but here it does serve as some natural starting and stopping points for the zombie slaying survival shenanigans.

Screenshot for How to Survive 2 on Xbox One

Now, playing solo is a challenging quest for survival, where scavenging is risky and surprises can kill. Fortunately, cooperative multiplayer returns to make it less difficult, less of a chore, and proves to be the source of the most fun and the most opportunities for the aforementioned emergent gameplay. Raiding a hut, with limited visibility and exits, can be a daunting and dangerous endeavour, but the reward is often worth the risk. Having a friend, or even online strangers, come along and save you after such a raid goes wrong, is an exhilarating experience.

Up to four players can team up online, with an additional four being able to join each online player locally. With a little planning this means you can have a party of 16 people team up and take on the undead. Teammates can join you in securing food and junk for the base camp, aid with missions, or simply go zombie hunting, and it's a lot of fun. In fact, multiplayer is a crucial part of How to Survive 2's longevity, because without it, the solo survival loses its appeal fairly quickly.

The humour that was so prevalent with Kovac in the previous title has been toned down a lot here, and the other characters fail to add to the whimsy. It's a real shame, as this was a charming aspect of the original title that had some potential. Additionally, despite the separate locations for quests, there's still a lack of variety in these locations as well as with their objectives. As a result it soon gets repetitive. Building the base camp helps alleviate this somewhat but ultimately it feels like a bit of a grind. Indeed, this is an issue that survival games commonly suffer with, and multiplayer does a great job in extending the fun, but the grind lives up to its namesake and works away the enjoyment eventually, resulting in a fun, action heavy survival experience that's a bit too familiar to the previous title and lacking some of its charms.

Screenshot for How to Survive 2 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

How to Survive 2's base building is a smart addition to the survival and zombie-slaying action of the original, however, beyond that, it feels, looks and plays very much like the original title. As such it feels like more of an expansion than a fully-fledged sequel, and whilst the simple but satisfying combat and co-op option makes it fun, it's not the most innovative or gripping survival game on the market.

Developer

EKO Software

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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