Into the Dead 2 (Switch) Review
This game has fantastic dogs that kill zombies
The sound, graphics, and voice acting give this game a polished and cinematic feel
Grinding to gather gold feels like trying to slowly circumvent a mobile game money trap, despite the fact that the gold is not actually for sale
The core gameplay gets really repetitive really fast
Into the Dead 2 offers some seasonally appropriate and mindless violence for Switch gamers. In short sessions, it’s a fantastic way to take out zombies and blow off stress before switching over to a game better suited for long play sessions. Trying to play it for a long time, however, makes the downsides of its mindlessness a little too clear.
Into the Dead 2 is dressed up with some very fancy presentation. The graphics are pretty good. The environments tend to run together a little, and there’s a surprising level of pop up and fog for a Switch game, but the overall look is polished and consistent. The sound is good, too, with decently atmospheric sound effects and full, well done voice acting. Watching a level or two could easily give the impression that Into the Dead 2 is a much more in depth game than it really is.
For all this game has to offer, though, depth isn’t one of its best features. In and of itself, it’s not bad. The player character automatically runs a set distance, breezily shooting zombies as they go. The character can be steered, allowing for some slight exploration, but it’s pretty linear. There’s still a lot to like within the bounds of that formula. Managing ammo makes a lot of levels genuinely tense, especially if you’re trying to clear all of the challenges, and there are some level specific weapons that are very satisfying to use. Shooting zombies is fine, but chainsawing them or chopping them to bits adds some festive variety to the slaughterfest. You can also collect companion pets that take out some of your undead foes as you run through the levels. It’s gimmicky, yes, but the game offers a surprisingly good selection of top notch good boy dogs to fight by your side.
All of these good points, however, can’t overcome the fact that Into the Dead 2 is a Switch port of a mobile game that doesn’t do a lot to hide its origins. The autorunning gameplay isn’t bad, especially not in short bursts, but it gets old fast. There are a variety of game modes, including an arcade mode and side stories, but all of them share the same base gameplay. What’s worse, though, is that the game makes you grind for minuscule amounts of gold to level up your dogs and weapons. Some amount of grinding in a game is fine, but grabbing five out of a hundred required gold a level, or replaying the same level over and over to collect stars for a bigger payout, which still won’t go that far, is frustrating. In a game with in app purchases, this gameplay model is mercenary, but makes sense. Not rebalancing the amount of gold required for upgrades in a paid console game makes it an unnecessary slog. It certainly adds hours of gameplay, but it’s tedious and not much fun.
It’s not like Into the Dead 2 is an inherently bad game. The atmosphere and story are really well done, making it feel like a zombie movie, and some licensed DLC, featuring Night of the Living Dead and Ghostbusters, only adds to its cinematic style. It also does a great job with its gameplay gimmicks, throwing out just enough good dogs and fancy weapons to keep things engaging. At its heart, though, Into the Dead 2 is a repetitive grind, staying true to its mobile game roots without even offering players the relief of knowing that in app purchases are available. It’s polished and fun, but the unbelievable amount of grinding required to improve weapons is a significant drag on the experience. With some extra balancing, Into the Dead 2 could have been well above average. As it is, it’s only fine.