How to Survive 2 Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD



Friends, loved ones, gather around the website for a comprehensive tale of my time with a game perhaps all too familiar to many. When I was given the opportunity to take the new EKO Software game How To Survive 2 for a preview spin, I made sure I acquainted myself with the previous installment. For those as unfamiliar as I was, How to Survive is a top-down, survival-based zombie apocalypse game (no, not that one, the other one). It received some recognition for having a dense crafting system that stood side-by-side with a slew of weapon choices. It was also a game that tried to define itself aside from the extremely overpopulated community of zombie-centric games by incorporating some tongue-in-cheek humor; most prominently featured via the game’s narrator, Kovac.


Set up your camp anyway and anywhere you want. That includes setting up impenetrable barricades such as waist high fences.

Fast-forward two years later, and on October 29, 2015, How to Survive 2 was released for Steam Early Access. For those who were familiar to the world of the initial game and quite enjoyed it, take heed. How To Survive 2 prioritizes itself with continuing the mechanics of the first game. Still to be found is an inclusively deep crafting system that spills over into a plethora of weapons to be built and put to the test on the many undead to that are roaming about the game world. One poignant new addition is a system that keeps track of your character’s well-being, which incorporates a percentage gauge that monitors your character’s liquid and solid food needs. Let your character thirst or starve for long enough and you can guess what happens.

Another system at play here in the second installment is that of the new camp site system. Camp sites are built via the crafting system and can be dispersed strategically throughout the game’s base level. Your campsite is important in that it serves as a work site that -through upgrades- allows you to utilize more complex materials and items, as well as open up more skill trees. As is undoubtedly the case, these sites are very much important to character progression, and thus it is also your burden to protect them. At times, I had my campsite under attack from a swarm of randomly generated undead that somehow found their way too close. At the time, I was at a very early stage in the game, so I had yet to upgrade my camp so that I could barricade it with traps and obstacles that would have prevented this, but alas I had to revert to a bat and many well-timed hits. I, as well as my camp, somehow thankfully came out of the ordeal alive and intact. With that, I was given a taste of the potential randomly generated events the final version of the game can offer.


Four player co-op allows for some strategic actions to counteract the challenges faced when fighting the randomly-generated dead.

How to Survive 2 is a game very much in the early stages of development. I mean, as it is now, there is still no viable player option to adjust sound, and graphical adjustment categories pertain only to resolution and overall graphical settings. Another rough patch in the game has to do with transitions leading into and out of missions. Most notably, once a mission objective was complete, I had to hold up on the D-pad to bring up a mission objective menu and then press “Quit”. The first time I did this, it was only on a whim since I don’t know about you guys but if video games have taught me anything, it’s that “quit” is the universal sign for rendering story progression moot; but in this case, I had my interactive entertainment world views given a new form education. To make note, I was playing on my Xbox 360 controller. For the most part controlling everything was fairly accurate (the timing-based melee system felt particularly solid), but I do hope that as the game’s development progresses that either the entire button layout is improved, or that players are given enough precedence to remap the layout according to their wants and needs. For instance, it was very odd while playing to have the same button be used for running and jumping onto and over obstacles such as cars and fences – not to mention how that particular button was the left trigger… yeah, I know. On top of such things, there are the occasional bugs and glitches that even the best of Steam Early Access games have to grow out of.

To revert to a more positive note, for the first time in the series, How To Survive 2 allows for four-player co-op, as well as the ability to invite up to sixteen players to take part in helping you build up your campsite. Though I was unable to experience this side of the game, I have a strong sense that this is essentially the biggest reason this game even exists. I know, back to a negative, but ask yourself this question, does the world need another zombie game? When taken into account what there already is available even on Steam alone, let’s face it, zombies are already an overwrought trope in video game narrative that either needs a revelatory change or a good break. Either way, I can not fault How To Survive 2 for at least trying to expand further on a familiar subject that even its predecessor. There are definitely some cross-integration mechanics that I think could serve to parse the game out from the rest of the bunch if the rest of the game is given the right care and attention (I would be all for toning down the humor considering I felt it was more in conflict with the tone of the gameplay), but it is for sure much too early in the development cycle to say whether or not anyone will remember this game ten years from now. For those of you who are interested in what this game could be, I would advise you wait for the final version to be released, because as the game is present, the $16 price tag is just a bit too steep.

For further updates and our eventual review of the finished game, keep your eyes peeled to the Mouse N Joypad website. Happy trying to find games without zombies in them y’all.