Dead Island 2 Review: Some of the Most Fun Zombie Killing Action

Dead Island 2 follows up its predecessor almost 10 years after it was initially announced, and is all sorts of fun.


The first Dead Island game released back in the year 2011, and although it was not a successful game, it brought some good zombie killing action in a first-person mode, with an open-world and co-op zombie killing mode, and some beautiful tropical beaches. And the developer Techland announced in June of 2014 that a sequel of the game would be released and even released an interesting trailer for Dead Island 2. What followed were multiple announcements and delays and new teams working on it which brings us to present day 2023. Dead Island 2 is finally releasing on Apr 21, 2023 and has been developed by Dambuster. The new game definitely takes after the first one and has many features that carry over from it. We’ve been playing the game for a couple of weeks now and here’s what we thought of it. 

New Bottle, Newly Mutated Wine

Dead Island took place on the island of Banoi which is just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. It was about how the players escaped from the island. With Dead Island 2 the action moves to Los Angeles. And the player is sent on a zombie killing spree in the city, the beaches as well as the sewers. The game begins with the virus taking over the city and some special people get a pass to get on a flight and escape the zombie paradise that LA was becoming, but the flight comes down as soon as it takes off and you get to choose your character or ‘Slayer’ as the game calls them. 

The choice of slayer includes Dani, Jacob, Ryan, Amy, Bruno, and Carla, all of whom have different strengths and weaknesses, but most importantly they have one trait that each is an expert in and one that they are absolutely terrible at. There are no characters that have all skills averaged. I played the game mostly with Amy who is a super fun paralympian that seems to develop a zest for killing zombies and revels in it. You escape the crashed burning plane only to come across a celebrity named Emma Jaunt. You trudge through LA’s Bel Air to reach Emma’s place and find out from the returning star of the game Sam B that you, like him, are immune to the virus and can go on a zombie killing rampage without having to worry about getting bitten. Of course that does not mean that the enemies won’t mutilate, burn, shock, melt and generally chomp you up for breakfast. 

You will visit many places in LA in the game and during different times of the day which will mostly just affect visibility. The game has a whole different bunch of zombies to offer in terms of enemies with the regular walkers, runners and dried up shamblers there are also some hulking gym bros, your shrieking ex, and even the fat uncle chews and spits caustic acid balls. Some zombies will slice you and in general they will swarm you and try to end you.

You have a whole plethora of weapons to deal with the hoards and while you begin with melee weapons of all different kinds, you graduate to guns by the middle of the main story line. Guns include rifles, shotguns, pistols and SMGs.

 Bright and Sunny Visuals

The game may have been in development for a while now, but that does not mean that the company has cheaped out with updated visuals. LA looks bright and sunny and with buildings to match. Bel Air buildings are fully specced out and actually appear like the celebrity houses in the videos, while the beaches are bright and sunny with colourful shops and vendors lined up. The studio had one of the most innovative level designs in the game. 

The weapons look slick and shiny and the different mods give them distinct looks. But what really looks the best are the zombies, the team did a great job designing the zombies and how the mutilation system works on them. Players can mutilate zombies like in no game before this. Slicing, punching, smashing, shocking, burning, and melting zombies actually make them look different. The mutilation is visually accurate to show what kind of damage the player is dealing to the zombies. If you hit the side of the head of a zombie with a blunt weapon, that side will have bones and flesh falling off. This also means that you can maim zombies the way you want them. You can chop off the legs of zombies around you, have them follow you around by dragging themselves by their hands, or chop off their arms and have them run around and try to bite you like stickmen. The bosses in the game are added back into the mix of regular zombie enemies later in the game. 

Super Fun Combat

Combat is the high point of Dead Island 2, and it is exciting, engaging as well as innovative. You start off with melee weapons from broken vehicle parts to plain splintered logs. You move on to swords, maces, and axes which are upgradable with elemental attacks and damage and other boosts. Then come the guns which can also be modded to do elemental attacks and other such stuff. These are needed in order to be able to take care of the hoards you will come across. Some of these elemental attacks are enhanced by things that are found in the environment which will let you shock and burn groups of enemies together. The player can also do different kinds of kicks to get out of a bind or just floor some zombies. The material needed for these upgrades can be found abundantly in the world, there will also be some special upgrades later in the game which will require players to chop off zombie parts. 

Dead Island 2_20230418152102

The skill tree system has been changed and players now get cards in different categories that give them different abilities and perks and features. These evolve and you can get new cards as you level up and play more areas. 

The main quest line will take you most places and level you up accordingly, but it is suggested that you do some side quests if not all to keep up with the demands of the different main quests. Initially I had thought that the side quests would just be repetitive, but some of those quests turned out to be more engaging than I had anticipated. 

The build we were playing was a pre-release one and I did notice just clipping through things which made me restart levels a couple of times, but hopefully these will be fixed in the upcoming updates. But besides these there weren’t any significant issues with the game. 

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Final Words

Dead Island 2 was some of the most fun 16 hours I spent killing zombies ever. It had everything, from a whole combo of things to use in combat like kicks, guns, melee weapons, elemental attacks and more. What was even more fun were the results of those attacks on the zombies, though not all zombies were having it and gave them back to you in equal measure. The level design was exciting and the open world gave you options to just ignore some hoards while getting to your objective if you so wanted, saving precious ammo all the while. 

Dead Island 2 will be available on PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S. On PC it will be available on Epic Games Store for a starting price of Rs 3,299, On Xbox for Rs 4,999 and on PlayStation for Rs 3,999. I think this game is worth the shot if you’re a fan of the zombie genre and want some fun killing them.

Disclaimer: MySmartPrice was provided with a complementary copy of the game on which the review is based.

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Dead Island 2












What Is Good?

  • Great Combat
  • Innivative Weapons
  • Superb Zombie Maim Mechanics

What Is Bad?

  • Some Bugs