Dead Island 2 – Review

A sequel that could have been done better.

Release Date
April 20, 2023
Deep Silver, Plaion
Deep Silver Dambuster Studios
PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by
Deep Silver, Plaion

After its first release in 2011, Dead Island quickly became a cult favorite. It stood out from the crowd thanks to a unique take on the zombie game genre and bright yet terrifying gameplay. After a lengthy and problematic development cycle that lasted more than ten years, the sequel is finally here. Will it be able to uphold the standard set by its predecessor?

The story takes place ten years after the original events in Los Angeles (of course, not an island). Playing as a plane crash survivor traveling the vast territory of Los Angeles, you will deal with a swarm of zombies infected by a deadly virus. Deep Silver has retained the same formula of fun yet the gory story in this sequel, which might be a bit stale now for some players who already enjoyed the previous installments.

You will choose one of a few survivors to play as the main character in the game, albeit your choice will have minimal impact on the plot except for dialogue changes. Choose your characters carefully, as you cannot alter them in the middle of the journey, and each character has a unique game style that will appeal to different types of gamers.

However, the game falls short in several big and minor categories. Given the abundance of games that engage extensively in writing, the tale feels quite basic. Most characters are ordinary, and the tale does not leave a lasting impression; it feels like a low-budget Hollywood film. This will be significant for anyone hoping for a multi-layered plot, which can be found in some games now that The Last Of Us has raised the bar so high for this genre. We experienced various glitches when playing the game, such as oddly moving elements, which an update may resolve. Long-range combat is still a no-go for this installment due to how consistently clunky the system is.

The difficulty setting has been removed in favor of a more adjustable gaming approach. They integrate the game difficulty by the character you choose, and each player will then have a unique skill tree that the player can customize. We found it enjoyable because each bonus card implies numerous ways to play the game. Gone are the days when we had to budget the stamina as they had already removed the stamina system, which granted more freedom to move and play. They have also retained the crafting system for melee combat that we loved in the previous installment.

Deep Silver means business with the adjustments they made in this sequel. In the opening hours of Dead Island 2, we immediately noticed how much it differs from its predecessor. It has abandoned the open-world setting in favor of a more relaxing environment split into zones.

It has little effect on the game’s overall feel because it still seems open, and current-generation hardware handled the change well by giving a fast and seamless loading time in every zone. Open-world games are fantastic, but in today’s hectic environment, most games are now following in the footsteps of God of War (2018), providing us with a more detailed world to explore. Non-repetitive side quests and unlockable regions enhance the game’s replay value.

Dead Island 2 is, without a doubt, one of this generation’s most aesthetically striking games. Given the number of half-baked games released in recent years, the level of craftsmanship seen in this game is amazing. Each scenery was expertly crafted with meticulous attention to detail. The grass appears greener, the gardens remain lush, and the blood and meat of zombies you kill look nicer.

The optimization with the PS5 version is excellent, thanks to the power of current-generation technology. It operates at a consistent 60 fps on the PS5. The main disadvantage is that it may be too demanding for low-end PC gamers to appreciate, but we all need to move forward regarding the hardware requirements. Additional PS5 features such as haptic should’ve been implemented that might give a more immersive experience. Still, the absence of it will ensure that all players across different platforms will have the same experience as the others.

Despite the significant improvements in mechanics and aesthetics, it is clear that Deep Silver stuck to the same formula. The same dark comedy with a not-so-serious plot can now be boring for veterans, but it can provide hours of fun to those new to the series. However, ten years is too lengthy for game development, and the same approach may be stale for others now, given that nothing much has improved with some elements in the game.

Dead Island 2
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.
Great visuals
Same fun mechanics
Improved customization
Generic storyline
Minor bugs