Dead Island 2 – PS5 Review

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Dead Island 2 makes its final triumphant return on the 21st of April 2023, with it comes the series’ dark humour and over the top zombie killing as well as a few new things. Published by Deep Silver and developed by Dambusters Studio the game takes us to a gore drenched Los Angeles. Where anything goes in the survival race!

Hell-A, Don’t mind if I do

As with most zombie killing games, you can expect over the top kills, murderous rampages and more zombies that you can shake a stick at! Join us on the voyage of the damned and see how much blood you can spill!


When first starting Dead Island 2 you are greeted with an opening cinematic where your characters are all on a plane heading out of a zombie infested area. As the plane settles into its flight the inevitable happens, zombies managed to get on the plane. They start to infect everyone and eventually, the screen goes black. Waking up from seemingly passing out you are greeted with strewn bodies, broken fuselage and plenty of fire. I mean PLENTY of fire! Moving through the plane and crash area the game gives you a nice tutorial, bringing you up to speed on the game’s controls. Once you have met a few characters in the game you are tasked with your first proper mission, find a celebrities house! Sounds easy right?

some graffiti in a sewer system showing many zombies all connected to one hive mind.
Hive mind anyone?


Let’s talk about Slayers for a minute, now when you first start up the game you can select between 6 of the best zombie slayers in Hell-A. Each with its own pros and cons, so make your choice wisely as this will decide who you are controlling through the game. Rather than listing all the Slayers out and what their skills are, it’s probably better for you to enjoy that experience for yourself. Although, my two favourites were Dani and Ryan. Dani hails from Cork in Ireland. She is more of a brawler type character with high stamina but low health recovery. Ryan is a male stripper who when the outbreak started, just happened to be dressed as a fireman. Using heavy weapons he can push back crowds of zombies to ensure he has space and isn’t getting chomped on!

Arm Yourself!

Weapons in Dead Island 2 are in abundance. Anything from a piece of wood to a meat hammer, and pretty much everything in between. Oh and don’t forget the guns, lots of guns! Each weapon has different characteristics and performs in a different way. If you want something that can quickly hack and slash up a zombie, then go for a meat cleaver. If you want something that can decapitate those Z’s with ease, then you want a shovel or a sword. Then if you want something to clear a larger area of zombies, then a concrete post is what you need to swing. Be careful though as your weapons will quickly deteriorate to the point where they instantly break. To rectify this you just need to collect some resources, the odd tape here, and some nails there, and you will have it repaired in no time.

All you need is a repair bench. Luckily these are scattered in locations throughout Dead Island 2. One of the other fun things to do at the repair bench is to upgrade your weapons. If you have played another zombie game in a similar vein you will already have some experience with adding elemental damage to your weapons. Dead Island 2 is no different, but why fix something that isn’t broken right?

your inventory shows weapons and their strengths as well as being able to scrap them or even just drop them.
Inventory management in a zombie apocalypse is super important.


The gameplay element of Dead Island 2 is quite linear, although there is plenty of places to explore throughout the levels. You are always felt guided towards your next objective. This isn’t a bad thing at all, because it keeps you focused on the task at hand. Throughout the game, you are given new areas to explore. Some landmark areas such as Bel Air and Venice Beach among a few others. With each area opening up new side quests and story missions to carry out. The side quests sometimes felt like they were a bit of a chore, but when you are clearing zombies with a sledgehammer does it really matter? Each mission felt like they progressed the story well, constantly giving you more and more of the story and character development.

With regard to character development, each kill or action gives you XP to level up your character. As you level up you are granted cards to apply. These cards will give you special attacks, such as a drop kick for sending a Z flying. Even better, a successful block will knock back zombies in close proximity to you. Giving you that space to either get away or swing your heavy weapon.


I guess all that’s left to talk about now is zombie types. What types of Z’s are you going to be hacking and slashing through? You have your basic run of the mill shamblers, old looking zombies that are slowly decaying and can be taken down easily enough. Moving on you have traditional Walkers, these zombies that can be taken down easily enough unless they start to crowd you. Then the quicker runners will rush you as soon as they see you. They will continue to run after you so you are better off just facing up to them and giving them a swift smack around the head.

There are a few Apex zombies in Dead Island 2 as well. Screamers and Crushers, very much do what it says on the tin kind of zombies. It doesn’t take much to guess what they will do. Then you have the Slobber. These are full of caustic juices just waiting to vomit all over you. Avoid the caustic goop and aim for the head!

Each type of zombie comes in varying flavours as well. With some z’s having body armour so you are forced to aim for the limbs. Alternatively, the zombies that are carrying body vests are covered in grenades. These are fun, although allowing them to get too close and you are likely to be thrown backwards and in need of a few medkits to heal your wounds. There are a lot more zombie types to experience throughout the game, and we can’t wait to see what other delights Hell-A has in store.

welcome venive beach where the palm trees are in the background, the words venice beach are in the middle and a street is laid out ahead of you
Welcome to Venice…Beach

Graphics & Audio

When first firing up Dead Island 2 I was incredibly impressed. It looks incredible. From the scenery to the zombies, it all looks incredible. Each zombie is meticulously made up of organs, skin and then clothing and with the right slashes of a sharp weapon you can actually see this deformation in action. Smack a zombie in the head with a hammer and chances are you are going to dislocate its jaw. Yes, the detail is that great!

The sound in Dead Island 2 is also pretty spot on. Lots of groans and screams from the zombies, as well as the traditional music that ramps up when zombies are getting more abundant, or even if you come up against a zombie boss. Either way, just enjoy the beautiful music as you tear zombies limb from limb!

a inflatable unicorn in the middle of a rubbish strewn room with party balloons on the ceiling. Your character has some wolverine style claws as weapons.
Shnict Shnict.


With the main game coming in at over 10 hours of gameplay, there is a lot for you to do on the game. With side quests opening up as you progress further into the different areas within Hell-A. Adding in the co-op element to the game. Taking up to 3 friends into Hell-A with you is going to be a lot of fun. One of the most fun elements in a co-op game is the ability to just explore, so it will be interesting to see how Dead Island 2 plays out. I have no doubt you will have an incredible amount of fun playing this game.

Final Thoughts

Dead Island 2 returns with a triumphant noise! That noise is zombie guts flying and bodies exploding. Bringing some old zombie tropes along the way, it certainly was well worth the wait. With its incredible journey from inception to delivery, Dead Island 2 brings the fun factor into playing a zombie game. Something that often gets missed with some other games in the genre.

Thankfully you will have a lot of fun playing through Dead Island 2. With that, I award the game with a Thumb Culture Gold Award!

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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