In the test! Dead Island 2

title Dead Island 2
April 21, 2023
April 21, 2023
April 21, 2023
system PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series, Xbox One, PCs
Tested for Xbox Series X
developer Dambuster Studios
genres Action Adventure

Zombies have not only been an integral part of pop culture since the 80s. In addition to countless classics in the film sector, the bloodthirsty zombies have of course long since made it into the gaming world.

With Dead Island, the Polish developer Techland was able to land a surprise hit in the zombie genre in 2011. Since zombies and brutal games in general have always had an extremely bad status in Germany, it was not surprising that the title was not officially available in stores in this country for the time being.

Nevertheless, Dead Island and the successor Dead Island: Riptide, which was released in 2013, have a fan base that has remained loyal to this day, and so it was natural for many fans that the series would be continued. was announced Dead Island 2 then for the first time in 2014. Due to several postponements and the fact that the development of the title was repeatedly passed from studio to studio, it was not surprising that Dead Island 2 was quiet for a long time.

The original developer Yager Entertainment had to hand over the development to the British developer Sumo Digital in 2015. Later in 2019, another studio was hired to develop the horror spectacle. This time it was the internal Deep Silver studio Dambuster, which should finally bring the development to a good end.

On April 21, 2023, after many years of waiting, Dead Island 2 finally saw the light of day in the gaming world. You can find out in our detailed review whether the extremely brutal title can keep what it promises and whether it can even surpass its two predecessors.

This time the zombies invade the mainland as well

The story of Dead Island 2 does not take place on a tropical island like its predecessors, but this time in sunny Los Angeles, affectionately called “Hell-A” here, and Beverly Hills in the US state of California.

A few months after the events of Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, the United States military forces declared the entire state of California a disaster area and therefore a quarantine zone due to a massive zombie outbreak.

Shortly before a devastating plane crash takes place, you can then choose one of six passengers. Here you choose your character, so to speak. Each character has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as stamina, strength, mobility, damage points and some other attributes.

Familiar gameplay – just a little more hosed

»In terms of gameplay, Dead Island 2 basically plays like its two predecessors.«

In terms of gameplay, Dead Island 2 basically plays like its two predecessors. You move relatively freely through the demarcated areas, eliminating all sorts of zombie variants and doing different tasks and quests along the way. Unlike its predecessors, however, Dead Island 2 is not a freely accessible open world in the true sense of the word. The areas are played one after the other and it is only later in the game that you can wander back and forth between the areas more freely. A semi-open world so to speak.

But that’s exactly one of the biggest criticisms I have of the game. Where the predecessors still felt quite free and individual, Dead Island 2 feels quite cramped and hosed despite the huge city backdrop. In the long run it was a bit monotonous, at least for me. I really would have wished to be able to explore zombie-infested Los Angeles at least a little more freely.

Improvisation is the order of the day

What you definitely have to point out positively is that you always have the opportunity and often have no choice but to improvise. Firearms are rather rare in the world of Dead Island 2 and ammunition is only available in small quantities, so you always have to have some melee weapons with you. The versatility of these melee weapons is what makes Dead Island 2 so appealing.

In addition to countless simple weapons such as steel pipes, wooden slats, knives and scissors, there are also somewhat more exotic weapons such as katanas, sabres, various hoes and axes and even Wolverine-style claws. But as if that weren’t enough, the developers have also built in the function of equipping the weapons with a wide variety of abilities.

In plain language, this means that you can electrify both firearms and melee weapons, for example, heat them up or even etch them with acid or poison in order to cause even more damage to the carnivorous undead. Thus, a wide variety of weapon combinations can be implemented in order to eliminate the undead as efficiently as possible. As the game progresses, you will gradually find new blueprints that allow you to further upgrade and customize the weapons.

Enemies spawn out of nowhere

»What really bothered me in some cases are enemies that often suddenly spawn again in areas that have actually already been cleared.«

What really bothered me in some cases are opponents who often suddenly spawn again in areas that have actually already been cleaned. This often happens in moments when you really don’t need it and are already busy killing masses of enemies anyway.

The flow of the game is often disturbed as a result and the level of difficulty is also unnecessarily pushed up – or the game often feels unfair as a result, where it really shouldn’t be. This point would certainly be easy to get to grips with on the developer side. Maybe with a future update.

Technically mature optical treat

On the technical side, Dead Island 2 really has nothing to complain about. Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs are really nice to look at and always give the feeling of being in this city overrun by zombies and immersed in chaos. The crisp, sharp textures and effects complete the overall picture.

Especially the new zombie models deserve a special mention. Because for the first time they can be divided as realistically as possible. The bodies of the zombies react realistically, so to speak, to impacts or bullets. Depending on the type of attack (heat, acid, electricity), the zombies’ wounds also look different.

On Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the title runs in a resolution of 3072×1728 with an always stable 60 frames. On Xbox Series S you have to be content with 1920×1080 and 60 frames. Of course, last-gen consoles only manage 30 frames here.

Hell-A is also technically up to date in terms of sound

Dead Island 2 can also shine when it comes to sound. In addition to sound effects that are always appropriate, the game also has an extensive soundtrack with many great titles. Always appropriately selected and used, this also results in a well-rounded picture of the sound.

Zombie hunt also possible online

You can also hunt zombies online in multiplayer mode for up to three players. In the cooperative mode you can experience all missions of the single player mode together with friends. Unfortunately, there is no couch split-screen mode. There is also no crossplay or cross-save feature between Xbox, PlayStation and PCs.

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players can also not start online sessions, i.e. act as hosts. Players playing on these platforms can only join existing online sessions. The reason for this will probably be the technical limitations of the old hardware. This does not affect PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X users.

German USK version is cut

What definitely has to be mentioned is the fact that the German version that is sold in this country was cut. However, the cuts here are limited to zombies that have already been killed and are lying on the ground. Because once these are done, you can no longer move or attack the lifeless bodies.

However, the incision causes a bigger problem in online multiplayer mode. Because here, as a player of the USK version, you can also play together with owners of the international version, but you need an invitation from an online game that is already running. If you use the player search as a player of the USK version, you will only find other players who also have the USK version. If you are in a game with international game versions, the other players for this game session are also affected by the cuts. The cuts are then almost game-spanning.

Since all other splatter effects are still in play, one could actually have done without this really small incision. Especially since the online fun suffers quite a bit from the cuts. Apparently, however, the cuts were necessary for clearance, or at least were assumed to be necessary.


If you like hard-hitting zombie action with a good pinch of black humor, you won’t go wrong with Dead Island 2. Sunny and hip Los Angeles has been beautifully recreated and is bursting with many small details.

The countless and versatile customization options for the weapons make zombie hunting extremely fun and varied. There is also no shortage of main and side missions. So there is enough to do. A special extra is the multiplayer mode for up to three players. Because in this online mode, all main and side missions of the single player mode can be experienced together. Unfortunately, there is no split-screen mode or crossplay feature.

In addition to the extremely attractive graphics with detailed textures and effects that make the city shine, the well-chosen soundtrack and the appropriately mixed sound effects are also convincing.

Ultimately, one can say that zombie fans in particular will definitely get their money’s worth and can confidently access it. If you don’t really get into this type of game in general, you should perhaps take a closer look at the title before buying it, because especially if you disregard the mostly quite good and exciting main quests, the side quests are more of a stopgap.


Los Angeles and Beverly Hills were overrun by zombies. As a survivor you have to fight for survival from now on and stop the zombie plague.


Classic Dead Island gameplay, but this time only in a semi-open world. The countless weapon customization options make taking down the zombie hordes fun and versatile.


Los Angeles literally shines and looks fantastic and realistic at all times. The crisp textures and great effects do the rest to bring the city to life.


A great soundtrack and beautifully mixed sound effects accompany the zombie slaughter party.


The online mode for up to three players is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there is no crossplay and cross-save feature.

Artwork: Dead Island 2, Deep Silver, Dambuster Studios

By Billy Jones

an expert in Apple iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. With a deep understanding of Apple products, I have been assisting individuals and businesses in optimizing their Apple device experiences for years. Beyond my tech prowess, I am the proud founder of a Global (Expat) Online Gamers Advisory Firm, where I provide guidance and support to fellow gamers worldwide. As a long-time Playstation player, I am currently immersing myself in the world of gaming on the PS5. In addition to my tech and gaming passions, I am an IT professional, an armchair physicist, and a jester at heart, always ready to bring a smile to those around me.