A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Much of the game involves helping others survive the zombie infestation in some way or another. Multiplayer sessions encourage teamwork between players.
Positive Role Models
Each player character has their own unique backstory and flawed personality, though they tend to want to help others. Some characters that players encounter are eager to help where they can. For others, helping is less out of any sense of compassion and more self-serving. Finally, there are characters willing to sacrifice you in a heartbeat to increase their own odds of survival.
Diverse cast of characters. Playable characters feature a wide range of different backgrounds, ethnicities, personalities, etc. One playable character is a Paralympian with a prosthetic running blade.
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Ease of Play
Combat here focuses mostly on melee attacks, with players dodging and countering enemy attacks while often trying to target specific body parts of their foes for greater effect. This can take a lot of practice to do effectively. Players must also factor in things like weapon types and durability, players' Skill Deck, inventory management, and more.
Violence & Scariness
Dead Island 2 is a brutal and bloody splatterfest of gore. Players can maim, dismember, decapitate, and otherwise slaughter the undead in a slew of different, very explicit ways. Blood and bodies litter the environment in the aftermath of this zombie apocalypse, and some cutscenes feature graphic scenes of violence and death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sex or nudity, though the dialogue includes occasional cheeky references to sex. Also, some characters appear in revealing outfits.
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Frequent use of strong profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more.
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Products & Purchases
The game is a complete experience, but additional content is available for purchase à la carte, in bundles, or as part of a Season Pass. This is also a sequel to 2011's Dead Island.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is shown regularly in many of the game's locations, including scattered around homes where parties were obviously taking place before the zombie attack. Some characters are also depicted drinking and smoking, including smoking marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dead Island 2 is a first-person action horror game, available for Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. It's the latest entry in the Dead Island franchise, and a direct sequel to 2011's Dead Island. Players take on the role of a survivor during a zombie outbreak in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles. It's filled with over-the-top depictions of extreme violence, never shying away from the graphic use of blood and gore. The dialogue makes frequent use of strong profanity and occasional sexual references. There are also regular signs of drinking and smoking, whether it's characters depicted smoking or in the alcohol bottles, cigarette packs, and bongs that litter certain abandoned houses.
Is It Any Good?
It's been more than 10 years since gamers found themselves trapped in a tropical paradise with the undead in the original Dead Island. While there have been expansions, spin-offs, definitive editions, and more, it has taken more than a decade for a proper sequel to bring the franchise back from the dead. It's fitting that the new game, Dead Island 2, brings the undead menace to Hollywood, where bigger, flashier, and over-the top is the norm. Dead Island 2 brings the undead to life in all their gory glory, and then lets players dispatch them with even more brutality than ever. Using makeshift weapons, players can target specific parts of the zombies for different effects. Getting pummeled by a heavy-handed brute? Disarm it, literally, by slicing its arms off at the shoulders. Getting chased by a speedy runner? Take out its legs. Players can even use an Alexa connected device and shout at zombies to get their attention and lead them into well-placed traps.
Players choose from a cast of Survivors, each with their own unique abilities and stats to start. They then earn or discover cards through gameplay that can be equipped to a custom Skill Deck on the fly, giving players a lot of flexibility to play however they want. While the game is considered open-world and players do have a lot of freedom to explore, just how open the world is could be debated. It's more of a giant labyrinth of streets, driveways, and buildings with locked doors, disabled cars, and other conveniently placed environmental blockades. This serves to funnel players from Point A to Point B and makes for more claustrophobic encounters against groups of zombie foes. Add a few extra players into the mix via online play, and things can quickly become a chaotic frenzy of blood and body parts. Whether you go solo or with others, though, there's rarely a dull moment. Imagine for a second what it would be like to live inside of the guilty pleasure of a cheesy (zom)B movie, but one that managed to get a substantial special effects budget -- that's Dead Island 2 in a nutshell.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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