Dead Island 2 Guide – 8 Essential Tips To Help You Survive

As you set out on your zombie-killing rampage in Dead Island 2, make sure to keep these tips in mind for a slightly more pleasant experience.
Dead Island 2 Guide Tips

For the most part, Dead Island 2 is a pretty straightforward game. You’ll jog through various Los Angeles neighbourhoods, meet survivors, pick up quests, follow waypoint markers, and kill a lot of zombies. But with weapon degradation, a looting and crafting system, and several skills to equip, there are a number of ways you can actually go about killing all those zombies.

Having now finished the game, we thought it’d be nice to share our top gameplay tips in this guide, to help make your time through Dead Island 2 a bit more relaxed, letting you focus on the good stuff.

Read: Dead Island 2 review roundup

1. Don’t stress about being too thorough when looting

Image: Dambuster Studios

There is a lot of stuff to pick up in Dead Island 2. Like, a lot of stuff. There are crafting materials everywhere you look, weapons flying out of chests, and plenty of documents, blueprints, and keys to pick up.

When you start, you’ll likely feel obliged to comb through each and every room you enter with a fine-toothed comb to make sure you’re getting absolutely everything. Well, you really don’t have to do that.

Crafting materials and cash are important for upgrading your weapons in Dead Island 2, but they’re also in absolute abundance. In fact, they’ll respawn once you leave the areas.

You will encounter doors you can’t open early on in the game – and this might cause you some stress. Have you missed a pickup somewhere? Do you have to do another loop of the area you just came from? The answer is no. You’ll find those keys at another time, when you inevitably revisit the area later in the game.

Read: Dead Island 2 Review – A Bad Day in L.A

Once you begin to enter the mid-game phase, you’ll likely already have the best upgrades on your favourite weapons (see: the other tips), and won’t need as many materials anyway. In fact, you’ll likely find yourself hitting the collectible limit for certain items pretty quickly, and you’ll probably have to sell them to make room to pick up more. And when it comes to end-game crafting items like Alloys and special organic parts, you’ll likely find plenty of them from just encountering and killing Apex-variety zombies out in the wild.

Any really important pickups – like blueprints, keys, and documents – will be highlighted with a white, glowing particle effect, so it’s harder to miss them when they cross your path.

So the ultimate takeaway is: don’t sacrifice your momentum just to go hunting for every single item.

2. Always stock up on fuses

Keeping the last tip in mind, however, some of the most lucrative locations for rare crafting materials and good weapons are locked behind doors that can only be opened with fuses.

Fuses can only be acquired by purchasing them from vendors. They’re about $1500 a pop, but it’s well worth splurging your money on them to make sure you have a fuse handy when you stumble upon one of these doors. Ultimately, it’s a very small price to pay for what will undoubtedly be a very useful weapon, especially in the early- and mid-game.

So when you return to a safe house in Dead Island 2, make sure your first stop is at the vendor to stock up on fuses!

3. Keep your favourite weapons and upgrade them

Image: Dambuster Studios

Dead Island 2 is nothing if not for its interesting variety of melee weapons of all different shapes and sizes. From garden rakes and sledgehammers to knives and swords, each kind of weapon comes with its own unique attack style.

You’ll cycle through a lot of low-level Common (Grey) and Uncommon (Green) weapons when you begin, which gives you an opportunity to find the ones you gel with the most. As you quickly level up, these weapons will also become obsolete, as they won’t have the raw power to take down higher-level zombies. You should be scrapping them and selling them.

When you start obtaining Rare (Blue) and Superior (Purple) weapons (which allow you to attach more mods onto them), you should aim to keep the ones you really have an affinity with, and upgrade them to match your level instead of scrapping or selling them in favour of something else.

This is because, obviously, you’ll see a lot fewer Blue and Purple weapons dropping, and having a weapon you’re more comfortable with using is much more advantageous than using a weapon you don’t vibe with, just because it has higher power and you want to save a bit of money. Trust us.

As we explained in the first tip, cash will be plentiful. Your favourite style of weapon is not.

4. Upgrading weapons also repairs them

Here’s a quick one. Let’s say you’ve just come back from exploration and you’ve gained an extra level, but your weapons need repairing.

Read: Dead Island 2 has some pretty hefty PC system requirements

If one of those weapons is one you’re planning to keep for the long haul, don’t waste money on repairing it before upgrading it. Upgrading a weapon to match your current level will automatically repair it, so save that cash for something else.

5. Try to keep one weapon of every attack style

dead island 2 dambuster
Image: Dambuster Studios

With the previous tip in mind, try to keep your hands on at least one favoured melee weapon of every attack style, for use in different situations. Each different weapon will be categorised into one of these styles:

  • Headhunter – Good for inflicting critical damage on a zombie – especially useful for Apex variants – but requires accuracy to hit the mark (the head) consistently.
  • Bulldozer – An incredibly useful tool for knocking over several regular zombies at once, and giving you some breathing room. Not as powerful as other options on single targets, however.
  • Frenzy – Weapons with fast attack speeds that can perform several critical hits in a row once you’ve landed enough consecutive hits on a target. Good for Apex variants.
  • Maiming – Arguably the best attack style to have equipped most of the time, maiming weapons have the ability to more easily dismember zombies. This can be highly advantageous – cutting off the legs and arms of zombies can dramatically reduce their effectiveness.

We’d recommend finding at least one favourite weapon of each style, and keeping them readily accessible in your weapon slots to quickly adapt to changing situations. We’d also recommend keeping two favoured maiming weapons available since we found them to be the most useful, and you don’t want to be put out if one breaks while you’re in the thick of exploration.

Additionally, towards the endgame of Dead Island 2, maiming will become necessary to find certain crafting materials.

6. Using an elemental weapon? Make sure you have alternatives

Elemental modifiers are also a big part of Dead Island 2. The levels and environments are full of opportunities to take out zombies using fire, electricity, and caustic liquid, but you also have the option of modifying your weapons to help out with dealing this kind of damage – which will slowly whittle away the health of your enemies.

Elemental weapons are great in that they have the capacity to deal a significant amount of damage very quickly, at the risk of accidentally injuring yourself.

dead island 2 elemental weapons
Image: Dambuster Studios / Deep Silver

However, there will be enemies throughout Dead Island 2 that have a natural resistance to each of the elements mentioned above, as well as an extra one: bleed damage. If you try to use an elementally charged weapon on an enemy of the same type, well, you won’t be making a single dent.

If you do decide to customise your weapons with anything other than physical damage modifiers, make sure you have something just as powerful in another elemental type, otherwise, you’ll have a bad time.

If juggling a bunch of different weapons with different elemental effects on top of different attack styles is too much for you, know you can get by just fine by simply focusing on physical damage mods.

7. Remember: Health packs remove any status effects

Did you go all-in on elemental weapons, and accidentally set yourself on fire? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

But remember: using a health pack will not only give you back a large portion of your health, it will also instantly remove any status effect like fire, shock, caustic, or bleeding.

8. Use dodge, not block. And use it often.

Early on when you start Dead Island 2, you’ll have the option to choose one of two defensive abilities: Block, or Dodge. Timing either a block or dodge just before an enemy attack hits can create an opening for a counterattack.

This is incredibly useful, and you should be doing it often – because it allows you to deal a significant amount of damage with a takedown attack, and from the mid-game onwards you’ll find a variety of Skill Cards that augment the counterattack phase to give you increased damage, a health boost, or other perks.

Having played through the whole game trying to make Block work, we wholeheartedly recommend you go for Dodge instead.

A mistimed dodge might not give you a counterattack phase, but it will still move you out of the way of an attack, and prime you for a blow from the side or behind. Having a quick movement button handy at all times is a very, very useful skill to have in Dead Island 2. Never stop dodging.

Dead Island 2 is available on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Xbox Series X/S.

GamesHub has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content. GamesHub may earn a small percentage of commission for products purchased via affiliate links.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran