Boosting the Chew of a Clumsy Zombie Sport

While loading into Useless Island 2, a first-person motion sport from Dambuster Studios, the display screen reveals a zombie within the midst of being killed. A scrap of instructional textual content underlines the picture, however the display screen is in any other case naked, permitting the participant to rotate the ugly scene of the undead creature by a black void with their controller’s thumbstick and look at every angle of lovingly rendered burned flesh, hanging entrails, or rotting cranium.

This display screen is essential to understanding Useless Island 2’s priorities. It’s a sport premised on and meant to be loved for its dedication to creating strolling corpses die (once more) in spectacularly gory vogue. Little else appears to matter as a lot.

Useless Island 2. Credit score: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios

Set throughout the onset of a zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles, California – notably not an island – Useless Island 2 casts gamers as certainly one of six characters with pre-set beginning expertise. Although their voice is heard all through the sport, the chosen character’s character has no actual bearing on the plot that unfolds over the subsequent two dozen or so hours of bludgeoning, slicing, and taking pictures mobs of zombies aside. As an alternative, they’re only a silhouette forged in shadow whereas jogging by sunny streets and a set of palms that grip weapons throughout the many fights that make up the sport.

Although just one facet of its narrative, the comparatively clean participant character hints at certainly one of Useless Island 2’s bigger issues: Its total forged is simply too bland to hold the sport’s generic, fragmented plotline.

The Los Angeles setting is attractive, sun-baked and ominously shadowed in flip. Putting the autumn of civilization amidst the just lately deserted mansions, film units, and beachfronts usually populated by the wealthy and well-known is an ideal match for zombie film social satire — however sadly, the plot does little with this uncooked materials. It skewers the egos of celebrities and influencers shallowly and with out nice impact, all the time selecting a simple joke – a whiteboard with the script for an “insensitive in regards to the zombie outbreak” apology video sits close to bloodstains and corpses in a streamer home, say – over any actual commentary in regards to the tradition its motion is about inside.

Dead Island 2Useless Island 2. Credit score: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios

The plot is uneven, meandering alongside pretty aimlessly till it abruptly picks up momentum close to the conclusion and ends on an abrupt, sequel-baiting be aware. What Useless Island 2 does concentrate on is customary style fare: searches for a treatment, scientific inquiry run amok. And when it deviates from this in makes an attempt at humour, the satire depends on character writing as drained as the sport’s strategy to zombie fiction.

At one level, the participant meets a gaggle of bodybuilders hanging out in a restaurant alongside a tanned, laid-back seaside bum burnout who makes his debut with joint in hand carrying a shirt that reads, merely, DOPE in weed-patterned capital letters. In one other, they discover a perpetually fried previous rocker who wants assist discovering his favorite guitar and misplaced session tapes to get again his artistic spark. Romero this isn’t.

Worse are the moments the place this strategy to stereotypical characterisation veers into the offensive — just like the protagonist responding “bless you” to the point out of the identify Farouk or an Previous Hollywood film set the place the zombified extras of a pulp journey film swarm the participant in physique paint, loincloths, tribal tattoos, and beaded jewellery. Freed from any larger context and performed for laughs, it’s onerous to learn any of this as something however ill-considered.

Dead Island 2Useless Island 2. Credit score: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios

Many gamers will select to disregard the story, although, concentrating as a substitute on moment-to-moment motion. Fortunately, Useless Island 2’s most profitable factor is its fight system, which sees gamers taking down zombies with weapons together with swords, baseball bats, shotguns, pipe bombs, sledgehammers, and axes. This arsenal is discovered as pick-ups glowing up from the gloopy stays of freshly annihilated enemies, on the bottom or locked away in crates, and could be individually upgraded with discoverable blueprints to not solely mete out extra uncooked injury, but additionally trigger enemies to bleed profusely, erupt in flames or bolts of crackling electrical energy, dissolve in acid, and extra.

The zombies’ standing as guilt-free demonic punching baggage is absolutely explored by nauseatingly elaborate destruction particulars. Hack on the arms of a hulking, musclebound undead and his limbs will fly free from his physique; slice at a drunkenly shuffling zombie lady’s neck and her head will pop from her shoulders; lighting enemies on fireplace causes their already horribly rotting pores and skin to blacken with flakey char so that they resemble overcooked hamburger. It’s all appropriately gross – admirably so for a zombie sport – and evokes the gleeful excesses of a B film horror much better than the writing and performances.
The steadiness between overly frail and frustratingly powerful enemies is maintained nicely all through the sport, too. In each the early and late phases of the plot, the default “shambler” zombies could be taken down with a number of well-aimed melee assaults or gunshots, and current the most important menace when, true to conference, they handle to crowd the participant.

Particular forms of the undead, like bloated giants, and hunched, goblin-y sorts, pop up much less ceaselessly and soak up an appropriately greater quantity of injury. Confronting the standard wave of enemies sees numerous weaker zombies hanging out round a smaller variety of harder freaks, which supplies the vast majority of fights with the satisfaction of each a good diploma of problem and gloopy, lower-stakes violence on the identical time.

Dead Island 2Useless Island 2. Credit score: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios

Accompanying this can be a welcome, grim sense of creativity. Fight eventualities ceaselessly ask gamers to defeat enemies by noting their resistances and weaknesses to varied components earlier than recognizing puddles of gasoline, acid, or water and swapping out the weapon sorts finest used to ignite, corrode, or zap teams of various homicidal undead. Consequently, waves of enemies that might in any other case require monotonous, senseless destruction require some fast (however not overly concerned) considering to dispatch.

Nonetheless, regardless of the eye lavished on the fight, the violence itself doesn’t pack fairly the punch it should. The preventing is a bit too weightless, missing within the type of audiovisual suggestions that might make the method of really taking aside the zombies as noxiously satisfying as it’s to see the bloody aftereffects of doing so.

Just like the loading display screen zombie, floating mid-death by a black background, Useless Island 2 is absolutely targeted on the look of its detailed gore to the exclusion of the opposite particulars surrounding it. Its unabashed love for schlock horror violence provides it a gruesomely interesting edge, however, with out a story able to correctly framing its often-exciting fight or making good on its premise, it’s a sport that shambles greater than it sprints throughout its runtime.

Useless Island 2 releases on 21 April for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Collection X|S, and PC. We performed it on PlayStation 5.


Useless Island 2’s devotion to really gross zombie gore is commendable, however its bland, stereotypical characters, and drained, genre-rehashing plot make it harder to understand its ingenious fight than it ought to be.


  • Splendidly gory violence that calls to thoughts splatter horror
  • Lovely environments and novel premise
  • Various and ingenious fight eventualities


  • Bland and infrequently stereotypical characters
  • Plot takes too lengthy to construct momentum earlier than ending abruptly
  • The fight system lacks an actual feeling of weight