Dead Island 2 Haus DLC review
With its over-the-top zombie-killing violence, goofy humor, and hammer-subtle social satire, Dead Island 2 was a pretty good time. It had impressive visuals, a banger soundtrack, and excellent voice acting. And now Dead Island 2 has its first DLC in the form of Haus.
In case you missed it, here’s a thumbnail summary of the original. You play as one of several over-the-top characters, each with some specific skills and deficits. As the zombie apocalypse unfolds in the City of Angels, you rescue a famous actress and influencer. You’re invited back to her Beverly Hills mansion, which is your hub. You head out on missions that serve as a Los Angeles area travelogue: the Santa Monica pier, a Hollywood sound stage, an upscale suburb, etc. In addition to a hefty dose of undead slicing-and-dicing, you encounter a large cast of amusing characters. Almost everything is played for laughs, but a few unexpected emotional beats took me by surprise.
But Dead Island 2 is an action game, so the bulk of your time is spent killing a handful of zombie types with an arsenal of inventive weapons that you cobble together from scavenged parts. The violence is gory and explicit. It also gets a little repetitive. Dead Island 2 adds a collectible card system for upgrades and special abilities, and it works pretty well. Instead of big, chapter-ending bosses, the game has you fighting a number of strong mini-bosses or surviving cast-of-thousands zombie battles.
I spent so much time describing the original because Haus, the game’s first DLC, is a seamless continuation of the base game. For better or worse, it doesn’t do much to deepen or widen the game’s mechanics. On the other hand, it doesn’t ruin the fun, either.
The DLC is accessible pretty early in the game as a mission given from your home base. You are sent to a ritzy techo-survivalist cult compound, kind of a blend of New Age woo philosophy, cyberpunk aesthetics, and paramilitary readiness. The leader of the cult predicted the zombie breakout and was prepared for the end times.
Told in two chapters, with a running time of around three hours, Haus introduces a few new characters, a couple of inventive and graphically-impressive new locations, and a pair of bosses to fight. As in the base game, zombie killing and survival make up the core experience. There are a small number of new zombie types but most are retreads from the main title.
Lock and Key
The DLC continues the game’s tradition of giving you specific weapons to counter specific zombies and solve environmental puzzles. The star of Haus is the new crossbow, great for long-range headshots and clearing areas of the most menacing zombie types in advance. The DLC also introduces some new ability cards, but they’re pretty forgettable. The premise of the DLC allows for the art design team to go nuts with some thematic rooms that are arresting to look at and play in.
While it’s definitely not the case of “this sucks, AND there’s not enough of it,” the DLC suffers a bit from the base game’s main fault. Killing zombies — even creatively — gets repetitive. This is largely due to the small number of zombie types, the “more is better” philosophy of encounter design, and the predictable pacing.
Anyone who enjoyed Dead Island 2 will probably enjoy Haus as well. It has the same engaging humor and social satire, the same gory action, and even more visually impressive levels. What it doesn’t have are a lot of new ideas. It’s a pretty short romp, too. Haus is definitely, for better or worse, more of the same. I’m ok with that.
***PS5 code provided by the publisher for review***
- More great humor and writing
- Beautiful art and graphics
- Enjoyable action
- Very short
- Not much new
- Gets a bit repetitive