HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewDead Island 2: Haus Review

Dead Island 2: Haus Review

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The startling contrast between the blood and the sun-drenched luxury of Hell-A was one of many highlights when Dead Island 2 first released. That did come at a bit of a cost though, sacrificing any real horror in terms of atmosphere (Santa Monica Pier not included). That changes with the first DLC for Dead Island 2, Haus. It may be short, but its lore expanding story and claustrophobic settings offer a healthy dose of horror to the Zompocalypse.

The Dead Island 2: Haus DLC doesn’t require you to finish the story in order to access it, but with some of the topics discussed, it makes sense to have done so before starting. It covers some of the late game plot and expands on it. But to access the DLC itself, you need to return to Emma Jaunt’s mansion and head down to the tennis court. There you will find a mysterious looking invitation that appears to be bleeding ink. After examining it, you are transported to the weirdest cult HQ you could ever imagine.

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A new creepy Dead Island 2 setting

Immediately after stepping into the Haus DLC you are met with a sense of unease. This lavish and gilded setting mixed in with truly macabre looking paintings gives off an unusual aura. Dead Island 2 has always been a bit of a looker in the graphics department, and it is shown off extremely well in the Haus DLC.

After reuniting a body and a decapitated head back together, a door opens to the left of you in the grand hall. In there is a picturesque cul-de-sac, with LED walls simulating an outdoors environment. It isn’t long before the zombies start swarming you however. For as unique as the settings are in Dead Island 2: Haus, you will still need to kill hundreds and hundreds of zombies.

The DLC does offer a couple of new ways to kill them however. One area has many bottomless pits, and you are encouraged to knock zombies down them. There is also an achievement associated with doing so, along with a nice little one-liner from your chosen Slayer with every zombie that drops.

The main new weapon though is the crossbow, but you don’t get this until towards the end. This has a dual use though, as using it on the pulsating brains you find dotted around can open up doors and secret areas. There is still plenty of loot to be had in this strange location.

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Aha – the crossbow!

The crossbow can be a very effective weapon if you can score a headshot with it. Aside from Apex zombies and other bosses, most regular zombies are one hit kills with it. The one you are given as well cannot be scrapped; you require one to finish the DLC so it is in your best interests to keep hold of it at all times. It can then be taken back with you into the main game where it makes for a worthwhile addition to your arsenal.

There are also some unique variations of existing weapon types to be found along with some skill cards. These new skill cards are well worth seeking out, offering some useful new perks.

After you wander through a creepy indoor suburb, things get even more creepy. You will need to head to a diner at the end of a very dark forest. Once again the LED walls give the illusion you are actually outside but instead create this sense of claustrophobia. This area is designed to disorient and unsettle you in equal measures, and it does both effectively.

Then you arrive at the diner where a whole new set of disturbing images await you. Put it this way: my knowledge of cannibalistic terms has increased substantially after visiting this diner.

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More zombie slaying?

But a note on Dead Island 2 as a whole now. Since my preview, the review, and various post-release patches, it feels like the quality of the game has slipped back somewhat. There are tons of reports of broken achievements, of which I am a victim of several now, Quick Resume has failed on me a couple of times and there are other minor issues cropping up too. It wasn’t perfect on release, but it felt more robust than it does now. I was hoping the Haus DLC update would also patch a few issues but that doesn’t appear to be the case unfortunately.

Dead Island 2: Haus is definitely on the short side, completable in less than three hours. There are a few secrets to uncover but even those will not push the length of it up by anything meaningful. But, as with the main game, if smashing thousands of zombies into bloody pulps is your thing, then Haus has it in spades. Just this time it comes with a much more creepy atmosphere; the contrast from the main game’s sun drenched environments to Haus’ genuinely creepy and contained areas is striking. 

Haus is the horror shot in the arm that Dead Island 2 needed, but it is also one that is gone in a fleeting moment.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Expands on the Dead Island lore
  • Creepy and unsettling
  • Beautifully presented
Cons:
  • On the very short side
  • Whole experience is more buggy than initial launch
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Deep Silver
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 2 November 2023 | £9.99
Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Expands on the Dead Island lore</li> <li>Creepy and unsettling</li> <li>Beautifully presented</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>On the very short side</li> <li>Whole experience is more buggy than initial launch</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Deep Silver</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 2 November 2023 | £9.99</li> </ul>Dead Island 2: Haus Review
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