After a decade-long wait, Dead Island 2 is finally here. Players can take to the streets of Hell-A and slay the undead hordes with a slew of different weapons, but Dead Island 2 divides its weapons into different archetypes that excel at different things. Some weapons are fit for tearing through large crowds of zombies, while others are more suited for one-on-one duels against apex variants like Crushers and Butchers.
You’ll want to keep a varied arsenal on you at all times just in case the situation calls for a certain weapon type. Some skill cards and upgrades that you can obtain throughout the story even synergize with specific weapon categories, giving you much more control over your Slayer’s build than in the previous game. Some Slayers come equipped with built-in perks that make them more suited to certain melee weapons, too, so keep that in mind when choosing your starting character.
Dead Island 2 Weapon Types Explained
There are four melee weapon archetypes in Dead Island 2: Maiming, Headhunter, Frenzy, and Bulldozer. Each of these weapon archetypes is designed for a specific combat style, dealing critical damage when you attack certain parts of a zombie’s body. When combined with the game’s stellar F.L.E.S.H. gore engine, these weapons can paint a room red in seconds.
Maiming weapons are arguably the most powerful types of weapons in Dead Island 2. In this category, you’ll find weapons like fire axes and swords. As the name suggests, these weapons excel at maiming and dismembering enemies. They deal guaranteed critical hits against the limbs of your foes, so they’re perfect for chopping off a zombie’s legs to give yourself some breathing room or going for a good old-fashioned decapitation on an undead opponent. Also, dismembering an enemy (maiming them, in other words) will regenerate your stamina.
Weapons in the Headhunter category — ranging from one-handed knives and hammers to long-range pikes and pitchforks — are designed with deadly accuracy in mind. These weapons deal guaranteed critical hits to zombies’ heads, keeping things plain and simple. Just like in most zombie media, you should always go for the head.
The one-handed weapons in this category are great for strafing around slower enemies like Crushers, while the two-handed pikes and spears are perfect for keeping a safe distance from the undead swarms. Also, your heavy attacks will provide a boost to agility and do not slow you down when you charge them.
Frenzy weapons are the closest thing Dead Island 2 has to standard melee weapons. These weapons attack slowly at first but gradually ramp up in speed with repeated attacks, eventually dealing guaranteed critical hits to zombies after landing enough strikes.
This category includes melee weapons like the bo staff, crescent blades, and brass knuckles. If you want to dive headfirst into the fray and tear apart the zombie hordes with close-range weapons that don’t require precision, these are the weapons for you.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bulldozer weapons are slow and powerful. This weapon archetype is home to tools like the sledgehammer. They drain stability and deal guaranteed critical hits with charged heavy attacks. In addition, throwing them creates a forceful explosion that will knock zombies back. These weapons are perfect for crowd control because they excel at damaging multiple foes at once and knocking zombies to the ground to thin the herd.
Dead Island 2 Gun Types Explained
In addition to the four melee weapon archetypes, there are four categories of firearms that you’ll encounter throughout Hell-A: Sharpshooter, Rapid-Fire, Tactical, and Demolition. Just like the melee weapon categories, each gun archetype serves a different purpose. A gun is still a gun at the end of the day though, so these categories don’t matter as much. Still, keeping a weapon’s strengths in mind will let you mow down waves of zombies much easier.
The first gun you get your hands on during Dead Island 2’s main storyline will be a sharpshooter sporting rifle, so you should already be at least somewhat familiar with this category. This archetype features long-range rifles fit for picking zombies off from a distance. They boast increased damage when aiming down sights and deal guaranteed critical hits to heads and limbs.
Related: How to Get Guns in Dead Island 2
To compensate for their high damage output, these weapons have small magazine sizes and slow reload times. You can get around this handicap with weapon mods, however, but even with a smaller magazine size, these weapons should be able to bring down even the toughest apex variants before you need to reload.
Rapid-Fire guns are your typical automatic assault rifles, submachine guns, and machine pistols. These fire quickly and burn through ammunition faster than you’d expect, but they deal great burst damage. When firing, rapid shots will deal critical damage and provide a stacking increase to your accuracy. These are basically the equivalent of Frenzy melee weapons.
With these guns, the best strategy is to fire until you need to reload since the stacking accuracy buff and critical damage will apply as long as you keep the trigger held. The critical damage adds up, so don’t be afraid to drain your ammo reserves to take down a Crusher or Butcher out in the field.
Offering a nice middle ground between the Sharpshooter and Rapid-Fire categories, the Tactical archetype lets you play it safe while still getting a bit closer to the undead hordes of Hell-A. You’ll mainly find semi-automatic pistols in this category, and while they might not be the most exciting firearms in the world, you can amp them up with weapon mods at a workbench.
These weapons deal critical damage after dodging or blocking in addition to providing a boost to agility and reload speed. Basically, you’ll want to shoot a zombie in the head after dodging its attacks to make the most out of these weapons.
Finally, the Demolition gun archetype is all about hitting zombies while they’re down. These weapons, mostly shotguns, deal critical damage against vulnerable zombies. Zombies are vulnerable when they’ve had their stability bar drained and have been knocked to the ground. These weapons also provide a boost to toughness after reloading, allowing you to continue your rampage without slowing down. These are basically the ranged equivalent of the Bulldozer melee weapon category.
Those are all of the weapon types in Dead Island 2! Keep these archetypes in mind while you slice and dice your way through the streets of Hell-A. Remember, any weapon can be good in the right hands, but the best players will use their weapons’ special abilities to make the most out of every encounter. Make sure to keep a few different types of weapon with you at all times so you’re never caught unprepared.