Set in an open world tropical island, hordes of different festering zombies await players around every corner while they embark on a variety of thrilling missions through the holiday resort. With firearms and ammunition being scarce the player must rely on utilizing found items as weapons for self-defense and fight off zombie hordes in intense melee combat. A diverse range of items can be collected and will later serve to transform the player's ordinary makeshift weapons into serious instruments of destruction.

In addition to satisfying even the most bloodthirsty action fan's fantasy, Dead Island also features role-playing elements which allow the player to develop one of the game's unique character classes according to their preferences, all the while learning new skills and fresh tactics during their journey through the perilous environments of the island. What's more, anytime during a game up to four players can seamlessly join together and experience the intense combat and immersive story with cooperative gameplay.