Dead Island

Dead Island "Director's Cut" mod makes headshots vital. Leg and body shots: less so

Tim Edwards at


Dead Island wasn't exactly realistic. What with the electro-swords, the nuns and the knifing zombies in the chest. If you prefer your undead to be a little more quasi-Romero-real, you'll want the "Director's Cut" mod, which rebalances the combat, skill trees and items to deliver better pacing and a requirement for headshot precision. Mod creator tnutz says he "tried to refine and highlight the best aspects of the Dead Island combat and tie it together into a deeper combat system where you are rewarded for properly assessing the situation and acting tactically."

The full list of changes and a link are below. They include: "Ground-and-pounding the head with fists is viable". Not that games are violent or anything.

The mod's available via the Steam forums. Here's the full list of changes.

Mod Highlights
- More involved and demanding combat. I tried to refine and highlight the best aspects of the Dead Island combat and tie it together into a deeper combat system where you are rewarded for properly assessing the situation and acting tactically

- Precision strikes to the head give you quick kills

- Different enemy groups can make for very different feeling fights

- You can stay in control of big fights by taking advantage of each situation, and you don't have to spam-kick the whole time


- Normal attacks to the body work towards knock down, but do no health damage to Walkers and little to infected

- Weapon mods are useful and take full effect. A crit even to the body can make your enemies bleed out, burn to a crisp, or dance while being electrocuted

- Hits to a Walker's arms break and dismember them easily, doing little damage but setting up a killshot

- Strong blunt attacks to the leg will up-end zombies

- Walkers stay down for a shorter time, and randomly get up faster
- Skills affecting knockout might actually be interesting now

- Infected regenerate when taunting(and so do Rams), so be aggressive

- Infected take more damage from behind, an incentive to work together with a co-op buddy

- Ground-and-pounding the head with fists is viable

- Normal kicks are stronger against enemies you've maimed
- An uninjured walker will shrug it off quickly
- An armless or bleedingshockedburned zombie will often lose balance and fall

- A headshot from a pistol or rifle can take out a zombie
- A shot to the body has a small chance to knock them down
- Bullets have some penetration and can hit more than one zombie
- Shotguns are at least as dangerous as ever, and will knock-down and dismember satisfyingly


Non-combat changes
- Better overall pacing
- Health items give 2x health. Don't be afraid to engage in a fight even if you can barely survive

- Improved loot tables - a reason to put points into lockpick (used Anime SchoolGirl's non-cheater edition)

- Increased Durability (mildly, to balance the combat style differences)

- Much Tougher Escorted NPCS

- Co-op experience is much closer to equal. Killers and assisters get full exp. Nearby people get 90%.

- Auto-aim for throws is back. See below


Fun things to do
- Decapitate multiple zombies with one swing
- Headshot two zombies with one bullet
- Aim up while jump-kicking to send zombies arcing over a high railing
- Aim your jump-kicks so the ragdolls land on their heads or arms and they splatter
- Time your jump-kicks and thrown weapon extractions to combine them into one smooth motion
- Send some zombies flying to a watery death in the ocean with a sweeping sledgehammer blow to the legs
- Slice a Walker's leg to put them on a knee and then slice upward for a one-two decapitation
- Sever the leg of an oncoming Infected at full speed
- Shockburn yourself on an enemy you critted

Auto-Aim I added back in auto-aim on the throws to not exacerbate the issue with losing weapons. Boomerang isn't a good enough fix since it's not nearly as fun as having to skillfully kick-remove your weapons mid-fight. If you like the challenge of arcing your throws, change line 54 in default_levels.xml to

Installation: Extract to non-steam folder, e.g. C:\Users\\Documents\DeadIsland\out
So your structure is: "DeadIsland\out\data\AI" etc...

A few things I would like to do when I can
- Add tiny amounts of ammo as a chance to drop in normal loot, so there's not feast or famine like vanilla

- Make guns more challenging - remove auto-aim especially.

- Increase spawn sizes as an option, especially for co-op
- Have a Co-op version with more lethal enemies, more spawns, etc...

- Make kicks to the head have a different effect than to the body (tried some things and failed)

- Re-balance the skilltrees (some worthless skills in vanilla are already more interesting though)

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