Dead Island Review

Developer:

Techland

Publisher:

Deep Silver

Console:

PC, PlayStation, Xbox 360, cloud gaming sources

Release Date:

September 6, 2011

Genre:

Survival horror, open world, action, RPG

Rating:

M

-Eric Lee Lewis

Who do ya voodoo b!+c=?

The zombie genre; what a growing genre it is. Zombie games are everywhere. Even if a game isn’t labeled to be a zombie game, zombies somehow manage to creep in. So what better idea than to take the idea of a massive open world like Banoi and introduce zombies to it?

Dead Island is a game that is set on a beautiful island paradise. This is quite different than most zombie games. Usually zombie games take place in dark city streets, malls, or mansions. This is where Techland decided to set their game apart. And boy, does this add an interesting dynamic. Sometimes the scenery is extremely beautiful and you forget the undead horde that lies in waiting. Well, the scenery is beautiful after the textures pop in.

Much like most open-world games, Dead Island has issues. These issues have ranged from people having game-breaking bugs like not being able to leave houses to bugs as minute as mouths not moving on the characters. Then again, there are funny animations that you can see in your shadow. Unfortunately, the game can not be seen in a third-person perspective on the Xbox 360. So 360 owners miss out on the odd left arm movement of the characters whilst running. 

What Dead Island does do right is giving you a huge sandbox filled with the undead of the flesh-eating persuasion to mow through with many different types of weapons ranging from simple knives to different assortments of guns. Here is what most people that haven’t played Dead Island are thinking: Why use knives or other weapons when you can just blast holes in their living-impaired craniums? Well my friends, guns are few and far between and bullets are even fewer until you gain the ability to create them. That’s right, this game is mainly a first-person melee game, but you do have the ability to craft items and mod said melee weapons. 

Crafting can be really fun if you have the parts required for the mod you want to add to a weapon and you don’t mind the weapon’s durability taking a hit due to it becoming heavier or lit on fire. Yes, the weapons degrade over time. Some weapons last much longer than others and they can last even longer if you upgrade them at a workbench. Some of the characters are better with some weapons than others.

Each character has their own skill tree and it adds to either their combat (specialty weapons and effectiveness of certain weapon types), Fury (special rage-based skill), and survival (stamina upgrades, weapon durability upgrades, loot upgrades, etc.). With the skill trees, Dead Island becomes a first-person RPG in the vein or Borderlands or Fallout. And just like Borderlands or Fallout, the main way you get your weapons is through looting the bodies of your fallen foes or through scrounging around through various cabinets, boxes, or even just on the ground. To go with these weapons are the characters and how they use them. 

In Dead Island you have the choice of picking one of four characters. The characters are as follows:

Purna: Guns expert and apparently a feminist due to her ability to do more damage to male enemies and the developers calling her skill “feminist whore”.

Sam B.: Blunt weapons expert and an almost disgustingly overly stereotypical rapper from New Orleans. 

Xian Mei: Sharp weapons expert and covert operative.

Logan Carter: Throwing expert and annoyingly self-loving former athlete. 

But don’t expect to fall in love with your character as they are all shallow and when they are in cutscenes, you will come to hate them. 

This game is not for the masses by any means. If I truly wanted to, I could give Dead Island two separate scores based upon how much of a zombie fan someone is and a score based on people that aren’t zombie fans. In a way, giving this game two different scores isn’t going to change it much in my opinion (after all reviews are opinions). Also, if you are wondering why I didn’t speak about the story, there isn’t really a story to speak about.

Pros:

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Lot of weapons
  • Genuine fun in leveling up a character
  • Multiple ways to dispatch enemies
  • Fun weapon modding
  • Interesting eater eggs and references to other popular zombie fiction

Cons:

  • Crappy characters
  • Lack of story
  • Texture pop-ins
  •  Minor glitches for most people and major bugs for others

Verdict:80%

Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer

Dead Island is split half-in-half in most cases, with people either loving it or hating it. Which side were you on and why?