Dead Island Review: Zombie Slaying In Paradise

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Co-op play is a lot of fun
Tons of replay value
Beautiful graphics

Indoor environments look bland
Some players may hate lack of guns

Get ready for the time of your life on the island of Banoi. For all you vacation seekers out there Banoi offers plenty of entertainment here in paradise. Here you’ll find lush landscapes, the most beautiful men and women in the world, first class VIP parties, and plenty of blood-thirsty zombies waiting to tear apart your rotting corpse. Welcome to Dead Island. Enjoy your stay!

Dead Island, from Deep Silver and Techland, is clearly no Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising (both great games). It’s still a zombie slayer except the gameplay mechanics is more RPG than action/adventure. In a small way, Dead Island’s gameplay reminds me of games like Fallout 3 in terms of role-playing and Condemned: Criminal Origins with its melee combat system. These are some great concepts that seperate Dead Island from all the other zombie slayers that clog up the market and they work extremely well making for a fun experience filled with plenty of bloody fun and at times sheer terror.

The game begins with you awakening from what had to have been the greatest party in the history of parties. Getting past the terrible hangover from all the whiskey you had the night before, you wake up to realize that things have changed. Something has gone terrible wrong because the residents have become flesh eating zombies. Did you party too hard? Is it just a dream? Unfortunately, after your first experience with the undead, you come to a quick sobering reality that this is for real.

Dead Island places you in the role of four unique characters each with their own specialties. There’s Logan, the NFL star who’s considered a “Jack of all trades.” Sam B, a rap star who loves to use his fists. Xian Mei, a hotel employee that specializes in sharp weapons, Purna, a Sydney Police Officer who for a short time can use firearms. Each of their specialties are activated by a rage meter that are found on each character’s skill tree. Speaking of the skill tree, the more I look at it, the more it reminds me of the game Borderlands where as you level up you can choose new abilities for your character to work with. It seems as if Deep Silver and Techland has taken what has worked best in previous games and incorportated them here in Dead Island.

With the goal of getting off the island of the dead as your main concern, Dead Island breaks down into a series of quests for you to complete to gain XP. Most of the missions are of the go and fetch variety which is no surprise to most RPG veterans. Of course you can also explore the island at your leisure adding to the experience because there is a lot to see. The island itself has plenty of breathtaking views to see. The outdoor environments are amazing and well crafted which could sidetrack you when the undead are making a B-line towards you. The only thing you would wish is that the indoor parts were just as good as the outdoors, because in closed doors the scenery is rather bland.

So now let’s get to what everyone wants to know about…the combat mechanics. If your looking for a game filled with lots of guns allowing you rain lead on helpless zombies then your going to be disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, there are guns in the game, but there extremely limited in use so don’t dream of any Rambo fantasies. Melee combat is ther name of the game and it’s well done. Weapons range from paddle oars, axes, just about anything you can pick up can be used as a weapon. You can even throw your weapons for some added damage as well as get a few oohs and aahs from the crowd. As an added bonus, there are items you can pick up that you can use to customize your melee weapons even further. For example, you can add components to electrify your weapons making zombie carnage more fun. while this all sounds cool, keep in mind that weapons can break down over time and break. Make sure you have a weapon in the hole or else your dead meat.

What makes Dead Island great is the ability to play the game with friends which is truly the game’s main selling point. Dead Island features drop in/drop out co-op gaming as players can join in at any time according to the default settings. Playing the game with online buds is awesome and brings back some of those fun Left 4 Dead moments as you slay zombies, complete misions, and gain valuable XP. Of course complete strangers can join your game as well. Some players may not like the idea of another player jumping into their game and find out that they’re not there to help them, but to help themselves. For those who may not want strangers in their game make sure you select solo play on the options menu. Just keep in mind that playing in co-op makes Dead Island even better than it already is.

For me zombie slaying never gets old. Now I get to do it on a beautiful island and place my bloody paddle oar right into a bikini-clad female’s face…priceless. Let me tell you that Dead Island can get addictive the more you get into the game. Add a few friends and you have the best zombie slaying game since Valve’s spectacular zombie slayer Left 4 Dead. Buy this game today.

  1. […] in most games where developers work so hard making the outside atmosphere look amazing like in Dead Island and then there’s the bland inside corridors reminding me of the original F.E.A.R. […]

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