Game Review: Dead Island is More Than a Vacation Gone Wrong
Dead Island sends players off to the fictional island in Papua New Guinea, Banoi, where they would come face to face with a zombie infestation. The action is fast paced and pretty jarring –often requiring players to make careful use of stamina while also minding their weapon’s durability and finding constant ways to stay on the move. The characters you control are “immune” to the virus so the infection scare is not that bad, but the zombies can still mangle you dead –that is what players will want to avoid. As good as Dead Island is, there is a lot of mixed reactions about this game –most particularly when it was launched after a very misleading teaser trailer, that left many players unable to appreciate the actual game.Continue Reading
Release Date: 6th September 2011
Available on: Linux, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3, Windows, PC Download
Play the Game
Game Background: Hype and Reality
There is no doubt that Dead Island got immensely popular before the launch of the game. This is all thanks to the incredibly well-directed teaser trailer by Axis Animation. Unfortunately, the teaser was downright dramatic and emotional; promising viewers that Dead Island would be a game with serious socio-psychological undertones in the same way that the episodic Walking Dead games managed to be so heart-wrenching. When Deep Silver's game launched and it was revealed to be more of a combat based exploration game, many of those who had been sold on the trailer were undoubtedly disappointed. But just because Dead Island did not exactly live up to initial expectations does not mean it is not a good game at all. On the contrary, being the action-game that it is, it does a pretty good job at it.
Gameplay: Scavenge and Fight
Dead Island is an FPS game –which is a bit sad since the melee-heavy combat would have benefited heavily from an over the shoulder/third-person view instead. That aside, dealing with zombies in this game is nothing short of exciting. First, they have variety –from your typical slow and shambling ones to the ones that run; there are even a few owes with exceptionally wicked mutations that makes them pretty grotesque and hard to deal with (not to mention a few boss type ones). Second, you will always been on the move looking for weapons. Melee is the big focus here –while guns are present, the ammunition you can get is not that reliable. Instead, players have to focus on making use of one melee weapon after another –constantly changing the items as they degrade with use. Sure, there are repair stations for maintenance and legendary type equipment that do not break, but expect to play most of the game constantly on the lookout for anything you can kill zombies with. Exploration becomes an important part of the game as players have to contend with having limited resources and plenty of zombies to kill –knowing where to run and hide (or at least, find better gear), will also be an important priority.
Delivery: Eye Candy
It has been a while since Dead Island was released, but the graphics are still pretty nice and crisp. Much of the background content in the environment point towards a paradise gone bad and the sharp details lends itself to the mood and feel of the game. Zombies are well detailed –so expect to see plenty of gore (especially once you start chopping limbs off), and of course, the combat animations are quite fun to watch. The menus look a lot like an RPG’s since you will be managing inventory, character skill points, and other things –basically this is what the developers meant by “action-role playing” ; though if you were expecting System Shock levels of role playing depth, this is not it.
The Verdict: Worth a Visit
Banoi island’s zombie tragedy is certainly worth playing through, and while much of the story is pretty campy (complete with all the b-movie plot twists you can predict a mile away), it is actually quite satisfying to play through the main events. Dead Island does not hold back with the battles either –much of your zombie encounters will leave you and your character exhausted, which is a much needed thrill that most action heavy games tend to miss out on. Best of all, there is a sequel coming soon, and this is as good a time to start up on the original.
Play the Game
Dead Island is developed by Techland.