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Dead Island: Zombie Game Review (Ps3, PC, Xbox360)

Updated on December 18, 2011

Banoi, a utopian vacation resort for the privileged, is a lush tropical island, where there are waves to catch, umbrella beverages to drink, palm trees to relax under, and a salty sea breeze to breathe in while digging your toes into the beautiful white sand. Yes, vacations are nice, unless of course the people that surround you are overwhelmed with an incredible urge to feed on human flesh.

You play as one of four characters who are surrounded by the undead; they begin to hear eerie growl-like whispers echo throughout the tropical storm winds, and soon realize that all communication, to this deadly paradise, has been cut off, and the island is under quarantine; it won’t be long before you find yourself trying to escape the horror that is—Dead Island.

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Dead Island is not a typical survival horror game, it looks and acts more like a first person shooter, but it cannot be called that either. Though there are guns, and you play in first person perspective, I consider it more of a first person brawler, because the majority of weapons you find are melee weapons, and you'll discover that ammo is scarce on the larger parts of the island. The game is a unique hybrid of first person brawler and shooter with an underlying RPG element.

The RPG element is fun in some interesting ways: including a skill tree, zombie health bar, hit points, and zombie type indicator above the head of each zombie, and also the word indicator that pops up letting you know when you break a zombies arm with a blunt weapon, or when you slice one of its limbs off with a sharp weapon, these indicators are optional. But it has its flaws as well, when you level up so do zombies and other enemies, and using the right level consistent weapons with the right upgrades you can easily dispatch a level fifty zombie as a level fifty character, as easily as you could being a level one character, and killing a level one zombie. It would seem that the leveling up is merely there to give you a slight health boost, and to unlock perks from the skill tree, giving you a small one up on your enemies; rather than being there because the enemies get insanely hard later on, with the exception of some boss zombies that could prove a bit difficult given the right circumstances.

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PurnaLoganSam B.Xian Mei
Purna
Purna | Source
Logan
Logan | Source
Sam B.
Sam B. | Source
Xian Mei
Xian Mei | Source

The four playable characters are immune to infection, and each have their own unique RPG-like skill tree for you to choose perks from:

Purna specializes in fire arms. However, guns are available only later in the game, but what makes up for this is Purna's blade and melee skill selections, which increases her efficiency with sharp weapons and other melee weapons. Her rage attack allows her to pull out a powerful handgun that has unlimited ammo and aim assistance.

Logan, specializes in throwing weapons, he’s your all around guy that offers a bit of everything. Like firearms, throwing weapons are rarer than common melee weapons, and to compensate for this, like Purna, Logan also has a skill slot for one-handed melee weapons. Logan's rage attack consists of him pulling out several deadly throwing knives that can be devastating if used correctly.

Sam B specializes in blunt weapons. He’s your typical health tank and melee bruiser. His rage attack consists of putting on some brass knuckles and pulverizing the undead hordes, if big clubs and brute strength is your idea of hurting a zombie, then this is your man.

Last but not least is Xian Mei; she specializes in sharp slicing and stabbing weapons. The majority of her skill tree consists of sharp weapon upgrades. She’s fast and agile, and her rage attack is a small dagger. She stabs the undead hordes repeatedly, with lethal precision.

Dead Island's main story can be quite cliché, and the characters can have some cheesy voice acting and lines, occasionally I felt like I was watching a b-horror movie, but don't let this discourage you from the potential zombie killing fun this game can bring.

The melee weapon list is packed full of many different weapons, a robust arsenal, especially when you are richly rewarded with weapon modification schematics after completing quests for people. These modification schematics consist of different parts, and you have to scavenge around the island to assemble unique weapons. I've created flaming axes, electric crowbars and swords, poisonous and exploding knives, and I've even transformed a regular baseball bat into a medieval tool of destruction. Each modified weapon gives a bonus to how it deals special effect damage to an enemy. Something wrapped in barbed wire will cause the enemy to bleed out its health, a weapon that’s on fire will shoot them up in flames, and a weapon wired with batteries will fry your foes with electricity. The possibilities are truly endless. Keep an eye on your weapon's health meter, as it will deteriorate over time; to fix this problem you need to visit one of the island's many repair benches, and often, if you wait too long to repair your prized weapon's damage, it will become more expensive to repair when it’s totally broken.

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This game has single player and multiplayer options, its best enjoyed playing online with friends or strangers, and I believe it was meant for this purpose, as playing with the company of others, who entertain you through some of this game’s mundane quest tasks, is a fun experience. One quest giver has you looking for gasoline, you need to find a truck, go to a gas station, turn the station pumps back on, find some gas cans, unbar garage doors, and fill these gas cans up, all while fighting off the undead. This is a more satisfying experience if you have online friends helping you, one doing each task of the quest. It’s exciting to ride along with friends, sitting in the back of a pickup truck (due to another player driving) heading to the next area or quest location, watching the undead frantically chase after the truck. The whole experience reminds me of Halloween hayrides as a kid, adults jumping out of the woods scaring us as we rode past. To add to the carnage you can hit zombies with your truck, should they get in your way.

Don’t be afraid to play the game online; if you are worried about other players racing ahead of you, completing quests without you, and possibly causing you to miss pivotal storyline moments, which I was concerned about at first, don't be. In my experience with Dead Island, online quests cannot be started unless all players have arrived at the quest location. If some players haven’t yet arrived then words will appear over those player’s heads, and let them know that they are needed for a quest to begin. Even though most side quests are fetch item missions, I still had a blast playing alone too, and exploring the gigantic world, consisting of four huge maps, hundreds of side quests, and various locations.

This game had some bugs, and glitch issues upon release. These issues have since been repaired, so if you were one of the ones looking forward to this game in the beginning, but the problems disappointed you, worry no longer. It is a game that has enough content to keep you busy, slaying the undead, for weeks or even months to come, depending on your play style. The zombie killing and questing gets repetitive, but if you are a hardcore zombie lover and are looking for a lengthy adventure comprised of helping survivors and slaughtering thousands of the walking dead, then Dead Island will not disappoint. It’s a first person gore-fest that should not be overlooked by zombie enthusiasts.

Score

Overall:
8/10
Gameplay:
8/10
Graphics:
9/10
Storyline:
6.5/10
Gamespot Score:
7.0
IGN Score:
8.0

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