The highly-anticipated release of the newest zombie game had a lot of people on the fence. In a world where zombie games have been the genesis of the RPG movement, they now clutter the playing field. Dead Island, I have to say is far more superior than any out there. I say this not particularly because it is a polished gem, but because it’s a ton of fun. For those of you gamers living under a rock, Dead Island is a first person RPG game that features open world roaming. The focus is on melee combat, incorporating customizable weaponry, vehicular customization and blood- soaked combat. Many advance comments on the web have been comparing Dead Island to Dead Rising (as you can create weapons) and Left 4 Dead (as the action is first-person and good for four players online), but once you trudge through the clunky opening sequence and the mediocre cutscene animations, be prepared for a wild ride that offers at least 20-25 hours or more of zombie slaying goodness.  The island of Dead Island is a resort somewhere off the coast of Papua New Guinea where, of course, a mysterious virus has transformed all but a handful of survivors into brain-munching maniacs.  The premise in Dead Island is actually quite flimsy and exists solely for the purpose of hanging the bloodbath action on it. However, what the game lacks in story, it more than makes up in gameplay, allowing players to do what we all love to do best in these melee-focused games — and that’s get medieval on hordes of the undead. This is an aspect that any zombie game should strive for, because it allows us as players to attack, brutalize and dismember countless multitudes of humans, guilt-free. The world of Dead Island is beautiful, and you want to spend time just exploring it as you discover endless side quests and character progression that will have you burning through hours without even realizing it.

The main characters wake up in the Palms Resort hotel to find the island attacked by zombies and mysteriously, they are immune to whatever is making people into zombies. As they try to find and help other survivors, they must also find a way to escape the island. The players go through a series of both main and side quests. There is an experience system as well as a skill tree system. There is also a stamina bar, meaning that after a set amount of action with a weapon, the character will need to stop to regain their stamina before continuing to attack. Players will need to use flashlights in dark areas and during nighttime sections, adding suspense to an already creepy game. This is where the game succeeds, and not because of its carnage, but because the world allows the players to create as they explore environments that range from gorgeous beaches, sinister zombie-infested buildings and dark sewers. City streets are littered with city-tight alleyways overrun with creeps, forcing you to change your fighting style from all-out slaughter to a strategy-based approach. Survival becomes the name of the game, instead of a body count.

There was a characteristic of the gameplay that I particularly enjoyed: the sound effects and ambiance of the landscapes. The beachfronts and jungle areas felt very real to my ears, and there was the constant eeriness of listening to jungle birds, then the howl of oncoming zombies. By the way, kudos to the designers for the sound design of the zombie’s wail.  Audibly, the zombies howl and yell instead of making the  monotonous moaning sound of some other games.  I found that extremely engaging and really quite clever. The threat level in Dead Island is surprisingly high, which is exactly how a zombie game should be. You have a limited stamina bar, so you can’t run or swing your weapon forever. Med kits were few and far between, so pay attention to how you expend your energy. Sure, it might me a blast to chop that island zombie into teeny tiny bits, but you quickly learn that your stamina will go down fast. So scavenging for energy drinks and fruit and any other various power-ups become just as important. The same thing goes for weapons; they downgrade pretty quickly, so finding a workbench to keep weapons in tip-top shape is even better than finding an epic weapon to use.

As brainless as you might expect a zombie melee game like Dead Island to be, after you spend a few hours navigating the game, you’ll find that you spend time choosing and finding the best weapons, when and how to attack your enemies, what quests are worth the effort of pursuing and which ones you should leave behind. It may take a little more time, but sell those weapons you don’t need instead of dropping them.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Island. I’m interested in seeing what the DLCs have to offer. This game has a very high replay value. Also, multi-player is a must. I didn’t like the fact that you can’t split-screen as you can in L4D2, but, overall, I’m satisfied with the game as a whole. So, go out and purchase this game. 4.25 out of 5 from the Gods of Geek.


About Damiliis

Owner of many consoles. I've been gaming since 1979. I'm not a fan of fanboys. I enjoy lots of games not matter what the console. Also spend lots of time on Steam as I am slowly switching to PC gaming.

Posted on October 28, 2011, in Movie News, Video Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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