A holiday from hell!
Some reviewers have said Dead Island is like Fallout with zombies and I can see why but it’s not a comparison I’d use myself. Considering it’s best played in co-op with 3 other players it reminds me more of a cross between Borderlands and Left 4 Dead but with a strong emphasis on melee combat. It’s a role-playing game with a world that’s full of quests and a levelling up system that will keep you coming back for more yet the story is weak and the characters uninteresting, which to me makes it a far cry from the engrossing single player experience of the Fallout series. Beyond the comparisons and negativity Dead Island is loads of fun and for those of you that love decapitating zombies with a huge selection of melee weaponry, this is one game that is essential to your collection.
The game is set on a fictional island called Banoi based in Papua New Guinea and you will begin the game waking up in a hotel disorientated from a hangover only to find your tropical paradise has turned into a tropical nightmare. After choosing one of four characters, a sharp, blunt, throwing or ranged weapons expert you will begin your journey fighting through hordes of zombies to find out what happened and what can be done about it.
Melee combat is satisfying and works well with zombie limbs flying off and blood spurting everywhere as you slice your way through the undead. There’s a huge amount of weaponry to pick up although the best weapons are usually found in crates or bought from dealers in one of the various hubs found throughout the island. These can be upgraded via tool benches as well as augmented with fire, electricity or poison to make for some more interesting methods of dispatching the rotting enemies you’ll come to face.
The various types of zombie will be recognisable to anyone that’s played Left 4 Dead although not as varied with ones that will charge you, one that will explode once defeated covering you in zombie bile and ones that will spit corrosive slime at you from a distance. I would of liked to see some more varied types of zombie but there’s still enough here to keep things interesting and I’m probably just being greedy. You will also face human enemies with guns though I found the firearms combat to be a little boring and preferred trying to take them out by rushing them with melee weapons. Death doesn’t really mean much either since you re-spawn fairly close to where you were killed and any zombies health is still the same as when you died and while it’s not a game breaker it does take away some of the tension and makes you less bothered about dying.
The graphics are good but nothing spectacular with a nice mixture of bright sunshine, blood filled swimming pools and bloodstained everything with luggage strewn everywhere giving the impression of something terrible happening in the supposed holiday makers paradise. There’s some texture pop in and minor graphical glitches but it’s hard to find any big 3d game without these issues to some extent. The cut scenes are completely forgettable as are the characters and storyline but the same can be said of any zombie story.
As I said earlier the game is best played with others online, this works well and will only put you in with players around the same level as you. The game is loads of fun when your with three other players on your level as you plough down zombies in the pick up truck whilst your team takes out any stragglers. The sound of the zombies blood gurgling as they chase you is done well and the various weapons slicing or hitting sounds giving a good swish or thump are solid. The voice acting is poor and overall I’d say the sound effects are average at best.
This is a fun game with plenty to do and a vast amount of customization it’s fantastic to play in co-op but playing on your own you may get a little bored with the weak storyline and slightly repetitive gameplay. That being said if you love zombies, dismemberment and plenty of gore you can still have loads of fun on Dead Island on your own.