If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Dead Island is an open world, post Zombie outbreak, skull bashing vacation in the beautiful island resort known as Banoi. It starts off with a cut scene right when you start the game up. I recommend watching it as it introduces all four playable characters briefly and provides some possible foreshadowing. You watch as the four protagonists enjoy their evenings in various ways while listening to a neat song.
I must admit that I haven’t proceeded incredibly far into the plot but let me explain the reasons why, of which there are two. One is that the side missions are not only fun but also numerous. Second is that in order to deal with some undead problems that arise I found myself simply having fun grinding by just smashing anything without a pulse in the head with a crowbar.
Gotta love Sam B
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the weapons. If another four player co-op zombie killfest video game that we all know doesn’t suit you this one might. In Left 4 Dead you get bombs, guns and ammo aplenty. Why shouldn’t you? It takes place in America after all, land of the NRA and people shouting every time someone even thinks about infringing upon that right. But this is not the USA, this is an island nation located somewhere near Papua New Guinea. They don’t have a never-ending supply of ammo and firearms, so you have to improvise. The name of the game is grab whatever you can and swing for dear life. The weapons you find have varying rarity and stats. Most weapons you find are melee and break after prolonged use. The firearms you do find should be used as little as possible because ammo is rare. If you find a weapon that you particularly enjoy you can pay to have it repaired. Also the game features many zombie-killing created weapons that you can build after obtaining the schematic and going to a work bench, much like Dead Rising 2.
Leveling up works much like the game Borderlands. You have three trees you work your way down but instead of class types they offer you an evolution tree for weapons, your action skill (works much like Borderlands action skill), and survival. Each character has a unique set of leveling trees . The four protagonists play similarly but they also all feel like different people as you play. A great aspect of the game is the ability to throw weapons. Not just grenades, IED’s or molotovs, but any weapon you’re holding. You can throw them at an enemy and recover them after the fight. So let’s say you have a knife that is almost deteriorated to the point of destruction. Simply toss it at the offending ghoul and pull out your next weapon. This tactic usually buys you a few seconds to either run or retreat to a more tactically sound location. Another fun thing to do is to kick a charging undead in the chest, knock them over, and then brain them with a heavy pipe or other blunt object. As you play you will undoubtedly get hurt. This game spreads health (in the form of food) out evenly and well across the map. Not too much so you never feel threatened but also not too little that you fear fighting.
No there are no child zombies.
The game plays very well if not a bit … wonky. This game suffers from a development choice I have noticed in recent years. It blurs your vision when you turn and the controls are a bit mushy and loose. While this makes your characters movement a bit more realistic, I prefer crisp and precise controls. Not really a complaint, just a personal preference.
The people you talk to and get missions from is where the game’s greatest flaw is. A lot of characters are either looking away from you with this weird thousand-yard stare or are looking right at you with almost no facial animation whatsoever so they just kinda look pissed at you. It’s off putting because they will be thanking you and sounding happy but their face says they want to bury you in a ditch. It’s a major disconnect for me. Usually I find myself skipping over the conversation and simply looking at the quest brief in the menu to see what I need to do. Sometimes the people who I’m helping look more like zombies than the actual zeds. Iffy voice acting at points also causes a disconnect for me. I find myself talking to these characters, and where this should be about the pain and misery the survivors of this horrific event are going through, all I really want to do is smash the next zeds skull.
You should probably run. Woman, huh?
All and all, good game, worth buying it sooner rather than later.
For not making me care about my fellow humans and muddy controls I give this:
4 out of 5: better than most games out there but not quite perfect.
Written by: Kevin Mason (AKA LempiElinika)
Edited by: Sarah Lawhorne