Review: Dead Island

When a zombie outbreak happens, you feel like you are on an island even in the middle of the main land. The only difference is that instead of freezing rough waters of the ocean surrounding you, you have a sea of mindless hungry cannibals. So how would it feel if you were stacked up against both obstacles? Of course, this just has to happen in the middle of a decadent holiday trip. Dead Island from Techland and Deep Silver is here to show you just what might happen if that did occur.

Without further delay, let me take you into the zombie paradise that is Dead Island in this new Aggroreview.

Story

The story varies slightly based on which of the four characters you begin the story with, but mainly in the who and why they are on the island. What doesn't diverge much is the general zombie story line - an outbreak occurs and the four main characters are immune to becoming zombies. Because of this "blessing," all of the non-super-cool vacationers/employees/island-goers make you their bitch to help them get off the island alive. Throughout your adventures, you'll see the good and bad in humanity when "Armageddon" is upon them.

Hated

First and foremost, I'd have to say that the Analog attack configuration has to be one of the things that stands out the most. It seems like a good idea in theory - would it have been utilized with Kinect/Move/Motion controls. As is, they are sluggish and hardly register for anyone that has a quick thumb. If you are reading this, you most likely will have thumb movements too quick for the game to register with 100% accuracy. Granted you can turn it off from the start, but the thing that gets me the most is that it seemed like they wanted to employ motion controls, but instead just said fuck it and migrated it to the right analog stick. If I am wrong, then it was just a poor design to use this scheme simply add extra difficulty to the game.

Speaking of poor controls, I really wish I knew who drives a car like they have implemented here. I felt like one of those nervous first time drivers who keep hitting the gas and then the brake over and over. It just did not seem fluid enough to feel natural. This is funny as they did seem to take particular care to make the first-person view through the windshield seem almost real. While I can get behind that most people do have blind spots (as are apparent in the presentation), but most do not drive like a 16 year old girl going down their own street with their dad in the passenger seat.

During my review, there was a patch that was released into the game - something you would think would fix some of the issues. At first glance, the patch seemed to fix some of the minor issues, but it also seemed to COMPLETELY WIPE OUT ALL OF MY PROGRESS for challenges and trophies. Trophies you already know, but challenges are in-game long term goals that give you an XP boost. Some of these challenges require a vast effort that can only be accomplished if being worked on from the beginning of the game through the end. One example in particular was to collect every collectible item on the island. Seeing as you can't go back and pick up something you already have, you can't get those back into the total count since it has been reset. Hopefully all of their updates don't do this.

Moving on, some of the people on the island just deserve to die and you can't seem to let that happen. I'm sorry, but if I run into an ass-hat, who thinks it's perfectly acceptable to cheat on his wife, degrade her and pretty much leave her to the zombies, I want to stab him in the eye. A slight problem I have is that he seems to be immune to my knives. Then you have the people who can't feed or water themselves. After getting food/water once or twice they should stop bitching about not having anything. I get that these are re-occurring missions to pad the wallet and XP, but I stop caring about them when I've given them a truck load of food and 80 gallons of water and they are still complaining of emaciation/dehydration. Change it up.

Lastly, I played the multiplayer while at E3. It was spectacular and responsive. Granted it was LAN, but it worked extremely well. What the fuck happened to the online co-op then? I have yet to be able to connect with a friend or random to do some zombie killing and I've been playing since day one. Seeing as it is not a console specific issue, I can't blame anything but poor implementation for online support. Hopefully, when they solve the issue of the missing data with updates, they will solidify this part of the game as well. I want to play multiplayer on this, which is rare for me, and I can't.

Loved

While there were a handful of things I could not stand with Dead Island, there were quite a few things I did love. Like for instance, the fact that not everyone and their mother (PC and NPC) is an expert marksman or ninja warrior. In fact, guns are scarce as is ammo - as would be expected on a resort island. If this was in the middle of redneck country or Detroit, I'd say let there be guns everywhere, but there aren't and you are forced to use melee weapons or bare hands to defend yourself. Something that would most likely end up being the case in a real world zompocolypse.

I also loved the fact that a lot of the NPCs in the game reverted into a "What are you going to do for me?" mentality. Essentially survival mode at its highest. That and it almost always kicked in when there was no other option but to help out or do something for the other person. One mission required me to find a fallen officer because his partner physically wouldn't let me go by until I found him. Thus the officer using my immunity to his advantage while being able to force me. I know I'd do the same thing if I was in the situation.

One of the other things that comes to mind is that it is similar to Dead Rising - only its humor isn't as retarded nor are you on a specific time table. It is like they took all of the good aspects of DR and put it into Dead Island. I like the variety of crazy weapons that could for the most part exist in reality and the open world with unique characters and places - not to mention that you can actually interact with most of the world and there are no invisible walls stopping you from doing so. There is always a reason in the world as to why you can't go somewhere.

It is going to sound a little stupid, but I also really enjoyed the weapon degradation - even though some of it didn't make sense. It isn't even for the realism factor that I like this. It adds that extra bit of suspense into the game as you need to make sure your weapons are fully up to par or need to swap to make sure you are not going to be easily swarmed and killed. Nothing more horrifying in the game, for me, then to see six Sprinters coming and realizing that my Ripper is down to half degradation and all I have left is a set of Brass Knuckles. No more swinging for the sake of swinging.

Finally, although I have yet to play it online, the real time difficulty change implemented. The more players active, the more zombies roaming and shambling. Effectively when playing as a team you are forced to work as a team. Most multiplayer/co-op doesn't fully enforce this. This usually turns into one player solo-ing the game while the others work together. In DI if you try that, your solo player still has to face upward of four times the zombies just because there are other players active. In a zompocalypse, survivors need to work together and this addition enforces it without breaking the game.

Overall

Okay, so this has been a roller coaster of a review, but in the end should you pick up Dead Island? I'll leave it down to this for you. Did you enjoy Dead Rising? Then 100% yes. Dead Island has worlds more replay-ability than DR. Enough to the point that if you are playing solo you'll want to play at least four times from each perspective of the outbreak. That isn't even going into the whole Multiplayer and Co-Op aspect that will hopefully be locked down here soon.

If you are afraid of losing all of the data like I mentioned before, I wouldn't anymore. I am sure that with all of the complaining going on from the day one people, Techland and Deep Silver won't make the mistake of wiping out all of the data again. I'm sure they will get things in order so that Dead Island will grow to be like Left4Dead with a better story.

I can see full value in this game once all of the minor issues are fixed. Unlike a lot of other titles that have come out lately, I would not feel bad saying you should drop $50-$60 on this game or at least a week rental from which ever service of your choice.

Dead Island was developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver on September 6th 2001 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. A review copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Who do your voodoo bitch?