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on October 18, 2011
After reading a lot of reviews and comments on Dead Island, it sounded like a bit of a let down. A few draw backs mentioned were the crappy graphics with textures and rendering times lagging, glitches, and weak story/plot. So I rented this game from gamefly because it at least looked like a worthy rental and the game play looked fun.

That being said, I was shocked. I was surprised at how immersive the game was according to zombie apocalyptic terms and fighting them. I mean, I feel bad for the makers of this game because of how much crap they're getting for it. I'm impressed by how realistic they made every weapon feel and the movement and physics of them. They actually make you feel every step you take, every swing you make, and accurately show where the weapon actually lands on the zombie. When you swing a weapon, you don't just swing it forward and keep on hacking away at zombies. You swing it forward, and with your arm coming down, you follow up with another swing from the other side of your body, and sometimes depending on if the zombie is close or far, you will recoil with different moves. This along with stamina make this realistic to me. I mean, for a zombie game, I've never played with such realism.

In my opinion, the graphics are great. The island is huge. It's not oblivion/skyrim huge, but you have the full sense of free roam and have a ton of quests and objectives filled with zombie killing to keep you occupied.

If I can warn people who are on the fence about this game, at least get into act 2. Although I loved the game from the start, I can completely understand why many people described the game as 'slow to start' but eventually it kicks in. At first, you simply get the thrill of killing zombies in unique realistic motions with an assortment of weapons to find. Then it starts getting serious where weapon upgrades, skill upgrades, and actually close attention to your combat is required. The harder it gets, the funner it gets. It never gets old slicing a zombies head off that is running at you full speed. Some of them, if given one chance, they can beat you to death and you can't recoil to stop them. That first swing counts. So everything you do is satisfying. Whether you fight one or two zombies... or ten... you'll feel the adrenaline of killing zombies. I've never played a game like this and honestly, I feel that it deserves more attention and play than gamers are giving it.

But hey this is just my opinion. I recommend people at least rent it, and play through to at least the middle of act II. You really start to realize how big the island is, and how much fun the gameplay can be. Though I was having a blast just beating a zombie to a pulp with a paddle haha. Seriously, this game has some really amazing and impressive mechanics that the makers should be given props for. I can honestly say that this is the best zombie game I've played to date. Just give it a chance and have fun!
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VINE VOICEon September 13, 2011
DEAD ISLAND is not the game I thought it would be. Not even close. I think after the infamous teaser trailer, I pretty much got it in my head that the game would end up being a really "meaningful" zombie experience. All the themes of a really good zombie flick spread out over the canvas of an open world video game. Desperation, survival, and banding together to keep the horde at bay. A game with a great story, a lot of opportunities to explore, memorable characters. I don't know, I was really hoping for the moon.

But the opening moments of the game have you waking up from a bad night of partying and running around a zombified island resort at the behest of "The Voice," all the while collecting teddy bears, champagne, etc. All of this done for a group of quest-givers who seem to believe self-sufficiency is taboo. All the while, people are referring to you as if you were more than one person, as though the developers were outright opposed to making a game that allows for a seamless singleplayer experience. No, DEAD ISLAND is all over the place in terms of what it does well, what it is, and what it's trying to be.

Despite all of that, it does indeed do some things very well, but I'm gonna go over the bad stuff first.

Disappointingly, there's not much of a story here. In the beginning, what appears to be a struggle to escape the infected island of Banoi quickly tailspins into a convoluted mess of sidequests involving everything, from the aforementioned teddy bears to delivering supplies to arranging luggage into a giant "HELP" sign on the beachhead. There's a lot going on in this game and not a lot of it's connected to the whole escape-the-island plan. I'll be darned if your character won't be the most unfocused survivor on the island.

That's not to say that the sidequests aren't fun or interesting from time to time, but in an RPG (especially a zombie RPG) you can't help but find yourself wondering, "What would I do in this situation?" Would I make a run out to an abandoned gas station to bring back food for my fellow survivors? Probably. Would I fight off a zombie horde to reclaim a teddy bear? Probably/definitely not. It's a funny quest, and there's certainly room in this game for good humor, but there are many, many quests that seem so out of the realm of possibility that I had to stop myself a few times and question, "Why am I doing this?" Why do these quest-givers seem so indifferent about sending me out into Zombieland so many times for odd little reasons?

But then again, DEAD ISLAND is not trying to be FALLOUT or OBLIVION; unfortunately, it's trying to be BORDERLANDS. That is to say, the entire game is built around its co-op mode, to the point that all four selectable characters will pop up in all of the cutscenes regardless of who you choose to play. NPCs will constantly refer to you as though you're in a group and you may be constantly hit with notices that pop up when you're playing in the same area as someone else online. Now, I love BORDERLANDS, but it's tough to play games that generally feel less-than-whole if you don't have a buddy to play with right then and there. I would have greatly preferred the game to have a strong singleplayer element with co-op as an option.

You might also notice that if you do choose to play a solo game, DEAD ISLAND will not show you any mercy just because you don't have backup. I can't believe I'm saying this, but there were too many zombies in this game. Running around the different parts of Banoi quickly becomes a chore when different quests have you crisscrossing through veritable walls of the undead. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the zombies didn't respawn as soon as you leave the area, but as it stands, you might just fight the same group of undead several times as you sprint from quest to guest-giver and back again.

Having zombies absolutely everywhere makes exploration seem unappealing, which is very, very disappointing, since developer Techland made sure there was no shortage of places to seek out and loot. But in my case, the thought of tackling additional walls of zombies on top of what I was already dealing with in the main storyline was very off-putting. (My stats say I killed over 1000 of one type of zombie during my first, semi-rushed playthrough.) I thought that maybe once I got up there in levels, going back and poking around all the places I missed wouldn't be such a bad idea, but that was quickly shot down. I'm not sure why this is becoming a trend among most RPGs these days, but I don't find it very fun when the enemies' level scales to your own. So going back to places where you'd just fought 4th level zombies, you will now find 20th or 30th level zombies, depending on your own level.

I can absolutely understand enemies getting more difficult to kill as the story goes on, but I can't for the life of me figure out why everything else has to progress with you. So we end up with an RPG where progression and improvement amounts to just barely keeping your head above the water.

So where does that leave us? Well, taking into account the many graphical glitches and the odd quest bug you're likely to run into, I would put the game at around 3.5 stars as an objective rating. Definitely do some research and see if this co-op-centric game is what you were expecting. But personally, despite all of that, I did have a really good time, because DEAD ISLAND is a very big step in the right direction in terms of the zombie game of my dreams.

Banoi, for all its social imperfections, is an absolutely gorgeous place. Walking outside for the first time edged very close to that OBLIVION or FALLOUT moment, when the whole world (island) is in front of you, and there are so many possibilities. Everything is just so competently designed. The beach resort feels like a place you'd want to visit, the town feels lived-in, and the inland jungle is easy to get lost in (literally and figuratively). It's all very top-notch, so much so that I was hoping for a lull in the attacks so I could do some decent exploring, but that kinda gets derailed by the "Infected" class of zombie, which spawns in packs only a few yards away from you, no matter where you are.

And even though the quests can run the gamut, there were many that were well thought-out and written, and some that completely capitalized on the post-apocalyptic setting. (Who wouldn't want to ride around in a reinforced armored car or run around abandoned shops?)

DEAD ISLAND was a rollercoaster ride of post-apocalyptic wish-fulfillment, amazing visuals, and wasted potential. What could've been the OBLIVION of zombie RPGs ended up being the BORDERLANDS of zombie RPGs, where the story and gameplay all show signs of being compromised in order to make co-op the absolute focus. But even with that working against it, this game is still one of the best zombie titles out there. It's not quite the zombie game I've always wanted, but it's certainly gotten closer than anything else on the market.
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on September 6, 2011
Dead Island is essentially a zombie themed role playing game that's much more expansive than it's most mentioned compatriot, the Left 4 Dead series. Aside from the zombie link and four player on-line experience (no local co-op, unfortunately), they're very different games.

Dead Island gives you the ability to upgrade your characters through various paths of expertise that will enhance your chosen way of experiencing the game. This, of course, gives way for good replay value.

The arsenal is vast and you're able to create your own zombie slaying tools. With your weapons, you can literally tear the zombies limb from limb, which puts the gore factor over the top. It should be noted that your weapons will degrade over time, which will constantly put you on edge as you fight off the zombie hordes.

The quests are numerous and vary enough that it doesn't get tedious. In fact, they're pretty interesting.

Graphically, there's nothing that brings a new paradigm to gaming, but I don't take anything off of my view of the game for that.

Where I take issue is twofold. The controls are pretty clunky and are difficult to get used to. Given all of the examples out there of what works, there's just no excuse for poor button mapping.

The other issue is with the story. Do I need a good story for a zombie game? Well, no, but if you're going to give me a role playing game the story ought to be engaging and well thought out. I should feel as close to the person(s) trying escape this zombie hell as possible, but Dead Island just doesn't do that very well.

In the end, Dead Island is a solid zombie based RPG that's worth of your collection so long as you can get over some small issues. If anything, they've got a good basis for a solid series if enough people give them the support they deserve.

Thanks for reading!
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on October 31, 2011
Ok so I am not going to try to write some big fancy review here, and I normally don't write reviews, but this game has gotten such mixed reviews that I wanted to put in my 2 cents on it.

Let me start off by saying that I was really on the fence with this game, I had seen a couple trailers and read enough about it to peak my interest but I was mostly just going to wait on the reviews before I made up my mind. Lo and behold the reviews were inconclusive. So I didn't go into this with any "high expectations". Here are my thoughts so far (I'm into Act II at this point):

Is the game fun? What is more important than that? The answer is yes, it is fun. Why? I like leveling up, I like hunting for loot, I like some inventory management, I like killing zombies, and I like big, open environments where I am free to explore. I also like co-op, however, I have been playing solo only so far, so this is purely a single player experience perspective. It has kept me interested, and I can blow through hours of game play effortlessly. This is a good sign, when a game can suck me in, it has value.

There are many similarities in this game to some other often mentioned big titles, but it is also completely unique. Some of the special infected mirror some I've seen in Left 4 Dead, namely the boomer and the charger, but the Dead Island iterations are also VERY different. Dead Island shares some similarity to Borderlands in the loot system, with boxes and areas respawning loot when you leave and return to an area, but like the special infected example, it also feels very different than Borderlands looting. If you've played Left for Dead 1 and 2, and Borderlands, like I have, I don't think that you need to be concerned about feeling like it's just the same ole thing with a fresh coat of paint. It is not. And for those mentioning really doesn't have anything in common with Fallout.

So enough of that, moving on. How does the game play/feel? Well, the answer is, it feels pretty good! Perfect? No. But I will save my criticisms until the end. This game really focuses on Melee combat, I never fired a gun until Act II, it simply wasn't practical. So far, I've only used guns on other humans (bandits), because they were shooting at me and headshots are really useful...the undead just don't take as much damage from the pistol I was using. Now I do have a shotgun but I haven't used it ammo. But the melee weapons are so much more interesting than guns anyway! Electric charged machete? Flaming baseball bat? Coat Hanger!? Slicing limbs and heads off of zombies? Yes please! (If you cut off both arms they will still bite!) I digress, so, in Left 4 Dead it was all about surviving the next horde. Not so in Dead Island, the number of enemies is nowhere near as concentrated, but all the more deadly. In Act I not much will kill you, but when you get to Act II, stuff gets a whole lot more deadly (and numerous). If you get overwhelmed by zombies, you are going to get really hurt, if not killed. It can get pretty frantic at times. Man, I want to go play now.

Real quick on the quests, there's plenty of them, but not too much, just right I'd say. Although some of the "continuous" quests are nothing special, bring this NPC water or food for example, they are not meant to be. That's just free xp and money if you get the stuff while you're out doing other things. Most of the side quests are varied and at least force you to explore different areas of the map. I have no complaints about the quests.

Alright, I think we've established that it's fun. I'm going to try to address some complaints and problem areas now. Note, I did rate this 4 stars all around, I will try to explain why. First off, some have complained about the controls/button mapping. I personally have no issues with either. When I first loaded in the game, it seemed a bit too fast on the handling. A quick stop in options to turn down sensitivity a touch and I was good to go. So controls really aren't an issue. Now for some of the finer points, inventory/menus could use improvement. I just wish I had a button to go straight to my full inventory menu (there is a map and skills button, but only a quick inventory button), a minor complaint. Inventory item stacking isn't perfect, I think another reviewer mentioned this, say you have 11 bottles of alcohol (10 per stack), you give an NPC 5 bottles for a quest, the one bottle by itself is still taking up a spot (doesn't auto sort back into the bigger stack). Have to drop it, and pick it back up. Not a big deal really, but should be fixed.

Voiceovers...ehhh, some are pretty good, some are pretty bad, it's a mixed bag. There are some issues with script being generic, such as NPCs referring to me as part of a group (as if I was playing with the other characters) or sometimes being gender specific (he, guy, etc.) while playing a female character. And I find the character comments while occasionally looting containers to be annoying sometimes, "what's in here?", "guess it doesn't hurt to look", etc. Again, a minor complaint.

I felt that some of the game "functions" were not explained that well in the earlier stages of the game, there was a lack of much tutorial I guess, it kind of just throws you in head first. I spent the first 30 minutes or so feeling a bit lost, but I picked up on everything I needed to know pretty quickly. Note: there is no save option, just auto checkpoints, if you quit out in the middle of a quest, the quest will reset. The checkpoints only save your inventory and such mid-swing. Unless you just started gaming yesterday, these issues shouldn't be a deterrent.

I'm really trying hard to think of any other issues or complaints I would have for the game so far...there was one occasion where I apparently rescued a NPC trapped by zombies, and I heard him talk to me, but never saw him. There was a trophy icon on the map like I should get a reward from him but no NPC to be found. I later saw him again in ACT II, where he told me thanks for saving him. This really wasn't a big deal. I had one issue with a weapon disappearing, I threw a weapon at an exploding special infected, and the body flew away to never-never land, leaving no trace of a corpse to loot or the weapon I had throw at it. As this was my best weapon, I quickly turned off my xbox and reloaded. I didn't lose much progress; it was worth it to save my weapon. That has only happened once out of the many of those that I have killed by the same method. So again, I would rate that as a minor bug.

Some people complained about respawning zombies making it hard to move around. This is only partially true. Some areas do not respawn. And most of the time you can just blow past the respawned zombies unless you want to fight them. You can drive around most places in a truck, or just straight up sprint past everything, not to mention fast travel stations to key points to make it easier to get around. This is a non-issue in my book.

That's it, I've tried to think of everything wrong with the game that I can. Each issue I've pointed out it mostly minor, but simply due to number of minor issues I have, I can't honestly give the game 5 stars. But this is a solid 4 star game in my opinion.

As far as the story goes, eh, who cares? People are trying to survive, duh? There's more story than Left 4 Dead had to offer by a long shot.

Ending case - was this game worth $60? Ehh, I would have had buyer's remorse if I had paid full price. Is the game worth $40? I would say yes, it is, I would have felt like I got my money's worth. I got the game for $20 (yay for pre-order game credits), so I definitely feel like I got a bargain.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find this review helpful in making the decision. Happy Hunting!
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on March 29, 2012
In many zombie films people try to escape to an island to escape the walking dead. Here, the dead are all over the island itself and now the goal is to escape the island itself. A unique concept. The game is excruciatining violent, bloody, gory, terrifying and tiring all at the same time. It can be quite exhausitng literally. The controls are quite simple and easy to use, except for when one drives a vehicle. Then it gets very annoying. In fact, you can actually get a vehicle stuck on a guardrail quite easily. I got so frustrated when I immobilized two cars that rather then start the mission over again, I simply hoofed it on foot.
Not my best idea, it was a harrowing journey, but I actually succeeded. And using energy drinks to restore health (they actually provide more healing than medkits!) was a real hoot. Some missions are easier than others and I highly recommend taking them on one at a time to avoid confusion. I'm far from done with this game. I don't care for the breakage point for weapons, especially metal objects like pipes and crowbars, they should last forever. I also recommend using your map to strategize your next move. Trust me it works very well. All in all a terrifyingly good game.
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on October 9, 2011
I will start off by saying I bought this about right when it came out, and I truly enjoy it. I played single player for a time, then decided to rent a second copy so me and my wife could play together, needless to say it is a blast.

The Good
-Killing zombies is a very gratifying experience, they made combat uber-fun.
-The world is open, and give's you a lot of places to explore, which is a plus for me.
-The RPG elements in the game drive you to continue gutting and chopping off the limbs of zombies just to get that next perk.

The Bad
-While the story has been given points for being to lame for most, I find that a zombie game doesn't always need to have an amazing story, and Dead island delivers
enough stimulation to look past it.
-Giant zombies that knock you around repeatedly piss me off.

Over-all this is an amazing game in which I haven't completely beaten yet, but I look forward to hopping in the game once more and slay me another horde of rotten-angry zombies. I recommend this game as a total buy, but if you wan't to play with some buddies, it'd be best to get two copies and two tv's for the fun to really kick in.
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on September 12, 2011
This is my honest opinion on how I feel about this Dead Island and is based off my experiences while playing it. With that said, I have clocked in around +20 hours of gameplay doing side quests, exploring, and advancing the plot. I'll break this up into respectable categories and talk about some key issues and experiences I have had. Most of my review will be mentioning how the Single Player fares.

Being a zombie game, I don't expect too much on story. Since most zombie games/movies are very badly acted, written, or directed. At least the one's I've seen. Nevertheless, Dead Island's story is summarized with you, one of four characters to choose from, are at a resort on an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea for your own reasons. You come to realize that a virus outbreak has occurred in the hotel you are staying at and you find that everyone is dead. You escape through a turn of events and find survivors. You also realize that you are the only one that is immune to this virus. You now try to survive and do your best to escape by helping others.
Dead Island's plot develops more and more as you play at strange pace. Cutscenes feel out of place at times with no adequate transition to how our heroes got to their destination. Acting within each cutscene feels forced and is unappealing because of that. This leads me to believe it was on purpose and was meant to be campy. If this is true, then it is a fun experience. Otherwise, it is as bad as any other zombie game/movie. Dead Island is divided into 18 chapters and 4 acts. Additionally, there are 4 main areas: the Resort, Town, Jungle, and Prison. Some of the chapters can be considerably longer or shorter than others. Of course this depends on how much you do in each chapter (ie side quest, collection quest, etc.).
Basically, the story just feels almost out of place, or feels forced, and unrefined.

There are mixtures of gameplay mechanics from other games such as: Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Borderlands, Condemned and Far Cry 2 to name a few. Primarily, Dead Island is a melee/close combat game similar to the Condemned games. There is a wide array of weapons but a few select types: Firearms, Blunt, Sharp, and Throwable. Note that all Blunt and Sharp weapons can be thrown. Throwable weapons include Molotov cocktails, Grenades, and those of similar functions. Blunt and Sharp weapons are as they sound. From Baseball bats to Tonfas, from Knives to Katanas. These will be your main weapons throughout the majority of the game. Swinging, running and jumping all consume a stamina bar. Which will recharge over time. This can be upgraded from leveling up. You can also kick zombies out of the way or to stop them from charging you without using stamina (with the exception of the jump kick which takes a good chunk of stamina). Firearms are Pistols, Assault Rifles, and Shotguns of different models and calibers. Although, it's not as wide of a variety as the melee weapons but I guess a resort island wouldn't have an arsenal ready for a zombie apocalypse.
All weapons degrade in its condition as it is being used (except for Firearms). This can be upgraded through a workbench, where you can also create and repair weapons, that are scattered throughout the play areas. You can also obtain bonuses through leveling up. For example, Xian Mei has an ability to boost the condition of Sharp weapons up to 30% more. At first, conditions of weapons are low, but after upgrading and having the bonuses, they last considerably longer. Weapons are ranked by rarity indicated by color, like Borderlands, with white, green, blue, purple and orange. Orange is the most rare. Although, I have found that purple weapons having better stats than orange weapons. Also like Borderlands, Each character has their specialities. One excels at throwing, being a balanced character. One excels in Firearms, the support character. One excels in Sharp weapons, playing the assassin role. Finally the last character is excels in Blunt weapons, playing the role as the tank. Everyone can use all the weapons, as long as they the right level. So there are no restrictions. Movements are stiff while moving the camera and aiming, but after getting used to it and messing with the look sensitivity, it becomes more tolerable. Yet, it is still an issue when in a big fight. 'One other thing like Borderlands, is when you die, it isn't game over. You only lose a percentage of your money (around 10%) and you respawn somewhere close to where you died. I have respawn both in safe areas and in the middle of zombies.
Zombies also respawn after a while. if you move out of a particular area then come back, usually zombies will spawn right back. Disregarding both destroying the brain or burning techniques for getting rid of zombies. The two rules that every zombie slayer should know. This can become cumbersome during grab and fetch quests. You can always run by them as long as they don't run after you. There are also special infected, just like in Left 4 Dead, all with their strengths and weaknesses.
Inventory management is full of bugs.There are also other bugs not limited to the inventory and I hope they are fixed in a future update. One glitch is having 10 Medkits in two separate slots in the inventory menu. For example, you could have 8 in one slot and 2 in another slot. This takes up your very limited inventory pack. To fix this you would have to drop the 2 medkits then pick them up. But you are going to have to hope that they do not fall through the ground (another glitch). I'll mention other glitch: sometimes zombies can go through walls. In particular, the ones that run. This is very inconvenient and frustrating because these surprise attacks are unfair. Despite that surprise attacks are supposed to be a surprise, in this game, they get very predictable when a zombie is just around the corner while indoors (hint: There is always a zombie around a corner). These cheap scares just become mundane and a chore.
Essentially, prepare to do tedious quests and careful maintenance to your weapons constantly while you play.

On a side note, I will say that I feel extremely defenseless when I cannot block enemy attacks and that I am forced to only dodge oncoming attacks. I feel that if you were able to, it would have prevented some unnecessary deaths.

The visuals are not that exciting when looked at closely, but are certainly beautiful when looked at from afar. Character models and faces look ugly because of unrefined, blocky textures. I would expect this from a launch title or something released in 2006. I guess this is from budget cuts and re-doing parts of the game. Additionally, there is lots of texture pop in which removes any immersion to the "realistic" experience. The character models suffer from what I call "literal syndrome." This is were the model takes the same action as it does in first person when looked at in third person. If you have seen the third person Mirror's Edge video, it's kind of like that. If you haven't, it basically makes your character look like an orangutan. To make the game more "realistic" they would make two separate animations for a third person model and the first person model, but I guess that was too much work or they ran out of time.'If this is no big deal to you then, graphics are simply nice.

There is little music during battle, but it arises on occasion during firefights and heated moments. During cutscenes, musical scores attempt to drive moods of sadness or turmoil and leaves me thinking if deliberately exaggerated to serve the campy theme. That intention is yet to be seen. Voice acting spikes in volume from low to high during cutscenes. The sound is tolerable and decent.

Dead Island has the reputation of "realism" or "realistic gameplay." To me, this is amusing because such thoughts or ideas shouldn't be used in video games. There can only be additions of making it more "real" but can't absolutely become "realistic." With that said, I can say Dead Island certainly tried to be "real" but falls flat because of poor acting, graphical issues, and stiff controls. Despite that, it doesn't mean that the game isn't all bad. Killing zombies has always been fun; more so with friends. For the best experience, try to get 3 (or at least 1) of your friends and play co-op for a while. This game is made for co-op. So use it for what is it for to get the most fun out of it. Another note on co-op is that it is NOT split screen co-op. You must play through the interent. Perhaps even system link.

In my honest opinion, if I had another chance, I would have waited for a discount of at least $10. Because I do no think it's worth full price. Do to all the bugs and errors I've faced. I do want a real good zombie game to be made, Left 4 Dead has come close, but I like what Dead Island has been doing. The developers just need to refine what they have done here.

Nevertheless, you should rent Dead Island at the very least to see if you'll like it.

Thank you for your time.
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on December 12, 2012
I know I'll get heat for this but I just didn't like this game. It never felt right the whole time I played it. Kinda clunky and awkward is a good way to explain it. The idea and story itself are good, but the gameplay I felt fell far short of being great. I'll probably give the next game a try and hopefully they address some of the issues with this one.

Graphics were ok, I wasn't overly impressed with them nor did I think they were awful.

Gameplay sucked as far as I'm concerned. Everything from driving a car to opening something up felt weird and off.

Multiplayer campaign was a nice addition but with the gameplay as it was I never got into it.

If you have not played this I'd skip it unless it is 10 bucks or less.
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on December 13, 2011
For me this is the first game to really get what a zombie game should be right. I've been a fan of the zombie sub-genre of horror ever since I saw George Romero's original "Dawn of the Dead" in the theaters. You can see nods to classic zombie movies throughout the game from Romero's films to Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" (A zombie infested island), to "28 Days Later" (The Infected) and even "The Walking Dead" (Walkers). This game really makes me feel like I'm in one of my favorite zombie films. The first game to really do that for me.

The game is an open world RPG lite. Not a lot of depth RPG wise but is perfect for action gamers that want a little more depth than a straight action title. It focuses on melee combat from a first person perspective. Very similar to the "Condemned" series of games. It fits this game perfectly and is well implemented. I like the diverse locals. The tropical island paradise, the slum town of Moresby that remind me of RE5 , the jungle and even a prison. When I had finished the game I had logged 64 hours of gameplay and was ready to play some more.

I had more fun with this game than any other this year and I have yet to try co-op. I played the whole campaign single player. Bottom line, if you are a zombie connoisseur like myself I think you'll like this game.
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on March 13, 2012
Dead Island is a game. Dead Island is a game with Zombies in it. Dead Island is a game with Zombies in it, and some pretty big flaws to its design.

See how daunting it might have been to read the above? Thats how the game felt to me by the end of my month with this game. I just kind of wanted it to end.

Dead Island at its core concept is a very fun game, Kill zombies in first person, without a large focus on shooting or being a mega-soldier. Your a washed up hack/or a treaded on every-(wo)man, who's on this resort island for one reason or another when a sudden zombie outbreak happens. You wake up finding your slightly special in that your immune to the virus (a fact that really doesn't get explained) and your then (rather annoyingly it turns out) pressured by the rest of the non-special survivors to go out and do their odd jobs while they eat all the rations you bring them and complain that your not doing their tasks fast enough. Honestly, when you analyze it enough, it's probably the closest thing to what a real zombie outbreak would feel like: You just want it to end.

The part that makes the game daunting isn't that it's basically a post-outbreak version of your real life, day to day, rat-race of a life, because the mass Zombie massacring you'll do breaks that up enough to keep it from becoming to much; its more-so because the the tasks are literally the same thing over and over again, like 'Groundhogs Day'.. And generally, no matter what weapons your using, so is the zombie killing you'll do to break those tasks up.

Even when the game changes locations on you, your still doing the same 3 or 4 things, just in a different setting.. It gets dull, and the fact that the games ending is highly unsatisfying, and doesn't clear up a damn thing (or really helps anyone but you, making most of your tasks in the game completely worthless in the grand-scheme of things) doesn't help the case one bit.

The games graphics are pretty great. I'll have to admit that more then once I was stunned at how beautiful the island resort section of the game was.. But as you get deeper in, past the resorts, you start to realize how many resources begin to get reused and ultimately how rushed the environments become. I recommend not stopping to smell the roses later on in the game if stuff like that bothers you.

One very glaring graphical issue however, bigger then just reused resources, is the way graphics like to pop in and out, specially as an area is loading in (usually after loading the game up). It doesn't get in the way of the game except for the fact that there will be times where your waiting for the game to catch up to you. Given the rather lengthy time I felt I spent sitting, waiting, for the load screens to get the game rolling, I don't really feel like we should have been asked to wait again for the graphics to catch up after we're plopped (yeah, plopped, the game likes to act like you and everything else is simply being dropped into the world somehow) into the game.

The gameplay itself is fine enough. Sure, you'll swing wildly sometimes and not connect with a zombie rushing at your sweet giblety face, and doing so wastes quite a bit of stamina, and having no stamina could mean dire consequences, but like I said above: Your not the Ubermensch, you shouldn't be able to just keep going and going without being killed, no matter how much fun it'd be. No limitations at all would rob us of the terror and dread the game really can instill in us, and that's were a lot of the actual fun comes from here.

The sound.. is a bit loud. Usually for gaming I have my Samsung TV set to 10, this game I had to set it to 7, which is low for pretty much everything else. Thats, of course, without messing with any settings. But really, the sound is necessary for hearing Zombies coming, and many times you'll just plain not hear them for some reason. I called these Zombies "Sneaky Pete", they're not a real type of zombie, though they mine as well be a special one with stealth moves like that. But usually you'll need the sound to hear out the bigger, badder, zombies in the game, who all have a unique battle cry you can hear from a distance. Sounds, specially the background music, gets repetitive fast, but like I said, without it you'll probably be jumped for your fore mentioned giblets.

The story is decent enough, if a bit rushed and without substance. Theres no real telling how many days it's been since the outbreak (you'll see it start in the pre-game video), and there's no real telling how many days its really been by the end of your trip through it.. I guess its been about a week total, but smarter minds may prevail on that. All I know is the time frame of the game kept springing into the mind, and I couldn't ever grasp the answer -which disconnected me a bit from the experience.

From there its all a matter of helping those thankless people I mentioned, then hopping to a new place and helping some more.. rinse and repeat till your off the island somehow with very little actual information on what the ever living hell just transpired. I can deal without having much of an idea why, it opens things up for more games sometimes when we aren't given the whole idea of the why's, but what we just went through in an entire game? We should have some sense in how we managed to get to that end without it coming off like a bunch of chores to do till mommy puts the plot to bed without desert.

One thing that I have to say I absolutely loathed.. seriously, dead-set, hated with all my being.. Is the games saving system. The game performs auto-saves and these can be forced by taking and handing in quests, but not really any other way. So the saving may come frequently, I even once had 3 saves in quick succession, or it might not happen for a hour. Its VERY annoying hoping for a save cycle to pop when your just wanting to be done playing for the night. I know someone will add that you can force it by quitting the game completely (hitting start, then hitting Y to go to the main menus) but I had at least 1 ridiculously stupid instance where I lost a big chunk of my progress because I assumed this, only to come back the next night without a few levels. Maybe that was a bug itself, but its hard to say.. All I know is I hated the hands-off approach to dealing with saves.

Guess I should also warn you all that the extra challenges in the game (like Kill 200 zombies, things like that) that net you tons of XP (as in I finished one without realizing it at level 16 and it jumped me to 21) can only be done once on your profile, and don't reset when you start a new character (unless --I think-- you delete/remove your save data completely). So if you happen not to like your first character and wanted to change out to another (like I did), your probably going to miss out on a lot of XP that could help you out if you finished a few challenges on that first one.

Overall, its a fun game, specially at the beginning when its all fresh and new to you. And it certainly it shouldn't be avoided if you like Zombie or Horror games; Theres quite a bit of terror/dread to be had here. But if your really on the fence now, and don't like what I've said, there's a chance you may want to wait till it goes down in price just a tiny bit more, just so you don't feel overwhelmed or robbed.
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