So last week I picked up Dead Island which was not an easy feat for those of use too lazy to pre-order in NJ (took me 2 days to find one). I’ve been playing for a while now and I have to say it is one of the best action RPG’s I have ever had the chance to play.I am sure somewhere in the game there is a great central story. But who cares. The game is like this: You fall asleep at a resort on an island. You wake up, and you’re in the zombie apocalypse. As you travel from place to place on the island you have tons of people to help, all the while hacking, slashing, shooting and beating your way through about a million undead cannibals in various forms. Frankly, that’s enough plot for me.
Now onto gameplay. You pick one of 4 players to run with. One excels with throwing things, one excels with guns, one with stabbing weapons, and one with blunt weapons. Each character levels throughout the game which gives you the opportunity to customize your character a bit. For example my character is the blunt weapons expert. He is really good at beating the crap out of zombies but I haven’t gotten to far into his special weapon tree yet. While on the island you are treated to a huge variety of weapons that are customizable, and have durability so the game becomes harder when you can’t just walk around slaughtering people with one really good axe. The game does a really fantastic job of pacing the difficulty of the game. You never feel totally lost, nor 100% unprepared for something, but at the same time if you don’t repair your weapons fast, you are going to be in trouble soon. I also love how hard the game tries to pull you into it. After a while you feel less like you’re beating a game and more like you’re just surviving it. You quickly go from “I’m going to beat every single zombie to death!” to “Man I just have to run through here and hope I don’t get caught.” The absolute best part of the game is being able to join up with friends at any given time. The game will tell you when people your level are near you so you can team up. I have yet to find a game that makes multiplayer campaigning so enjoyable.
The game doesn’t come without its problems though. My first complaint is the driving. It is really horrible. Moving the camera around inside the car takes forever, 2/3 of the time you never know where you’re going. I totally understand they were trying to make it “realistic” but driving in this game screams for 3rd person cameras. I also didn’t like some of the weapon customization. Don’t get me wrong the first time you put nails into a baseball bat it is really awesome, but you can take an axe, some duct tape and batteries, and somehow make an axe/taser that can shock zombies to death. My other fav is a bat plus some rags and lighter fluid equals a torch that I can keep lit in my bag at all times and it never goes out. For a game that worked so hard to make a realistic, terrifying zombie experience, these weapons just seem a bit out of place. You can also lump some of the special attacks in there as well. It is fun to be able to throw down my weapon,put on some brass knuckles and punch enemies for 2000 damage, but again how is that realistic? I also have an issue with the cut scenes in the game. One minute you’re by yourself in the fight of your life by yourself, then a cutscene happens where I can see all 4 characters. That’s just lazy on the game designers. Yes the game is very similar to Borderlands. There are times when I would see the numbers flying off of zombies that are on fire and I would laugh at how blatant a rip off it is, but that’s not a bad thing. I loved Borderlands too minus the cell shaded graphics .
Overall if you have 4 players that want to play too this is a must get game. If you’re by yourself in the gaming world, and you want a super realistic zombie survival experience. Dead Island just won’t measure up.