DEAD ISLAND REVIEW
Everyone spent ages gushing over the Dead Island trailer; without actually knowing what the game was. And details were pretty quiet right up until release- so what is Dead island, and is it any good?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Sep 26, 2011 10:46 (Sep 26, 2011 10:46)
Written by: Ian
Everyone spent ages gushing over the Dead Island trailer; without actually knowing what the game was. And details were pretty quiet right up until release- so what is "Dead Island", and is it any good? What the game is, as rightfully said by many other outlets, is a bizarre cross of Borderlands and Fallout gameplay, set on the FarCry island.
There’s no real story to Dead Island; although there are some awesome movies. The intro movie is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen, as you stagger about drunk, before collapsing- but seeing some violence kick off. When you wake up, zombies are attacking.
The rest of the game is a desperate attempt to get the survivors together, and get them off the island. Few of the individual quests are memorable, but the game does a great job of tying these little moments together to give the game a greater sense of purpose.
As mentioned, Dead Island is a little bit of a genre-bender. It has the open world and structure of a fallout game, but with Boderlands style combat, NPCs, looting, colour-coded items and shopping structure. Combat has no VATS equivalent, but it is brutal and effective.
For most of the game though, you’ll resort to melee combat. There are two styles- digital and analogue. Analogue is much harder to get used to, requiring you to get into a stance, and then use the right stick to smash people in the face. It’s eventually a far more satisfying way to fight, although it can occasionally be a little frustrating. The game uses a fairly simple quest structure, and the mini-map makes it easy to progress to your objectives. The open world is pretty huge though, so thankfully there are a variety of different vehicles you can use to traverse the world.
Unfortunately you can only drive in first person though, and the handling is pretty dodgy; but better they are there than not at all. Some quests are often a 1-2km hike away, so they are very useful- running across the whole map would easily take 30 minutes. The quest structure is definitely more simple than Fallout, but is easily the match of Borderlands. Generally, most are fairly simple, with a variety of fetch-quests, or go here-kill that missions, with the odd puzzle or exploration part thrown in. When the world is open, you can see some glitches, but it is far more fun than the times when the game forces you to go down a relatively linear path. At these points, when the combat becomes more of a corridor crawl, things are definitely less fun.
The game is tough, as well. Death does not set you back far- just losing a portion of your money and back to the last checkpoint, but these parts definitely are far more frustrating overall. The game is really long though, and the good more than outweighs the bad. There are over 75 quests to grind out, and plenty of levelling up and abilities to unlock.
Most people will take 20+ hours to complete the story, but you could certainly spend double that time in the game before you saw everything. I’d prefer a few more guns, and a bit more ammo about, and less weapon degradation, but Dead Island was a different and unique experience that is well worth experiencing.