Review by SwiftMintyDeath
"Dead Island takes an overused concept and gives it a fresh coat of paint"
I don't know how to describe Dead Island, really. Lots have tried to compare it to other games, either by saying that it's _______ + _______, or a clone of ________ with zombies. But honestly, I think it is probably one of the most original games I've played in awhile.
Dead Island starts you off in a hotel room at a resort on the island of Banoi. It doesn't take long to realize that something's wrong. Overnight, things have happened, and a mysterious infection has torn through the resort and the nearby city of Moresby and turned the residents into flesh-eating zombies. Stuff happens, you meet a group of survivors, and you have to...well, survive. The thing is, the four playable characters are somehow immune to whatever's going on, so you end up being a sort of hero to the other survivors. Probably not the most original or well-thought out story, but the way Techland presents it through each survivor's story as well as the scenery is flawless.
The graphics are okay. Not much to see here. The island itself is pretty and the zombies are pretty ugly, plus Moresby looks just as you'd expect a post-apocalyptic city to look, but the cutscenes are just...ick. Sometimes it takes awhile for textures to load, and the characters aren't very dynamic when talking to you. The shadows are a little blocky a la Dead Space 1, but other than that and a few barely noticeable hiccups they're tolerable. Like a Bioware game, I guess.
Sound and gameplay are where Dead Island really shines. Everything sounds just as it should (it's better with headphones, though), between the waves washing up on shore, and the rain hitting the ground, and a sledgehammer splashing brains all over the pavement, the sound is some of the best I've heard in a video game.
This game plays like...well, like an open world, first-person, melee-based zombie-slasher. There's a huge armory of improvised weapons that you can use, each with their own set of tiers that measure quality and zombie killability (should send that one to Webster), as well as the occasional firearm once you get into the city around Act II. The controls aren't your basic Call of Duty setup like I was expecting, but they aren't awkward in the least. Plus, you can switch to analog controls and use the sticks for more immersive melee combat.
Probably the best zombie apocalypse game I've ever played. Whether you're a fan of George Romero's shamblers or the sprinters of 28 Days Later, this one has a healthy balance of both, explaining that the the sprinters were recently infected and haven't been reanimated yet. Aside from some graphical hiccups and a less-story more-gory approach, Dead Island is a great game and one that I'm proud to have in my game library. Definitely a buy.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/11
Game Release: Dead Island (Special Edition) (US, 09/06/11)
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