Review by Flare_Dragon123

"Dead Island - A First Impression"

I had the good chance to sit down and play Dead Island, solo only, for a few hours last night, so I thought I'd go ahead and plus some information for those who want to know.

Gameplay 8/10

Have you played Borderlands? Have you played Diablo? Then you know exactly how Dead Island plays. But Dead Island does a few things different, for one you aren't a demi-god bad ass like you are in the other games your a typical (in some ways) Human Being. The Quest-Fetch-Quest-Grind-Quest system is in order here, but unlike the Borderlands, there is an actual plot that's starting here, although at the beginning it is mostly going to be about survival.

The combat is repetitive. That's the truth, and one thing I noticed was that it never got noticably easier. Enemies level up with you, but it seems like they keep the pace too well. I only encountered two different zombie types (a typical overused minion type, and a huge hulking brute) so the enemies weren't ever doing anything new.

Once I ended up getting a vehicle I took it out and explore the rest of what I could find. One note is that a challenge/achievement was tracking my progress and even after uncovering a lot of the island I was on, I had only progressed about 10/72 areas found, and I already thought that area was larger than I expected. Odds are, Dead Island is quite a massive game, or its shiny on the outside.

Another thing, there are lots of weapons, but I only managed to find blunt weapons and a quest gave me one gun. That gun WAS a revolver, but seeing as there was no available ammo it was a bit of a decoration. However, the hundreds of blunt weapons I came across were all brittle as hell. Its like someone made them with popsicle sticks because they'd only last about 5 - 6 zombies before they were broken and gone forever or useless as hell. Upgrading them didn't really help much either.

Story - No Grade

Three hours in, the first hour was a prologue and introduction to a small group of survivors including you, who for reasons I won't flat out tell you, who is made to be their one shining light in the dark situation. Other than that, there wasn't much. My character's backstory was given in the creation screen. As for what caused the "scourge" as it comes to be known (the zombie virus in the game), there appears to be sets of recording tapes that are lying around throughout the island that follow the exploits of a researcher a la Bioshock.

To be honest, once I got a car, I eschewed questing for nearly the rest of my playing time, as exploration seemed to be the way to go. I wouldn't say that exploration is entirely unrewarding. I stumbled upon three quests that I had no inclination to go find any other way. It remains to be seen if that were going to be the case the entire game (aka I'd HAVE to go find them myself) or if there would eventually be a quest path through the game that would "drop me off" by these miscellaneous quests.

So in short, I'm interested in where they were going. The tape recordings seem like an easy way to add to the atmosphere, but by the second one the voice acting was getting on my nerves, so I'm not sure its going to prove to be quite as great as it should be. Here's hoping.

Other Things

I just wanted to reference real quick to the Diablo system. As I said if you've played one you've pretty much played them all. Enemies drop rare loot from time to time. I found no way to know what influenced this in my brief play time, or what exactly rarer weapons did, besides have increased stats. I saw a few moments where enemies were being affected by elemental damage (like fire and electricity) but I never found weapons that would do this for me.

In three hours time I was level 7. The start of the game didn't level me very fast, and while I received a massive rush of levels within a short period after getting past the initial quests, this died out about the time I went exploring with the car.

Overall - 7/10 (or judgment safely withheld score)

What I gleaned from Dead Island was that the experience has a potential to become repetitive to a fault (much like Borderlands did). The combat is almost always the same. Two enemy types in only three hours at the start of a game sounds terrible, and hopefully that expands a lot more. There's a huge (likely MASSIVE) map to explore, and hopefully there are a few things worthwhile to find there. I will certainly be playing this one again. Look out for a Full Review, sometime in the near future (hopefully).

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/08/11

Game Release: Dead Island (US, 09/06/11)

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