Review by JGo1491

"How does Dead Island match up with today's standards?"

Growing up as a child, I would have to sneak to play zombie games, such as Resident Evil. I was hooked ever since I was little; however, as I grew older, my passion for zombie games slowly diminished. I felt as if zombie games or zombies themselves, were becoming more of a nusance. You couldn't really get passed one level in a video game lately, without some form of a zombie attacking you. When I read about the development of Dead Island, my first thought was, "Oh, wonderful...another zombie game." I've played zombie games for years, and it surprised me, that I really was not looking forward to its release. I could have cared less. When the game itself finally came out, I would look at reviews and videos, trying to convince myself to buy and/or rent it. I finally gave in and bought the game at GameStop. And I have to say, I was blown away.

GRAPHICS: 7/10 - The graphics in this game, simply put, are beautiful. However, you can still expect some graphical flaws. Far away, the island is gorgeous. They really sold the image of a tropical paradise, but as you get closer to objects, the texture tends to become a blurred mess. Human models tend to fade out every now and then, and by that, I mean that it takes awhile for the game to fully detail the models. Graphical gliches tend to show up, such as a zombie getting stuck inside a porch, or getting stuck inside a wall. These glitches don't happen often enough to affect your gameplay, and can easily be forgiven. The water's are crystal clear (except for the waters covered in blood), the sky is bright blue (not a single cloud in the sky!), and the zombies are just gruesome looking. After hours into the game, however, the "beautiful" landscape, becomes rather boring to see. You will be seeing the same landscape over and over again; even when you travel to new areas. Nothing really catches your attention. However, the map to this game, is gigantic! There are plenty of areas to explore and new objectives to find. I would be eight hours into to the game, to only have completed 8% of the map.

STORY: 5/10 - Nothing ground breaking. It's the standard zombie story. Everything starts out wonderful, everyones happy and partying their asses off, and then all of a sudden, everything goes straight to hell. A small group of survivors manage to escape the outbreak and now are trying to find any means to escaping. Four of the survivors are immune to the virus (aka You!), and everyone else is turning to you for help. The story reminds me a little of Dead Space. Like Dead Space, the other survivors are to scared to move, which means you get to do EVERYTHING! When everyone runs out of food, and the only place to get food is a building completely filled with hungry bastards, guess who gets to go. Unless you're playing online, the majority of the game will be played alone. You will have no back-up. If you're looking for character development, or anything heart-racing; you're looking in the wrong place. The outbreak is never explained (however, there are a number of secret tapes and items that will explain a little bit), but the rest is left to imagination. You just whack a crap-load of zombies, then move on to the next area.

GAMEPLAY: 8/10 - The gameplay is the best part of this experience (whether you see this as good or bad, is up to you). In the beginning, you will choose from four characters. The Jack of All Trades, The Assassin, The Guardian, or The Tank. No matter who you choose, every character will have the same story. Nothing changes. The only differences between each of the characters, is that each one has their own set of unique abilities. One may seem stronger than the other, but the other may be faster or better at defense. Each character has a fury meter. Once the meter is filled up, you can activate it, causing everything you see around you turn red. Physical damage will drastically increase, and you will get experience bonuses, depended on how many enemies you defeat before the meter fades away. The game has RPG elements, such as leveling up and decided what skills you gain. You can gain experience by either killing enemies, and/or completing quest from survivors. The downside to leveling up, is that your enemies also level up with you. If your at LV. 30, well so are the zombies. Thankfully, even leveled up, the zombies practically stay about the same difficulty. The upside, is that the further you level up, the better skills and abilities you will get. The difficulty of the game, depends on how you play with your surroundings. Will you play alone? Fight in a closed area? Open area? It's entirely up to you. If your missions tend to become too difficult, you can play online and have up to three other players join your game and give you a hand. And believe me, there are missions that will tend to piss you off. You can use just about anything as a weapon; from boat paddles, to broken broom sticks. You will find guns later in the game, but guns prove to be rather useless. Ammo is difficult to come by, and guns only prove to be effective against human enemies. Blunt and sharp objects tend to be more effective against the undead. Sadly, if you use the same weapon for to long, it will eventually break. Later on, you will be able to upgrade the weapons you have, increasing its strength, and durability, but when you get surrounded by zombies (believe me, you will), you will be surprised on just how fast your weapons will break. You can also modify weapons; creating new ones. Such as the nail bat! Modified weapons tend to last longer, and tend to be alot stronger. After leveling up enough, and spending countless money upgrading your weapons, durability becomes less of a problem; even when they are about to break, you can always repair them back to 100% (after paying a pretty price). By the way, money is still important. You will need money to upgrade, buy, modify, or repair weapons. Thankfully, money isn't very difficult to come by. Enemies tend to drop a nice amount when they die. If weapons aren't your thing, you can always find a vehicle and run the bastards over! Driving, though, will take some time to get use to. Once you get it down, however, it becomes a hell of a ride to run down zombie after zombie. One thing I forgot to add, is that each of the four characters has a stamina bar. Running, jumping, punching, or swinging your weapon, takes a bite out of your stamina bar. The bar regenerates fast, but if you're not careful, you can find yourself empty on stamina, and then you will not be able to defend yourself. Besides the gameplay, there is always something for you to do. The map is big! Plenty of places to explore. Other than the main plot, you can talk to survivors to get more missions. Each mission will take you to a new place, and/or another new mission. Don't get sloppy! Zombies are everywhere on this island!

OVERALL: 7/10 - I may have had some negative comments for this game, but I have to say, this game is fun. It's just hours of fun, and I have found myself addicted to this game. Online feels bland, so I tend to stick with single player. The game isn't ground-breaking for any other genre of video games, but for a zombie game, it definitly sets a new ground for expectations. This game has its flaws, but I don't know a video game that doesn't. I have a new hope for future zombie games.

RENT OR BUY? - I would have to say Rent first. Dead Island tends to target a different group of gamers. Only you can decide on what kind of gamer that is. If you find yourself enjoying the game, then I would have to say, BUY. The game is long, and you may not be able to complete it in a small time window. If you have friends that already own this game, then it really becomes more enjoyable. So if you like it, BUY it! If you don't, then nobody will blame you. It may not be your type of game, but there are still plenty of more games coming out!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/19/11

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

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