Dead Island – Game Analysis & Review
Publisher: Deep Silver
Distributors: Valve Corporation, Square Enix, Spike
Composer: Pawel Blaszczak
Engine: Chrome Engine 5
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Genres: First person horror action-adventure, role-playing, open world
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
Dead Island has received a lot of comparisons to Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, and Dead Rising – which it does have similarities, but all in all the game stands somewhat on it’s own. The features a fairly large world to explore with tons of quests, character progression through a skill tree, customizable weapons, up to four player co-op, and the always sought after “lewtz”.
The game takes place on a small island. You begin by choosing one of four characters, each with their own strengths and back story. You wake up after a night of drinking to find the island and resort ravaged. The dead walk and you gotta get moving!
A majority of the quests are your typical fetch quests where you look for an item and return it to an NPC. Occasionally you will run back and forth delivering messages between separated survivors, or escort an NPC, but all in all the missions are generally repetitive in nature.
The main gameplay is first-person melee combat. While you can use your bare fists, you will spend a majority of the time using weapons you find around the world such as machetes, baseball bats, and knives. You are also able to kick zombies to make space or knock them down.
Weapons degrade through use so maintaining them is important. Weapons can be maintained, upgraded, and modified through work benches. Through collecting supplies such as duct tape, batteries, and more you are able to make your weapons substantially better. Want an electric knife? It’s possible. Want to weight down your wrench for increased force and damage? It’s possible as well.
It is also possible to come across firearms and ammunition, but you will generally be fighting through hordes of the undead with melee weapons. The difference in damage between melee weapons and firearms is also underwhelming.
Graphically the game suffers. Textures load in slow and you will often experience pop-in. The graphics themselves aren’t even all that spectacular to begin with, although the development team did a great job making the world. The beaches look beautiful as you would expect from a tourist resort, while the cities look dreary and battered by the apocalypse. Graphical errors occur during gameplay and cut-scenes. Lip synching is terrible and limbs often clip through objects.
The sound in Dead Island is strong however. Zombies scream and moan, special infected make their own noises, and weapons slashing and smashing the undead make satisfyingly gruesome sounds. The voice acting overall is pretty good.
The game features online co-op gameplay. You can play easily with friends, or during regular gameplay you will receive a pop-up stating that another player is playing in the same area as you. It is then as easy as the press of a button to be bashing zombies with someone else. Experience levels matter though. If you are level 15 you can’t have a level 3 player join you. Unfortunately the game does not feature local split-screen co-op which would have been a nice feature.
Overall Dead Island is fun, despite it’s faults. Mini-games are laughable, graphical issues plague you throughout, and some of the NPC’s are downright annoying. But co-op gameplay, weapon mods, and zombies are always a winning combination! If you are looking for a stupid, fun time then check out Dead Island.
Positives & Negatives:
+Large world filled with tons of quests
+Variety of weapons and modifications
-Repetitive, stiff melee combat
PDG’s Justin Bolduc scores Dead Island 7.5/10
Dead Island Launch Trailer: