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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Game Review: Dead Island

Dead Island is fun! It is actually the most fun I had with a game in a long time. As the title suggest this is a game about zombies. The last few years zombie games seem to be the new WW2 games. Everybody wants to release one to catch up with the zombie gold rush. This game though is not some poor excuse to pay the developers in order to slay undead hordes. This is gaming at its best.

Dead island starts with a crazy party in a luxurious tropic island resort. During the night though all hell breaks loose and the beautiful sunny resort turns into a post apocalyptic zombie infested nightmare. For some reason everyone that has not played Dead Island is under the impression that it is an FPS of the Left4Dead nature. This a wrong impression. Dead Island is an action RPG and has plenty of elements from both genres. You kill zombies and level up in an open sandbox environment. You pick your skills and complete quests from NPCs, while hacking undead with your machete. You craft more powerful items from objects you find in the environment, while you run down zombies with your pickup-truck. You get the picture...there is lots of action  in a open world RPG.

Stop ruining my holidays
When you start the game you choose your character out of possible 4 very unlikable(they are all pricks if you ask me) protagonists. They are not different classes exactly, but each character offers different strengths and weaknesses. You 've got your  tank-ish character and the more agile/ranged one for example. The game starts in the resort where you get your first missions helping out some survivors and learning the ropes of the game. There are story missions and there are the sidequests. I highly recommend doing all of the sideqests. Besides offering many many hours of fun gameplay, each off them offers  money, experience points, unique items and much more. Each chapter opens up a new quest hub  for story missions and side quests but you can freely travel between them.

In Dead island I never got bored. The game is pure entertainment from start to finish. The missions vary in nature. You have missions were people want to find relatives, items, you got to save people, investigate situations, kill certain characters, rescue and escort NPCs. There are many missions and while some might look like your standard fed ex quest it is not and the island makes sure about that. While you are trying to get from point A to point B the game will throw everything at you: more small side quests, interesting places to explore, loot to grab and a horde of zombies and human enemies. The real protagonist is the island. It is alive and wandering around pays off in fun, XP and loot.

The four pricks
The graphics are very good and each hub has its own distinct look and feel. After the lush bright and sunny beach resort you find yourself in the depressing city slams and after that in the deep jungle. My favourite two areas have to be the resort and the Jungle mainly because I preferred the open beautiful environment to the gloomy and doomy shithole that were the slams. Another reason was probably that some missions in chapter 2(the slams) I had to fight in closed space and the game turned into a corridor 'shooter' which was a bit repetitive, but fortunately it did not last long.

Speaking of 'shooter' this game offers many many weapons. It took a considerable amount of time though before I got my hands on a gun. There are machetes, axes, knifes, frying pans, shotguns, rifles, pipes and many others. The game offers many different melee and ranged weapons to use in different situations. For zombies (who will be the most enemies) I preferred melee weapons. For human enemies I mostly used ranged since they were shooting at me from a distance but also because in melee combat were harder to hit.

What a relaxing place to slay zombie hordes
While you kill enemies and complete missions you gain experience points to level up. With each level you earn skill points which you spend to advance your various skill trees. There are various tree builds for your characters depending on your preferred play style. One important game mechanic in Dead Island is crafting. During your adventures you will find and pickup many different items. These items can be used to create mods for your weapons and other various helpful 'tools of the trade' like bombs, molotof cocktails, bullets,etc. Money is also a very important aspect. You use the money you gain from missions, or looting, for various things such as to upgrade or repair your weapons and buy useful items from NPC merchants.  

Dead Island can be played as single player or as multiplayer from the internet or LAN. When you are on a mission the game will try to find players around your game area and range of missions and join the two single player games into a coop. It is a really nice implementation  that seamlessly brings players together for a multiplayer experience.  

Overall Dead Island is a very entertaining product that does everything correctly and provides many hours of gameplay. The production values are high, the action is intense and game mechanics are fun. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

@IamKdaniel said...

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dan@bundlecult.com
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