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"Dead Island" Video Game Review

A "gamer" since way before the term was coined, I have been playing video games in one form or another since the 1980s.

Find Your Inner Zombie Killer on Dead Island

Imagine waking up from a nap and finding yourself lounging on a beautiful tropical island.

It is a gorgeous day, the waves are crashing on the shore, the air smells of salt, and your bare toes dig into the warm sand.

But something is obviously wrong.

The people here look sick, and one of them actually attacks you on your way back to your hotel room.

You flee into a beach shack outside, hoping that it was a fluke and it will all blow over.

But it won't.

Welcome to the Dead Island of Banoi, quite possibly the last place you will ever see... alive.

Cover art for Dead Island

Cover art for Dead Island

Dead Island was released in America on September 6th, 2011, at the height of the anticipation for the release of the new Bethesda game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Resembling the game-style that vaulted Bethesda into infamy, the developers at Techland wanted to carve out their own niche in the open-world RPG genre. What resulted is a beautiful game that relies heavily on melee weapons and close-quarter combat, instead of the typical long-range shooter.

This style of play makes the game much more exciting and dangerous, but often results in numerous deaths and reloads. On the positive side, the game does a great job of auto-saving, often reloading very close to the point of death after 5–10 seconds.

However, it is very difficult when traveling into other areas for the first time and coming face-to-face with the enemies that reside there. It can be a shock to go from very slow-moving zombies to enemies that can sprint at you and take you down in less than a heartbeat. Other enemies in the game can be difficult to understand at first, but once you figure out the mechanics of each enemy type, it becomes easier to spot them and take them down more efficiently.

2 Versions of the Original Dead Island Logo

2 Versions of the Original Dead Island Logo

Test Your Zombie-Fighting Skills

In the shadows of highly popular games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion, Dead Island doesn't rely on your typical enemies made of wild animals or crazed (living) people. Various forms of zombies are out to feast on your flesh, and you have to be quick on your feet if you want to stand any chance of survival. It's not often that you find a good open-world game, and it's even rarer to have it plagued with zombies.

This game will test every bit of your determination and zombie-fighting skills as you battle your way across an infected island full of the walking dead. The story is fairly simple: an infection from a yet unknown source has turned everyone bitten into the walking dead on the island of Banoi, located off the coast of New Guinea, a popular tourist attraction. This infection spares no one but the fittest, and with each second that goes by, you are closer to becoming a zombie dinner.

Dead Island gameplay

Dead Island gameplay

Game Flaws

Dead Island also offers up an online multi-player capability, allowing people to join your game if they are nearby and have progressed in the story at a level equal to you or higher.

This system is flawed, though: Players can join without any permission at all. It is common to have random players come in, loot your game for all it is worth, and leave without any notice.

While this system does make it easy for friends to join you, sometimes you can work with someone for hours and lose all progress and items because of a simple console or internet crash.

These crashes are fairly uncommon, but this can easily dissuade players from going online after a few of these frustrating occurrences and the accompanying lost data and time spent playing the game.

Dead Island Walkthrough

Final Analysis of Dead Island

Even though the game does have a few issues that are to be expected from large, open-world games, it is still an enjoyable experience for many to decapitate a zombie as it is running full force at you.

The online capability is a nice addition for those who like to play in parties, but it is a great game even if you choose to play solo. The replay value is moderate to high, depending on your desire to collect the best weapons and armor in the game and your attachment to your character.

Dead Island comes with a rating of 8 out of a possible 10. With beautiful maps and an interesting storyline, this game is a good break from other open-world RPGs and first-person shooters.

Dead Island Gets a Big Thumbs Up

Dead Island Gets a Big Thumbs Up

Dead Island Polls

© 2012 Hal Gall

Reader Feedback

TransplantedSoul on October 27, 2012:

Zombie games are not my favourite - but this one does look quite good.