Dead Island Review
Killing zombies has been the appeal of many console and PC zombie games that have defined it as another gaming genre. Gamers couldn’t get enough of the gory thrills blowing off their heads or hacking them to pieces and the latest incarnation for the PC, PS3 and Xbox360 simply extracts the last ounces of fun from earlier zombie games and gathers them up to become Techland’s Dead Island. If you have played Far Cry or Dead Rising, some familiar elements are here but while they don’t easily gel, Dead Island comes off as one of the most enjoyable, if not addictive, gaming experience in killing zombies ad nauseum.
The Good News about Dead Island
The Polish game developer goes right to the point and has no pretensions to either a good story as a vehicle to carry the expected mayhem through or great character development. The game’s lack of a good story can be a blessing since you don’t have to suffer needlessly through one.
You are stranded in a lovely resort island call Banoi which makes full use of your high definition screen up to 1080p and brings the game to its high visual advantage in the genre. Needless to say, the beautiful resort island is infested with zombies. You then assume one of four characters each entitled to a set of weapons. The objective is to escape the island but you also get to save and help out imperiled natives along the way. You also discover some jaw-dropping plot twists on the zombies origin. All these you can do for at least 20 hours of killing fun before calling it quits.
Indeed, if there’s anything memorable and worth your gaming effort that Dead Island has to offer, it’s the challenge of killing zombies with a variety of homemade weapons. That’s right, there’s nothing high tech about the weaponry which only increases the challenge. Throughout the game, you mow down zombies and collect objects from guests who give you things and recipes to make your weapons, like hammering a nail on a baseball bat to become a “nailbat.” You just have to regularly upgrade and repair your makeshift and found weapons to survive. And as you level up collecting weapons, cash and bonuses along the way, you end up a walking tank with enough arsenals to decimate the zombies.
While Dead Island has some of the most realistically gruesome zombies in the genre, it is one of the easiest to play. Even when a zombie kills you, which only takes a few seconds to do, you only lose some cash amount. Wait for 5 seconds and you return to the world in the same condition you left it. Death in the game is just a minor inconvenience.
The Not so Good News about Dead Island
Forget about an engaging narrative, imaginative scares or character development. This is a combat game where the object is to kill zombies wherever you meet them, and there are many, scene after scene. Even leveling up offers little incentive. While higher grade weapons become available, the zombies also level up as you do. Using your weapon degrades the weapon and if you are in a low level, it can take as many as six hacks to kill a zombie. The most practical weapon is your feet for running away.
Successful games need not be completely original. A creative developer can always get the best from several games and blend them in a package that achieves its objective of thrilling gamers. Here, Dead Island succeeds well. Just don’t expect anything horrific or scary since that is something no zombie game can do. But for sure, there are startling moments when zombies pop up in unexpected places or moments, especially in dark corridors or even in open wide spaces like a beach resort and the streets. If you are a gore fan, look no further. Dead Island has some of the best that previous games in the genre had.