I just got done with my first session of Dead Island and it has been very satisfying thus far. By now most of you have either read a review or even picked up your own copy of the game, but this isn’t for you; this is for those who might be on the fence about picking Dead Island up. I will hopefully clarify some things in the next couple of paragraphs.
Dead Island might just be another zombie game to most, but this adventure blends game mechanics from many other popular titles such as Fallout 3, Dead Rising 2, Left 4 Dead and even Borderlands. This game above anything else is very Fallout-esque because of the mission structure and looting mechanics. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Fallout 3, but that isn’t relevant at the moment. Dead Rising 2’s contribution comes in the form of weapon creation (which is also kind of Fallout at heart, but zombie game, weapon creation, just go with it). Left 4 Dead qualities are pretty obvious, but Dead Island boasts 4-player co-op in a open sandbox environment (ala Borderlands) and allows players to jump in and out of friends games and even complete stranger’s games. Lastly in terms of inspiration the island of Bonoi (the setting for Dead Island) has a very Farcry feel to it, which I totally dig. But enough with the comparisons, lets talk about why Dead Island is a great game (yes I didn’t make you wait another paragraph to tell you that).
Dead Island stands apart from any other zombie game because right from the start it gets under your skin (in a good way) and makes your feel the desperation that has overrun the island. The characters display emotions that in most other zombie games are non-existent (ergo Chuck Green’s stone face in DR2). That desperation and with each character being inundated with fear makes you want to play and help the NPCs out that much more. One image I can’t get out of my head happens early on in the game and it is a man sitting in a shallow pool filled with blood and the bodies of his family and all he can say is that he didn’t know what else to do. That my readers is some deep shit that rarely gets captured in any type of game especially horror. The human element really flushes out the story and moves it along steadily. I haven’t played a terrible amount yet, but I plan on seeing this one through to the end and hopefully having a few friends jump in and experience it along the way.
My only caveat that I will disclose and have discovered so far is that texture-loading times can be brutal at certain moments, but if you are patient they render within a few seconds. Other than that if you are looking for a good game to play alone or with friends before the Fall Onslaught of games begins Dead Island is a great experience that I know will only continue to get better. As always you can get more of me on Twitter @GamersAbstract and on Facebook. Stay tuned for more.
I played Dead Island on Xbox 360 for approximately 2 hours and the game was purchased by me for $60.