Dead Island: the un-dead review
Zombie games are a dime a dozen out there, with a few standing out, such as Left 4 Dead and its sequel. The newest zombie game out now is Dead Island. Now to be blunt, I have never owned or played a full zombie apocalypse game before; I was quite a wimp when I was younger. Now that I’ve played Dead Island, I can say I love killing tons of zombies. Now as I said, Zombie games are not a new idea, but Techland was able to pull people into their game with an island paradise gone straight to hell.
Because zombie games are mainly just a hack and slash game style, the story lines are allowed to be very lax. Dead Islandpulls off a decent storyline, however, with no real loose ends except at the end when just your team escapes and all the folks in safe zones you helped out are left to question. Your character wakes up after a night of partying and heavy drinking on the island’s beautiful resort, and leaves the hotel to see the island in complete chaos. You meet a voice coming from communication systems after a harrowing trip down a busted elevator, and he helps you and guides you throughout the campaign. In the introduction, you are bitten by one of the zombies, but discover that you are immune to whatever is infecting everyone.
At the bequest of other survivors on the island, you venture out with the other playable characters (if you play multiplayer anyway, on single player, you are alone except for in cut-scenes) and start your zombie killing as you progress through the island’s many maps, from the beautiful beaches to the slums of a small village, to the jungle huts of the more poor locals. Once again though, the emphasis of the game is not on the story but the killing of an endless supply of undead walkers.
The backdrop of the game is one of the primary reasons Techland is able to pull so many into Dead Island. The backdrops are stunning, especially when you’re on the resort and you look out over the beaches. The zombies and the blood and gore are very realistic, and the closer background is very beautiful.
There isn’t a whole lot about the gameplay that’s remarkable besides being an open-world game. You choose from 4 different characters that have different weapon emphasis. There is a throwing weapons expert, blunt weapon, sharp weapon, and gun expert. They all have an in-depth back story and many different bonuses you can choose from when you level up. Everything is fairly fluid, when you and a zombie attack at roughly the same time, it can interrupt your attack and you take damage instead. The zombies level up as you do, so you can’t go to an older area and encounter zombies that are incredibly easy to kill, adding continued challenge to the gameplay. Another way Dead Island stands out from the crowd is its weapon focus. Dead Island is almost exclusively a melee weapon game. You can create mods for your weapons, making them more deadly and sometimes kill in a unique and interesting way. You’ll get blueprints for the mods mostly from completing quests, but they’ll also be lying around as you explore the world. You do have some guns in this game, but they are not worth using on zombies at all mostly due to very limited ammo supplies. The guns mostly come into play when you fight living human enemies or shooting a propane tank. The human enemies will have guns too, and the adage “bringing a knife to a gun fight” holds true here. The pistol is the primary gun you want to keep a hold of throughout the game, as its accuracy allows you to take easy headshots and one shot kill the human enemies. I’ve rarely needed the rifle, and the shotgun is almost worthless, which makes me upset because shotguns are my favorite weapon in real life and video games. Dead Island is definitely a long game primarily because of the walking in-between areas that’s involved. As you progress through the game, fast travel will open up to the new areas you visit, which helps a ton when you are sick of walking or even driving around. Being an open world game is a great way to just go have fun killing zombies and completing side quests, but I’m not entirely sure I’d want a campaign for a zombie game lasting 30-40 hours.
The soundtrack for Dead Island is very good, but not necessarily remarkable. The music adds fear to the game, but it’s more a sad compilation than scary. The background noises are really good, hearing a zombie screaming somewhere nearby keeps you on your toes, and you learn quickly the different sounds the different types of zombies make when they see you and attack that you learn how to counter quickly.
As my first zombie game, I loved Dead Island for its graphics and as my first steps into becoming a desensitized zombie killing machine. I recommend getting Dead Island off of Steam, as you can instantly join other players in their campaigns and make zombie killing and traveling around less lonely. Dead Island is definitely worth the discount price I paid for it on Steam, but it is a very long and very bloody game. I do not recommend this game to anyone under the age of 17.