Dead Island review (Xbox 360)

The story of the infection stricken paradise starts with what happened the night before things started to go horribly wrong. Techland used an interesting technique to introduce each of the four main characters with an opening cinematic, which is shown in first person. In the cinematic, you are an undisclosed male that is extremely drunk and wandering around the Palms Resort Hotel. In the cinematic, you’re treated to meeting each of the four characters and you see the first evidence of things to come.

GAMEPLAY:

The story begins with your character waking up smack bang in the middle of a Zombie apocalypse on the fictional island of Banoi which is located in Papua New Guinea. Your character will eventually progress to finding other survivors which thus begins our survival story. The game focuses on first person melee which is a very interesting element to add to a role playing survival game. Players will be battling zombies with their own means whilst trying to survive and help other survivors.

The player will be able to choose from 1 of 4 different protagonists to progress their story with, each character has its different abilities and some focus on speed, another character will focus on strength etc. There’s many different ways you can play your character to its strengths and weaknesses. The characters consist of Sam B, a washed up rapper trying to kick-start his career again, Logan, a former football star who is trying to escape his past, Xian Mei, an employee at the Royal Palm Resort (starting place) whose dream is to travel the globe and Purna, who is a former police officer now a hired bodyguard for VIPs. Each character has its main focus which is basically how you should approach their gameplay style Sam B is strong and can take a lot of damage and uses Blunt Weapons mainly, Logan is a jack of all trades and uses Thrown Weapons mainly, Purna is a skilled marksman so she uses Guns very skilfully and Xian Mei is very quick on her feet and she is strongest with Sharp Weapons.

The character development in this game is similar to that of World of Warcraft players are rewarded experience for completing side missions and main missions which in turn allow them to level up and gain talent points which they can put into the 3 following trees. Fury is the talent tree for upgrading your special ability, Combat is basically weapon related and is the talent tree if you wish to upgrade your durability and specialize more into your characters weapon types and the Survival skill tree which is basically to help you survive in the fictional world of Banoi.

Players will come across many various weapons in the game and they range the same as Borderlands common (white colour) is the lowest and exceptional (orange) is the highest tier of weapon very similar to World of Warcraft as well. Weapons also have durability which will require the player to frequent workbenches to repair their gear so it’s wise to choose your weapons to play your characters strengths and because putting Skill points into your combat tree will also allow your weapons to last longer. Another main part of the game allows the player to modify their weapons from picking up schematics they come across on the island. This can range from upgrading your weapon to electrocute enemies whenever you critical strike them to poisoning your weapon to make your enemies vomit whenever you critical strike them. There are a lot of different modifications to make your game that much different depending on how you play.

Players will also come across different zombie variants ranging from the regular zombie which is called a Walker, Infected which are very fast zombies and Suiciders which are walking bombs that explode if you get close to them which can basically kill a player in 1 hit which is another interesting survival element added to the game. Players will come across mini boss type zombies as well such as the Thug, which is basically a heavy regular zombie which can take a lot of beating as well as give it, Floaters, which are basically large bloated zombies that can take a lot of a beating and vomit at you as well, the Ram zombie is next which is exactly how it sounds, this zombie will attempt to Ram you over (similar to the Charger in Left 4 Dead 2) you basically have to coax this zombie to hit a wall so you can damage him and last but not least the Butcher zombie, which is essentially an upgraded infected zombie one kick from a Butcher zombie will drain all of your stamina completely adding again more survival elements to the game.

MULTIPLAYER:

This game has no multiplayer as such but mainly focuses on the Coop ability to opt in opt out of games. This makes the game very interesting because the more players that join in the more increasingly difficult the game becomes. Which basically means you have to work as a team and work together to reach your goals which adds a lot more survival elements to the game.

 

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are very breathtaking at times, there are some issues with pop up and texture loads, but for the most part Dead Island is a gorgeously zombie soaked atmospheric game. With the Island of Banoi looking the part and the zombies taking centre stage, these really are some disgusting undead and they’re procedural, so their injuries and how they died are all different, as well as the colour of their skin and many other factors. The rest of the graphics are decent and the various characters all have quite a lot of personality to them.

SOUND:

The score for this game can be encapsulating at times and creepy at others, the score really sets the mood for this game being a survival horror game at times. But other times it can also be very irritating I’ve found at least. Overall though the music score is quite mood setting and very amazing.

The problem with surround sound headsets and HD surround sound setups is that you can pick up where the zombies are so you won’t really get any major jumps because most of the time you can expect zombies to appear just from hearing their heavy panting and screams. This however doesn’t drop the element of horror the real element this game is trying to portray is survival which it does perfectly with the sound.

Weapons are basically spot on with how they would sound if you’re using a heavy hammer you’re going to expect to hear bones crunching and heavy thuds which is basically what you hear, same can be said about sharp weapons you expect to hear cuts and slash noises which you do. Deep Silver have done a really good job with how the weapons should sound when hitting, slashing, throwing things etc.

OVERALL:

In the end, Dead Island is an ambitious titles, combining a Fallout 3 looting and leveling system with Dead Rising‘s weapon crafting and Far Cry 2 first person melee fighting as well as a Left 4 Dead co-op structure but with so many gameplay elements squeezed into one title, the finished product is somewhat of a Frankenstein monster. The concept was solid and the lack of plot is forgivable (who really needs a plot to kill zombies?). I give Dead Island 8 out 10, I highly recommend to pick up copy.