Guts, gore, bones and blood will all be spilled on the Island of Banoi today. Lets just hope that it isn’t yours. The game is bloody and violent without reason and puts off a vibe that will make you feel like the last person on earth if you dare to venture alone!
The mastermind behind the birth of another possible triple A franchise is Techland. They’re probably best known for their other hit series, Call of Juarez. They’re not inexperienced when it comes to making video games, even though the last entry in Juarez didn’t receive much adulation, they definitely aren’t novices.
The story kicks off when you wake up in your hotel room with a hangover. Outside your room are the chilling screams of people dying. You rush out into the hallway to find everything on fire. Outside your window, you notice people free falling through the air to their deaths below.
Your first instinct is to obviously figure out what is happening. So you walk down the hall to the elevators. When you step into the elevator however, something malfunctions and the elevator plummets down to the bottom. Thankfully, It slows to a halt just before the bottom. A mysterious man’s voice suddenly bursts out through the speakers and tells you to make your way down the hall. Sadly, you are attacked and knocked unconscious by a group of zombies. Thankfully, the mysterious man you heard over the radio, whom you later find out is named Sinamoi, rescues you and brings you to a hut where he leads a group of survivors.
From here your adventure begins. It is a race against time to help as many survivors as you can and scurry off that Island! It is no easy task though. Before you can figure out how to get off, you and your band of people need food, supplies, weapons, and more. You will be sent all over the Island looking for these items and handing them out to other groups of people. The virus has spread everywhere, mutating everyone into flesh eating zombies! There is pretty much no bright side to the story.
Unfortunately, the voice acting in the various cut scenes isn’t very well done. The characters you play as never really intrigued me either. I became more attached to the Island than my player. The story is really held together by all the side quests you will come across throughout your journey. Completing these will really give you a better understanding of what is happening and how it occurred.
What really makes Dead Island stand out so much is it’s combat system. Weapons you can use range from melee weapons to firearms, or if you get creative, cars. Limbs, heads, bones, you name it, can all be hacked to pieces! Think of it as the destruction system in Battlefield 3 for buildings, but for humans! There is no better satisfaction than smashing a zombie’s head in with your bare feet…
At the heart, Dead Island is a four-player co-op game. If you’re looking for a fun, single player experience, this may not be your kind of game unless you’re willing to rally together a few friends. The game is painstakingly hard. Players will die from just two to three swings thanks to a zombie that manages to get past your blade. The three other main characters of the plot do not pop up as friendly AI members either, if that is what you were hoping for. You’re on your own and if you die, you get to suffer the o’ so friendly money penalty!
A good thing to note is that none of the zombies were simply copied and pasted a thousand times over in the development process. Each zombie looks different than the other and may also vary in gender. There are several different types as well. To name a few, you have the standard zombie, which will go down within a few swings. Then there are the Rams, who are massive, bulky, zombies who will charge you at unmatched speeds. Your best defense if to simply jump out of the way when they rush you. There are also Thugs, who are basically Rams that aren’t hunched over and can’t run super fast. They are a lot harder to kill though.
Just hope you don’t encounter to many of these big zombies or your weapon will break a lot quicker than usual. You will have to go repair your weapon at a workstation where you can upgrade weapons or create new ones from the loot you acquire throughout your exploration.
Perhaps the highlight of Dead Island is the graphics. The developers wanted to create the paradise, resort Island of Banoi and I must say they did just that and more! The environments are lush, expansive, and detailed to the core in every aspect. The water, for example, actually looks like real water! I’ve never seen a game with water that looked so life like. In some areas you can even see waves washing ashore!
The game wants you to feel alone, one of the few remaining survivors of the virus outbreak on the Island. Techland created an environment that does just that. It looks so real that you will actually feel like you are there! The best part is you won’t need a real expensive graphics card either to capture the full beauty of it all on PC.
The game doesn’t fall behind in the sound either. Now it isn’t backboned by a superb soundtrack as some games such as Assassin’s Creed are, but the music is satisfying to the extent that it heightens the suspense where most needed.
Zombie chatter is where the game strikes home. One of the first things I noticed actually when I first started the game was all of the zombies screaming off in the distance. Each and every zombie will make noises. Some may yell and others may growl and hiss. Special zombies like the Rams and Thugs will be make unique noises as well, much like in Left 4 Dead for zombies such as Witches and Boomers. If you listen well, you shouldn’t ever go into a fight unprepared for what’s ahead.
Dead Island is a very, very fun game. The story is gripping and the environments are rich with detail. The game is a zombie slayer at its heart and thankfully that is where it flourishes most! Nothing is better than grinding away through a horde of zombies with a machete. While it may not be the perfect game to play through solo, it is the perfect game for a group of friends. The game isn’t short either. For me, it took me almost 25 hours to complete the story and all of the side quests. You are sure to be entertained for the next few weeks of your life and with DLC content on the horizon, the couch will be your new and only friend!
Replay Value: High Score: 8.5/10
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