Sometimes a game is so fun that you can forget how unpolished it is. That’s the case with Dead Island.
Dead Island is a cross between an FPS and an action RPG. In it, you attempt to survive the zombie apocolypse either by yourself, or in multiplayer mode with as many as three extra players by your side. It’s not the greatest looking game, nor does it have the cool story or cutscenes that the trailer may have led us to believe, however it is a massively addicting and exciting experience.
So the zombie takeover is happening on an Island around Papau New Guinea. PNG is real, but I’m pretty sure the exact island is fictional. Either way, you are fortunate enough to not be affected by the zombie virus, and so are your three companions. The four of you are free to roam the island and find things to keep yourself alive while slaughtering the undead that are trying to catch their final prey. You. Boy does this add up to some fun.
Although the entire game takes place on this island, you get to experience a range of things from nasty subterranian sewers, to beautiful beaches, to the beat up inner city. There is never a lack of crazy things to see and do. In fact, I even started to put off quests so that I could wander around and do whatever I wanted. Usually that would just be exploring new areas, and new ways to kill my enemies. Sometimes, though, I was just enjoying the scenery.
That scenery is even more alive thanks to the sounds in Dead Island. Zombies yell, so I’m often creeping slowly through areas and listening for them, hoping I can get the jump on them. Every single time I hear one right behind me, though, it scares the heck out of me.
The visuals are all over the place, as far as quality goes. Sometimes the landscapes look amazing, and the gore and action equally as impressive. Other times, I’m distracted by the jerky, unpolished cutscenes and textures.
The beginning of the game is about as unfinished as the cutscenes are, but once you really get into it it becomes extremely addicting. All the loot, skills, and quests make for a really fun-filled game, creating lots of things to do. You actually get to think about how you spend experience, and change your character according to your gameplay style.
Maybe not so much detail went into the video parts, but a lot sure went into the game overall. It definitely went mostly into the important parts, so that’s what counts. Don’t forget that aside from the RPG elements, there is a lot of first person melee combat to be experienced. Sure, there are guns at times, but for the most part you’re going to go crazy with blunt objects, like bats and machetes. At one point, you even get to turn kitchen knives into electric death instuments.
Replay value is greatly enhanced by your ability to make the game a unique experience every time you play. Encounters with enemies are never the same, to add to your character customization opportunities. Also, you can jump into other peoples games when they are nearby, or allow friends to jump into yours as well. It’s awesome.
So Dead Island isn’t really a perfect game, but it’s one of the funnest I’ve played all year. Yes, it’s got problems in the visual department, but the unique gameplay and shear fun make it more than worth your time and money.
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