Dead Island Review

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Have you ever imagined a game with Fallout 3’s aspects with zombies and a 4 player co-op? Techland presents a game of that exact mix; Dead Island. Dead Island does try its best to stay close to the role-playing game style, but in a way that everything works out. This will be one zombie survival game that will satisfy anyone who’s interested in games with zombies in it.

The story takes place on a small island off the coast of Papua New Geinea. There’s a party going on and everyone is having a good time. During the party you’ll see certain things happening like someone attacking a police officer and a somewhat dead girl in the women’s bathroom. Too bad you’re too drunk to actually pay any attention to what’s going on and put the pieces together that something is going on here. You finally make your wasted self back to your hotel room, take some pills with some alcohol then pass out. Surprisingly this isn’t an actual cut scene that you see when start up a new game. This cut scene plays as the opening of the game. Once beginning a new game you’ll chose between one of the four main characters Logan, Purna, Xian and Sam B; all who have their own expertise and set of skills. After you have chosen your character you’ll wake up as that character. Your character swaps with the drunk guy in the cut scene. Shouldn’t the main characters have their own type of intro? An explaining on were exactly they ended up in the night of the party would be nice. Maybe they were all just sleeping on the same bed.

The game is mixture of an RPG and FPS. You have various Quests and Side Quests to complete for EXP along with killing Zombies. There’s some specific variations on bonus EXP you can gain while killing Zombies like breaking or cutting their arms, legs or heads. Challenges also provide additional EXP like killing a certain amount of zombies or certain other things. No RPG would be considered an RPG without having a type of skill tree of abilities for characters. Like in Borderlands, each character has their own preferred weapon they are the best with and have skills to improve on those weapons. Other skills also give you some nice abilities that really help out like a Stomp to curb stomp zombies heads off. Some skills seem rather unless, so its a bit easy to see exactly what skills to get progressing to the level 50 cap.

Weapons range from ones that are simply for straight up melee combat. This being a zombie game, it’s natural to go that way seeing as in zombie games you want to completely lay the Smack Down on the zombies. Surviving against zombies wouldn’t be complete without guns added to the mix. Guns have very limited amount of ammo, so take some good shots. Weapons can also be moded to have certain elemental statuses on to them. The Elements vary from Fire, Lightning, and Poison. Some of the mods are questionable on how can you attach them onto a weapon. It’s just a characteristic to add to the RPG aspect to the game. Mods can also be to just add bolts, nails, and other certain types of things to the weapon other than elements. Weapons do break over time so you’ll have to come back and repair them.

Combat system is pretty interesting. You have a Stamina Bar that decreases every time you swing your weapon, jump and run. You can’t just swing your weapon around consistently otherwise your stamina will go down. If you’re hit with empty stamina you’ll be knock down. Don’t over use your stamina or you’ll end up getting killed by the group of zombies coming after you. There two ways to play this game. You can have the basic (digital) control set up where you aim at the zombie and hit a button to attack. Switch the game to analog to have full control of your melee weapon’s attack. You can now chose the direction to where you want swing your weapon. Using this mode adds a different approach to take on attacking the zombies and making the game a little harder on you.

As you fight against the endless amount of zombies, you encounter different types of them. There are regular common zombies called Walkers. They aren’t as lethal but can still cause some damage. There is a more enraged walker called an Infected. Infected will actually rush at and try to beat you down. Like Left 4 Dead, there are special type of zombies like a Thug; a buffed up zombie that can knock you down with a hit but is slow. The Special Infected consist of 5 different types. Keep an eye out for them. They can really screw you over a lot but give you a large amount of EXP for killing them. All the zombies get as strong as you do so there no way you can be really over leveled.

Playing by yourself isn’t so bad, but Dead Island is one game you want to play with others. It makes the fight against zombies a bit easier than what it is alone. Dead Island’s Co-op will only be enjoyable if you have communication with the other players. Players can easily go their own way across the map and just ruin side quests for everyone. Side quests can be done alone and when completed, they count for everyone done. Main quests will need to have everyone at the quest in order to start and finish it. Fast traveling will also need everyone together to activate. All the zombies will be at the level of the host and zombies can only over level you if the host is a higher level than you are. The game does warn you when you are about to join a game that has more progress than you. It’ll also suggest what character to use based on the game you’re trying to join. The full experience of the game is better when you get a group of your friends to talk to and agree to what to do in the game.

Dead Island’s visuals look pretty good considering this isn’t a game with the Unreal Engine. The whole island’s environment looks good and really stands out when you get to a good spot to view the area. The game’s animation, on the other hand, isn’t so great most of the time. Characters seem to do a Duke Nukem where the characters legs move, but their upper body doesn’t move at all when they jump. Character movement just seem really strange and could use a fix. Try looking at another players character and you’ll notice that their movements are bizarre. You put your hand out to active something. Climbing up a ladder, the characters hands are out of place on the ladder.

Upon the release of this game and just playing it for a while, you’ll see that it has many bugs in it. Kicking some of the Beach Balls on the beach could end up killing you just by touching it. Some quests are glitched. One of the escort quests, the person you’re escorting could end up glitching into a wall or something around the area. If you drop some items, there’s a good chance you might not be able to pick it back up. Items in your inventory can disappear somehow. Those are just some of the glitches that can occur. You might get lucky and not have some of them not happen to you. Some time soon, an update will come out hoping to have fixed most of these glitches.

The bugs in this game could be one of the biggest let downs for it, but like Fallout 3’s DLCs , you can get around them. The glitches are so bad that they can be good for the game for pure comedy reasons. Dead Island has to be one of the best zombie games out there now. An update just needs to be done to it so it can run well.


  • Trying to make all the Weapon Mods just to see all the weapons you can create.
  • New game Plus
  • Replaying the game with the other characters is interesting.


  • As hilarious some bugs can be sometimes, they need to go.
  • Some more restrictions to the Co-op need to be made.
  • Character animation needs to be fixed if it is possible.

Score: 4/5

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About Alfred Trujillo

Alfred is a hardcore fan of Rock Band, Street Fighter and FPS games. Alfred can destroy almost any game put in front of him with little difficulty. His greatest challenge is still conquering his fear of sporks.