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Dead Island’s first trailer made the game look like a zombie survival game with heart, if you haven’t seen this trailer and wants to see what I'm talking about, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqrG1bdGtg
I got the game a few weeks after it came out on the Xbox 360, so the developers had time to polish it with a few patches and such, since I had heard a lot of bad things about the game having game breaking glitches, and I didn't want my review to be negative just because of that.
After starting the game for the first time, the opening video played, showing a drunken person on a party island that's just had the zombie infection begin. I could tell that the game didn't have the emotional storyline I had hope for because the intro has a rapper singing a song called "Who do you voodoo b**ch" and that doesn't set the mood for a good story, normally anyway.
Regardless, I went on and started playing. You are given a choice of 4 people to play as in the game, who you pick doesn't affect the story what so ever, and the only really difference is the type of weapon you specialize in. The 4 people you must pick from are Sam B, Logan, Purna, and Xian. Sam B is a deadbeat rapper still trying to make a living of his one hit wonder, who do you voodoo b**ch. This is the reason that he is on the island, or at least, that's the best the developers could come up with, and he specializes in blunt weapons. Then there is Xian, A woman who is employed at the Royal Palms Resort. She had just arrived in Banoi when the outbreak started, and she specialises in sharp weapons. Logan is a former NFL star, he was spoiled all his life and successful in everything he did. He was in a reckless street race and killed a young woman who was in the car with him. In his downfall he took an all-expenses paid trip to the island of Banoi. Worst choice he's ever made. He's an unarmed expert, great with his fists. And finally there's Purna, the gun expert, she was a police officer in south wales, but after losing her career after she shot a child molester who couldn’t be convicted due to his wealth and connections, she started working as a body bodyguard for VIP's in places all over the world.
The story is pretty basic for a zombie game, infection starts, and you start looking for a way to get away from it. Of course, the storyline has all the normal things a survival game has, betrayal, bad luck, and a massive amount of useless side quests. From looking for food and water for other survivor (if you don't nothing actually happens to them, so in the end it's just a fetch quest for more experience) to clearing out the zombies in a remote area of the island.
One thing that bugged me in this game is the cut scenes, no matter how many players are in the game, all 4 survivors will appear. It seems lazy for the developers to just let that be, but it's not like it breaks the game or anything.
As for flaws in the game, there's the story, as I've explained, there's still some annoying glitches that you may occasionally run into, like getting stuck under a bridge and having to reload the last checkpoint, sometimes losing up to half an hours progress at a time. This only happened to me 4 times in the 25 hours I spent playing, but even then it was pretty irritating.
Another flaw is the lack of zombie types, and of the few zombie types there are, the ratio of normal to special zombies is about 1 - 50. There's the normal zombie, that runs up to you and just try's to beat you to death, there’s The Suicider, a zombie with a massive body that blows itself up if you get too close, and will blow up regardless of how you kill it. There's the Butcher, a large zombie that doesn't have any arms past there elbow, but is still far stronger than a normal zombie. There's the Ram, a very large zombie that is wrapped in a straitjacket and is the hardest zombie to kill, there's the thug, who tries to knock you over and temporarily stun you, and last but not least there's the Floater, whom is like a boomer from Left 4 Dead in more ways than one, he's covered in slime and vomits at you.
As you may have guessed, the game has stolen most of its idea from other games, it takes the levelling system from dead rising along with its quest system, and it takes its combat from half FarCry2 and half Left 4 Dead, and the driving feels an awful lot like FarCry2 as well. The story line as I said before, it's pretty much the same as every other horror survival game on the market. The weapon system is clearly inspired by the dead rising system, only to a lesser extent. You can use things like bats, knives and guns, but you can also use led pipes and coat racks. It’s not that great at all, but it’s clearly inspired by the other system, and it’s not the worst one I’ve ever had to use.
The Graphics are better than a some games that come out in this day and age, but there really nothing amazing. The environment looks pretty disappointing considering what they could have done with the whole beach island setting they had given the game.
One of the game’s biggest selling points is the 4 player co-op, which undeniably makes the game feel a lot more enjoyable. The co-op doesn't affect your story progress and nothing is separate, it's just a drop in drop out. There's no special ability’s or anything, just everyone killing everything. The levelling system isn't all the big of a deal, levelling allows you to up your skill level a lot like borderlands, in fact, the exploring system is a lot like borderlands too, just not half as good. Levelling also allows you to use better weapons with higher damage and such, but it's not really necessary to do any side quests, the first time round I focused on the main story and had no issues beating any part of the game.
Another thing that seems stolen from borderlands in the unlimited re-spawn system, where the only punishment for dying is losing a little about 5% of your money and going back a few meters. It makes the game stupidly easy.
The soundtrack... There really isn't a lot to say about the soundtrack, the only distinctive tune that you will remember, and not for good reason is the rap song that plays in the intro. It's pretty disappointing, but the soundtrack isn't the biggest deal breaker in the game.
Overall, the game is fun, there's no argument there. Getting a bat with a nail in it and beating the life out of 100's zombies normally is. But this game is nothing special, and I don't recommend it for anyone if you plan to spend more than £20. If you can get hold of it for less than £20, then by all means, it's worth a try. I got a good 10 hours of fun out of it.
I would give it 3 and half stars, if I could, but 4 will do.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Dead Island, and I'm sorry it dragged on so much.
Leave a comment; I'm always looking for advice on ways to improve my writing.
Plenty of Zombie games doing the rounds at the moment, Nicely reviewed. A hark back tot he older days of cut scenes which have not continuity with the game, like you say, it shouldn't happen nowadays. :D