Dead Island is a zombie game developed by Techland. It uses role-playing elements and first person combat that creates a highly enjoyable experience.
All is not paradise on the tropical island of Banoi. Sure, the sun is shining and the sea is blue. But a zombie outbreak turns a vacation into a bloody and terrifying escape for survival. It might not have the best introduction to a game but it sure makes up for it later on. Before the game starts you must pick from one of four different characters to take on the role. Each have their own skills. Rogan is a expert in throwing, Purna is a firearms expert, Xian is an expert with sharp weapons and Sam B is best with blunt weapons. You will still have a similar experience who ever you choose but keeping the weapons the player is skilled at gives you a slight advantage.
Dead Island is a open world game and the island of Banoi is for you to explore. Once the opening prologue is over you can explore at your leisure. The Island is filled detailed environments and beautiful visuals. Even though it's crawling with zombies it still looks inviting. Dead Island isn't perfect though and you will notice technical glitches like texture popping and sound issues. The characters are not very strong aswell and they produce stiff animation. But all this was forgiven when i realised it's interesting progression system, exploration and fun combat.
As you beat zombies to death and complete side quests you will gain experience points. Once you have enough XP you will level up and earn points to spend on your characters abilities. These are split into three sections, Fury, Combat and Survival. Fury gives you increased power to perform powerful bows to your enemy, Combat increases your weapons damage and Survival can increase your health at different percents for a limited time.
Dead Island is a mix of Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead. If you enjoy games that feature looting you will love exploring Banoi. It's packed with hidden items to find. From money, scrap metal and weapons etc. You must search the island for any objects able to bring harm to the infected. From baseball bats, metal pipes, explosive barrels and more. Guns can also be found but that's not till later in the game and the main focus to Dead Island is close hand-to-hand combat. Just like the character progression you can also upgrade your weapons. Scattered around the island are workbenches and these can repair weapons when they become damaged, upgrade them and build new ones with parts you find. It's nice to see your weapons become stronger. For example, a baseball bat with spikes attached to it.
The Island does expand as you progress and there's a lot to feast your eyes on. Fast travel markers are placed all over the Island. You can also drive to a destination if you find a vehicle nearby. Most vehicles you find are driveable and smacking into zombies at high speed is very amusing.
There's many quests to complete around the Island . You can choose to complete quests or if you wish, wondering off and explore the dreaded Island. Quests will have you risking your life and it can be for many different reasons. If it be finding parts to get a vehicle working or making sure a building is safe for people to enter. The atmosphere brought to the game is fantastic and everytime I heard a zombie groaning I would be on the edge of my seat looking for it. You always feel in danger even when you have a weapon. This is because they break fairly quickly and even though you can repair them you might not be near a workbench, leaving you to search for nearby objects. If you don't carry any weapons it will result in using your fists and foot to kick. They do pack some powerful blows but you wont stand much against a large horde.
I found Dead Island a lot of fun solo but the game can also be played cooperatively with four players. Whilst you would expect a team game to have you all sticking together Dead Island has you spaced out and it feels much like a solo experience most of the time. Whilst CO-op is still very fun I would recommend playing a Solo game as well.
If you crave zombies and role playing games it's hard to go wrong with Dead Island. Yes, it does have issues but it never stopped me enjoying exploring and whacking zombies to death. Apart from it's flaws, this is an experience worth living.
Review by Gareth Smith