Braaaiiinnnsss!

These past few days I have had the pleasure of playing Dead Island, one of the most widely anticipated zombie, survival horror games of recent times, developed by Techland, the makers of Call of Juarez.

Gameplay

Dead Island has a very simple but tight controls system, and a very simple menu navigation. The story takes about 2 or 3 hours to pick up, and the game is almost unbearable for these first few hours, without giving any spoilers, it seems to be “Go here, Collect this, Bring it back” in a rinse and repeat for a while. After this period  the game really picks up and has a very interesting depth and variety in the later missions.

One of the major downsides to Dead Island seems to be laziness of the development team. When you play as one of the female characters, the dialogue of the NPC’s, will still involve them saying “Dude, Man or Him” when aiming things at you, the female character.

As for the wider examples, the biggest that stuck out to me, was general NPC glitches that prevent you from completing the main storyline. By completion I had experienced four major NPC bugs, where they were either following me, or I needed to talk to them, and they would either run in circles, or not allow me to talk to them, this leads to you wondering wether or not you have missed something and then I had to restart the game. Returning to the last checkpoint didn’t even work.

Once you get past the general bugs, that can slow you down massively, the game is a solid 15-20 hour game per character. This could also be extended with the co-op, which is LAN and Online only, which is a shame, I feel this could have been used brilliantly by allowing one console co-op. The Co-op is drop in drop out, and you simply join during session.

Pipe down in there!

Sound

The sound of Dead Island was an incredible rollercoaster for me with some parts being outstanding and others dreadful. The zombies themself sound fantastic and extremely necessary for the game. Their painful screeches as the pounce on you from behind will invoke fear.

However, on the complete opposite end of the scale, the voice acting was shockingly poor. I played the game as the Australian Aborigine woman, and there seemed to be 5 or 6 set phrases for EVERYTHING in the game, from “Yeah I’ll do it” being the customary reply to accept either the main quests or any of the hundred subquests, to “That burned GOOOOD” when you blow something up. There was several others after killing the zombies, but it was dreadfully repititive.

What Else?

There was several other things I wanted to share, but couldn’t quite find the best way to include it. There was several extra mechanics of the game which I would like to mention, one of which is the driving ability. There are several trucks and armoured vans around the island and there is nothing better than knowing you parked your car out the front and suddenly getting swarmed by zombies and your only option is to run, as fast as you can to your car, jump in and drive. The vehicles handling is not great but once you get the hang of it you will find yourself running over zombies, whilst crossing the island in the blink of an eye.

Graphics – 7/10 - The graphics weren’t fantastic, and occaisonally the textures took 5-10 extra seconds to load after entering a new area.

Sound – 8/10 – Despite the horrible voice acting, the great atmospheric sound brought the score up a few.

Story – 8/10 - Relatively predictable, but showed enough depth for you to get attached to the characters you played.

Gameplay 9/10 – Is there anything better than slaying hundreds and hundreds of zombies at a time?

Overall Score 8.5/10 – I feel that the sheer fact the game was a Zombie Survival RPG will bring up every critics scoring of the game. And it did a good job of hitting the market. Would I recommend that you buy it? If you like Zombie games – Definately. If you are on the fence – Rent it, or wait a month or two for a price reduction. As you can complete the story aswell as a bunch of side missions in about 20 hours!