Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dead Island PS3 Review

Zombie games are nothing new, the industry produces at least three games featuring zombies a year. However
nothing came close to a little game from valve called Left 4 Dead and its sequel. Those two games offered four player coop and a surprisingly fast fun zombie game. Dead Island is the equivalent to that and in my own opinion succeeds in most part and drops the ball in a few.

Now to be fair Techland isn't the best publisher around, just checkout the new Call of Jaurez game and you'll know what I mean. Though five years ago they announced they would do a open world zombie game set on a island. This naturally got me intrigued and I followed the development for quite some time. Though putting their track record aside they crafted one of the best if not the best zombie game in my own opinion.

The Story

Or lack of one, okay look this is not going to win game of the year based on its story. Lets face it there is one but who cares. I'll sum it up in four words Get Off The Island and that's all it really is and that's okay, I wasn't expecting a Fallout in scale story. In a game like this do we really need one? I mean look at the success of Left 4 Dead and how there was no story or even any background to the characters that you played. Anyway with that being said it is the weakest part of this game and that goes toe to toe with the voice acting. This game at least to me who grew up with classic zombie films has a B movie feel to it. The voice acting is not terrible but its not great either its like watching a soap opera but again that's not really the reason that you would play this game. Though the zombie sounds are great and there are a huge variety of them. From the scream of a infected to the roar or a tank zombie they all have unique sounds that are cool and in some cases will make you jump when you realise they are right behind you. When your fists and weapons hit flesh they have this sickening but satisfying sound. Next time your playing listen to when your using a blunt weapon and you break a zombies arm or leg and the accompanying crunch. It's sick and satisfying or with a bladed weapon and the slicing sound of zombie limbs as you fight to survive. There is one more thing to note, on the PS3 version sometimes the audio will cut out. Its annoying but it only lasts five seconds. This is a long game with at least 20+ hours to beat the main story and 30+ with the side quests.

The Visuals

Are excellent in this game, from the character models to the landscapes and buildings this is by far one of the best looking games of the year. The zombies look awesomely gruesome as you tear off limbs and preform a coup de grace on a limbless zombie trying desperately to kill you with a well placed but slow head butt. Its quiet impressive to just see how detailed and unique the three main vistas are. Each bringing a different feel and atmosphere to them. You can tell that they developers wanted to go full out on this game and it shows the power of their own engine. With that being said there are graphical problems, I found that often the textures would take up to three minutes to load and I have heard of game crashes and frame rate issues but I have never encountered these two problems. I'm not sure how prevalent these issues are on the PC version but I would assume that they would be there in some shape or form.  Anyway enough negatives this game looks great, way better then any other FPS game released in the last few months.

The Game Play

No two weapons will be the same, meaning that all the weapons have different states meaning that a lead pipe found at the start of the game is vastly different then a lead pipe lets say found in the city. This is nothing new since Fallout and Borderlands had a similar system but you will like it more here and just the shear number of weapons that can be found is staggering. Each there are two weapon classes melee and ranged. With melee being broken down into sharp and blunt weapons. Blunt weapons are good for breaking bones and staggering enemies while sharp weapons are good for cutting. There are also a wide variety of guns but finding them can be a bit tricky and they are only really good against the living with the exception of the shotgun. On top of that you can mod your weapons to give them elemental properties or properties like bleeding/stun/stagger etc. Melee combat is king in this game feeling just right and you will feel satisfied when you bash their skulls in. Guns are a different story, they handle okay but you can tell that the developers put more work into the cqc of this game. The A.I on the zombies is excellent, they will flank you and rush you. They will corner and out power you very quickly. The zombies scale to your level so they are always challenging and with the addition of the special zombies the variety of battle options with and against them are high and sometimes running from a fight is better then getting into one. The survivor A.I is not so good, they will open fire when you pass by and other then being a main source of ammo are really not that hard to dispatch. Being a Action/RPG hybrid you gain levels and have the ability to pick skills from a tree (which consist of Combat, Rage, and Survival) and these skills add a depth that even Left 4 Dead never found. Now along with the standard control scheme there is one called analog which when holding the L1 button puts you into a melee stance and flicking the right joy stick allows you to attack and target different body parts. This is by far the best way to play the game and the hardest because unlike just mashing the attack button you have to time your strikes and understand the attack pattern of each zombie. It is fun and rewarding to those who play the game with that scheme. Multiplayer four person coop is a blast when you can connect to players and the game scales to the amount and level of each. It is very rewarding to run around with three other friends and become a zombie destroying unit. Though I believe that the multiplayer has been fixed with the new update.


By no means is Dead Island a perfect game, but it is closer to perfection them most ever get and while this game will only appeal to a set audience. The long main story and visceral combat rewards mashers and thinkers alike and while it has its flaws this game is definitely worthy of top echelon status.

I am changing the way I rate things from now one, instead of rating things out of five I will rate things out of 10. It works out to more accurate scores in the end.

Dead Island 9/10

+Melee Combat
+Many Zombie Types
-Pop up problem
-No MaNual Save

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