Dead Island Review

Dead Island Review

Zombies really are the flavour of the month right now, so it came as no surprise when Techland announced they too were working on a game that, you guessed it, focussed around zombies. What did come as a surprise, was quite how they were going about it. Never before had we seen anything nearly as thought provoking as "that" trailer, nor had we seen a game that would focus so heavily on the visceral melee combat aspect of a zombie apocalypse. But now that it's all out in the open, it's clear that this open-world zombie apocalypse simulator is surprising for the wrong reasons too.

The game's plot focusses on a rather unfortunate turn of events. Well, any zombie outbreak is unfortunate, but this particular one takes place on the fictional holiday resort island of Banoi. This means that there are of course your typical drunken hooligans, but there were also families there on the island hoping to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.

At the start of the game, you'll have to choose to play as one of four characters. They're all on the island for different reasons, but they all get lumped together because they're special. In other words, they're immune to the virus and are seen as something of a salvation for the small pockets of people who've managed to hide themselves away from harm.

Because of this, most of the game is centered around performing tasks for different people. You will of course have main quests, but there are also a ton of side-quests too which are there to try and add depth to the scenario. Despite this, the story of Dead Island never takes hold. There are cutscenes throughout, but a lot of it feels rather disjointed. The game acts like you should know these four characters rather well, so when you do get to see them interact, it can be in quite strong ways. However, it doesn't have a lasting impact.

A lot of the story just "happens" and the explanations are all rather flimsy at best. It's quite disappointing, because this was one aspect of the game that should have been a lot better. Instead, it's something that just becomes laughable as the game progresses.

At its core, Dead Island is about the melee experience. After all, if you were on a remote island and zombies suddenly appeared, you'd need to use whatever you had to hand in order to protect yourself. When you first start, things like an oar, a frying pan or even a small piece of wood will be your lifelines, but this changes rather rapidly once you progress through the game.


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