Dead Island (Short Review)

Dead Island hasn’t had the smoothest of launches. From an early release of unfinished and largely unplayable code on Steam, to the discovery by those seeking to modify the code to “enrich their experience” (i.e. cheat) of a little chauvinistic sexism – to which they feigned horror – it’s been an eventful week for Dead Island.

So too have the review scores – some liking it, other hating it. So it was with some trepidation that I first took my steps into Banoi, the setting for this open-world zombie slay-a-thon.

The best and most accurate way to sum up Dead Island is this – take two parts of Dead Rising, one part of Far Cry and a pinch of Left4Dead as seasoning. There’s nothing particularly new, exciting or original in Dead Island.

But it is in this fact that the game has a deliberate sense of self-parody at times, with cruel humour and biting remarks. The reactions of the survivors are believable, the depressing realities of their situation sometimes yet to dawn on them – other times, dawning too late.

It’s certainly a tough little nut, and the co-op – whilst good – is also incredibly slow and laggy. So most will stick to single player of a duo with someone they know, rather than wait in four total strangers arguing over who does what quest and running around trying to loot so the next person can do their quest.

So, it’s not a success. And yet, if they had left it single-player mostly, it would have been amazing, so keep to that and you’ll have an absolute blast – or at least, play it with people you know. The game is very pretty considering its engine, some animations are odd but that’s just the facts of life really in gaming.

All in all, Dead Island is a rip-roaring blast through a zombie apocalypse. It’s not as daring as that original promo teased it may be. It’s not as fresh as you’d perhaps like. It’s a little clunky in some areas. But it’s so goddamned LIKABLE. You just forget about the problems once you’re piledriving zombie heads into the tarmac for instakills, and running around with an electrified hunting knife, lobbing it into battering ram zombies and diving out of the way to grab it and hack away from the rear.

It’s a game that may not be as high-brow as people wanted. But that doesn’t make it a bad game. It’s just another zombie game – and dare I say it, without the time restrictions and having to manage my time carefully, a damn slight more entertaining than Dead Rising was…

Sorry Capcom… truth hurts…

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