Next time I pick up a brochure for a holiday ill defiantly check to see if zombies are a part of it, because these guys got con’ed. Dead island crash landed on our shelf’s recently and thanks to the absolutely incredible cinematic teaser trailer, it whipped up a frenzy of people queuing up to buy the game.
I suppose I can start by saying the game has no end of comparisons to games like Borderlands and Left 4 Dead, not in the sense of copying aspects, but how they feel. You can pick this game up and start playing and it feels familiar – but in the good way, in the very good way. The game is defiantly tailored for co-op and has some great RPG aspects, I keep finding myself wondering what skill to max out or if I should have followed a different skill tree. The game has some fantastic missions that will constantly keep you moving things such as escort missions, defence and item collecting missions.
The weapons that can be found in the game range from explosive canisters to modified Sledge hammers that could probably punch a
hole in superman. As with most RPG’s you start off with the basic equipment and easy quests, as the game starts you’ll soon find
yourself picking up a canoe paddle and introducing it to a zombies chin, and action you’ll find gives you a satisfying ending.
The storyline is almost simple, to an extent. A zombie outbreak has happened and the island you’re staying on is swiftly over run, you take on the role of one of four survivors with immunity to the disease and it’s up to you to figure out that the hell is happening. Truth be told things can be very predictable and the story seems a bit patchy in places with you doing quests that relate to absolutely nothing you was doing before hand and doesn’t seem to have an outcome that can benefit you in any shape or form. However, the story is not what the games about, and this is the best thing about the game in my opinion, is the experience, you actually feel that you’ve been dropped onto a zombie island wondering what the hell is happening and you feel like a survivor, battling against odds and having an immense island to explore – which gives you a fantastic sense of adventure.
If you’ve seen any of the videos or pictures, you’ll notice most of the characters are holding axes or baseball bats, this is because Dead island focuses on melee combat with guns playing a rare part, something I’m really quite fond of, you do get access to guns – a fair few of them too, but ammo is scarce and expensive, most of the situations are easily solvable with a good melee fight, however the fights are that brutal they could easily turn in the zombies favour if you don’t pick the right time to strike, so saving a gun or 2 may be wise for them “just in case” moments. You have two methods of fighting, one of which: press the right trigger when they are in range and your character will swing for the body part you aimed at, the other, is similar controls to the game “Fight Night”, if you have ever played it, it feels quite natural, you hold your left trigger to enter combat mode and then your fighting is done via your right thumb stick, you hold the right direction on your thumb stick and your characters arm will raise to the right, you follow it up with a quick flick to the left and your character will slash to the left, it can be done with any direction and this is absolutely fantastic for precision fighting you be able to chop off arms with ease but it does get a lot harder when fighting a large group of enemies as you can’t just spam the melee button.
You do have a stamina meter for fighting and running, you’ll find yourself carefully picking fights and running away when you’re low on stamina, I really like this, I find it very realistic because if you think about swinging a heavy lead pipe, you’re going to be shattered after a few swings. When starting out on the game you’ll find moving to be a tad bit difficult, this is because the lovely guys at Dead Island studios gave us a mechanic that mimics walking, meaning you’ll run faster going forward but not the way you’re facing i.e. walking backwards and sidestepping, now this is the first time I’ve ever played a game with this mechanic and it works fantastic, but when you first pick it up you’ll think your characters drunk. It takes awhile to get used to it, but I ended up really liking it.
You do get them genuinely scary moments, I have nearly filled my pants a hand full of times (I put part of this down to wearing a gaming headset and playing in the dark like a hermit) one of such moments was when I saw a zombie behind a glass panel and I found it hilarious when he tried to attack me and hit the glass face first, he then charged at the glass and smashed through it grabbing me by the throat. I genuinely jumped. Having fear in this game is essential, and it works so damn well!
So with all this killing, questing and obviously looting, comes the inevitable, levelling up! Doing side quests, killing zombies with certain weapon types and by dismembering/breaking limbs will also net you bonus EXP – with a bit of effort. Each time you level up you’ll attain a skill point, which you’ll be able to distribute into one of 3 skill trees; these are Survival, Combat and Rage. Rage can be defined as a characters special move, example: Sam B goes into the fury state and will punch anything that walks, if his fury state is upgraded he will go from punching them like a normal guy to hammering them like Mike Tyson and then if furthermore upgraded, destroying them like superman. The beauty of this skill tree system is no two characters will feel the same, and you can focus on the skills that play to your characters style.
Dead Island is a huge game assuming you’re going to take all side quests it’ll rack up in the area of 30-50 hours – even in co-op. Such a large game can seem a little overwhelming if you’re trying to tackle it solo, so my advice: Buddy up! Get this game going co-op, that’s where the magic happens. The story may be patchy at times but the feeling of being trapped on a zombie infested island with only the bare essentials more than makes up for that fact, you’ll probably do the same as me and spend just as much time fighting zombies as running away from them. I suppose the greatest compliment I can give this game is although it takes some inspiration from other games it make a damn impressive game that can hold its own against any top title. Go grab yourself 3 other friends and jump online for some intense 4 player co-op, just don’t forget the sunscreen, although an axe would probably be better.
– The experience and genuine fear
– The combat system and RPG Skill tree’s
– The Size of the maps
You Won’t Like:
– The Dodgy Story bits
– Strange visual glitches
– Re-spawning with enemies