Techland’s Dead Island is a brand new co-operative open-world zombie apocalypse game which is very reminiscent of the hit game Borderlands by Gearbox Software. It’s almost as if it’s simply a re-skinned zombie version of the game and yet so much more.
The game is massive, and when you combine the immersive main quest with the copious amount of side quests, there are simply hours upon hours of play time and no shortage of things to do. You start by selecting a character with one of four expertise options: blunt weapons, sharp weapons, throwing weapons or firearms. There are plenty of weapons for each of those expertise types which helps keep the combat very interesting, however as it is mainly melee focused combat, it can become a little bit repetitive as you advance further into the game. When guns do become available ammo is very scarce and while this is a good way to make the game challenging it can and does become rather frustrating.
This brings me to the other frustrating aspect of the game, weapon degradation. Yes there are plenty of weapons in this game; however very few are actually good and they all degrade extremely quickly making it a very annoying experience maintaining and paying attention to your inventory. The last big problem I have with Dead Island is the menu system and inventory screens. The menu is very slow and feels rather clunky going through the interface when it comes to either trading or quest selection, or even navigating the menu map.
Beyond those few minor issues there are many more great aspects to this game that must not go unmentioned. First off, Dead Island’s graphics are absolutely beautiful and are a definite treasure to look at. There are almost no clipping issues or graphical glitches, which is a massive feat for such an expansive game. I must say it really is a lot of fun killing zombies in such intense close quarters combat, and it constantly keeps you on your toes with exploration, as you have no idea what’s simply a corpse or what is a zombie lying in wait for you.
The seamless co-operative is something that deserves to be noted as well, dropping in and out of the games of your friends, or having help for your own quests is such a good addition to the game. Techland have executed it flawlessly allowing for a very good co-operative experience, easily adding many more hours of fun playability to Dead Island.
This game is almost perfect, with a few minor tweaks it could just about have been the best built game of 2011. For me though, it takes the trophy for the most fun and immersive game I’ve played this year. This is a definite buy for any fan of zombie games, I don’t even like zombie games usually, however as a big fan of RPGs I simply had to check it out, and I must say it is worth a buy. I’ve played LA Noire, Portal 2, Crysis 2, Bulletstorm and Dead Space 2 yet now Dead Island is my favourite game of 2011.