Dead Island Goes From 30 To 90 In Six Reviews

Should you spend your holidays playing Techland's Dead Island? Normally in this situation looking at a range of video game review scores would help. Normally.

In this case, however, that might not help. The latest zombie survival horror action role-playing game's fancy trailer dragged it kicking and screaming into the spotlight where it now stands, naked and shivering, desperately trying to cover its naughtier bits while the folks from outlets like Edge Magazine and the UK's Metro point and laugh. Other outlets see something they like, and aren't afraid to scrap off a little decaying flesh to get to the good stuff.

How can a game generate such disparate critical reactions? Read on and see for yourself.

Edge Magazine Conceived in 2005, Dead Island finally makes its shambling way to shop shelves, invigorated by a promotional boost but carrying some telltale traits picked up during its six-year gestation. What began as a straight survival FPS — a wide-eyed go-anywhere, wield-anything premise — arrives looking a bit peaky. We spy Borderlands-shaped toothmarks on its loot-focused weapon customisation and fourplayer online co-op. Elsewhere, NPCs bear Oblivion-esque side missions — with none of Bethesda's branching outcomes — while zombie types echo Left 4 Dead's. Only Banoi Island itself remains Techland's own, complete with all the texture, audio and animation glitches we've come to expect from its Chrome Engine.

Metro GameCentral Without letting slip any spoilers the game world is more varied than the basic set-up might imply and it's filled with enough side quests to make the comparisons with Fallout and Oblivion -- even if far too many of them recall the annoying escort missions of the first Dead Rising. But not least because there's never more than a dozen zombies onscreen at once it's Bethesda's first person role-players that are the primary inspiration here, as you continually loot cupboards and left luggage for useful bric-a-brac.

Eurogamer Graphically, it's a bit of a dog. The Chrome 5 engine conjures up the same jagged Duplo jungle foliage as it did for the wretched Sniper: Ghost Warrior, and constantly struggles with textures, edges and frame-rates. Character models are downright disturbing, with marionette animations and distracting staring bug-eyes. The zombies, at least, are supposed to look horrible but even they're blighted by crude skins and spurting blood that looks like it's been added in MS Paint.

GameSpot Levelling is par for the course in a role-playing-heavy action RPG, complete with talent trees for customising characters which offer, for instance, options to increase damage or durability of certain weapon types. You level up quickly as well, thanks in part to frequent checkpointing and the minimal penalty for dying: a death tax that skims off a little of the money you've earned by completing missions and scrounging from abandoned suitcases. If you die, you generally respawn a few metres from where you dropped, ready to plunge back into the zombie fray. It's a generous system, though it minimises any sense of dread or tension.

Game Informer Misery loves company, and Dead Island is best played with friends. Gearing up with three fellow zombie slayers reminded me of the blissful carnage of Borderlands. Power-leveling underdeveloped characters, swapping new loot, and cooperating to survive are all highlights of co-op. When you're standing on the roof of a car surrounded by craven cannibals, having a buddy with a fire axe is a great thing. The drop-in, drop-out co-op demands that all players be at exactly the same point in the main plot in order for quest progress to save, but experience, and loot are always retained. It's in your best interest (and the most fun) to choose a group of friends and stick with them from the beginning, unless you don't mind burning through low-level quests to catch up. Fortunately, enemy levels scale with you, so backtracking isn't a complete waste of time.

Team Xbox Some of you might play the game and wonder why I gave it a 9/10. You might look at the faults that I've outlined and declare "that list is worth more than a one point deduction!" However, look at it like this. I don't believe in a system where you have to deduct certain percentages of points per hang-up or fault you find in a game. For me it's the overall experience while playing through that determines the final score. Yes, there were faults that I discovered throughout my experience with the game. However, every game has faults, and I viewed this through the lens of a gamer. Did I enjoy this game? Absolutely. Did it scare the crap out of me at times? 100 per cent. Was there a real feeling of survival horror (as opposed to just jumping-scares) that has been sadly lacking from other contemporary zombie games? You bet. So looking at the total package that was brought to the table here, this game is too fun to play and too unique an experience to be really nit-picky on the things that didn't go exactly as I'd rather them go.

It takes all kinds of people to survive a zombie apocalypse.


Comments

    Game got rated down for glitches, not many mentions of gameplay...

      Doesn't it bother you the majority of these reviewers have CoD as their benchmark of games?

        Which means what. We just instantly degrade all the review score by 30%(i adjust myself anyway)

        But doing so just leaves you with the same score system and nothing to stand out against anyways.

        It doesn't really matter what their benchmark is, so long as they are consistent in their comparison's.

    It would be interesting to see some of the reviewers revisit the game after the "day one" patch that appears to address a lot of the games technical deficiencies.

    The reviews do seem to be down rating the game mostly due to bugs and glitches.

    Still going to get it and check it out for myself.

      But they really shouldn't have to, there shouldn't need to be a day one patch. Oh well, that's the price we pay in this day and age of always-on internet being an excuse for not finishing a game properly.

        QA guys can't find everything... think of yourself as part of that proud process! Where you pay them for the game to find the bugs...

    Has anyone here played it yet? If so can you tell me how many of the things in this article have been fixed? I only ask because if those issues still exist then I'm not getting it till it's $5 on Steam or somesuch.

    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/08/5-disappointing-things-about-my-first-hours-on-dead-island/

    Even with the bugs (I kicked a beach ball and fell over dead lol) and initial crap up with sending us a dev build, I still find this game incredibly fun and love it. The only thing i'm NOT fond of is how fast weapons degrade. If I could edit some config files to change that, maybe make all weapons degrade 1/2 as slow, then it'd be amazing. The fact each character has a speciality makes them pretty unique to me. Only thing I can't stand is the aussie and new zeland accents. Couldn't they of just gotten some american voice actors for it instead of having horrid ear bleeding accents?

      Or they could have gotten some Australian voice actors instead of fake accents

      My friend if u thought those accents were genuine ur lost. They were american actors, they should've just hired real kiwis and aussies they would have been cheaper and better

    I find the tacked on borderlands leveling and xp system to look and feel like ass, numbers all over your screen only detracts from any sort of immersion.

      you can turn those number displays off you know

    The game is boring and crap, save your money and just play your old zombie games this one ripped off

    im a bit iffy on getting this, the first trailer looked great, but the gameplay videos ive seen make it resemble a lot like DR2 which i didnt particularly like. Will probably wait for a demo to make a decision

    I was under the impression that this game was going to be a downloadable budget game, and I was for sure going to get it.

    Then I learned it was a full-priced disc-based game, and I decided I was going to skip it until it was about 20 bucks.

    So I guess the jury is still out as to whether or not I made the right call...

    Loved game when first trailer was shown, hated the world when I found out it dis not reflect the game, purchased anyway off steam, played all day and loved it.

    Only one issue so far: completed a side quest and the reward was a gun, unfortunately, I was not a high enough level to pick it up off the ground......so it vanished

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