A new game has been completed which means it's time to write another review. In actuality, I completed this game much earlier but due to a technical glitch (which will be explained further), it prolonged my actual redemption of the completed achievement. Now that I've completed the final boss, this game finally deserves an entry into my blog. The game that I will be reviewing is the zombie-sandbox apocalypse: Dead Island!
The Premise: Set on the fictional island of Banoi (located off the coast of Papua New Guinea to those who want to get technical), a strange cannibalistic virus is spreading throughout the island infecting the many inhabitants, including the travelers and guests at the island's popular hotel hotspot - the Palms Resort Hotel.
What begins as a typical night of parties and relaxation at the resort quickly becomes a zombie-filled nightmare. Played through the perspective as one of four diverse characters: the hotel receptionist Xian Mei, tough-as-nails hotel security Purna, former NFL star and alcoholic Logan and one-hit wonder rap star Sam B. When the game begins in a drunken haze (through the eyes of the main character), the user discovers that the hotel is under attack and that zombies are running wild throughout the many floors. What you soon learn to discover is that the island has been infected and the remaining survivors are scattered throughout trying to survive the outbreak.
|The playable characters of Dead Island (from L to R): Purna, Sam B, Xian Mei and Logan Carter|
While the story is not about saving the scattered survivors from peril, the game focuses on the adventures of the main characters trying to survive the outbreak and discover the true meaning behind this virus. From sandy beaches of the resort to the murky depths of the sewers, the player will get to explore the many iconic landmarks and areas on the island to see truly how far this virus has spread.
Where To Play: Since this is a multi-platform game, you can play Dead Island on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In terms of this review, I played the game on the Xbox 360.
The Good: Early on, I came to the opinion that stayed true throughout the story: Dead Island is the most realistic zombie game ever I've played. This may be confusing to some but if you think about it (...like really think about!) then you would agree that compared to other zombie games that are currently out there (i.e., Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead), Dead Island is more grounded in "realism." While there are many outrageous and preposterous components (i.e., like the different types of zombies), the game tried to be realistic. Ammo would be scare, guns wouldn't be lying around to casually pick up, travel takes time especially when crossing an island and characters do tend to die in a zombie apocalypse.
Another positive would be the various weapons. In staying tuned to the "realistic" element, the game had many options for the player to use as a weapon that they could find anywhere on the island. The only time the weapons became outrageous was when you can upgrade to even more powerful and dangerous fire power. Just be careful when using guns as ammo is scarce early on and you won't be able to restock until the enemies start getting more powerful.
The scenery and environment in Dead Island is also a positive point of the game. In a sand-box type game like this, having an open and diverse world to explore helps to keep things fresh and interesting. While I didn't like certain areas like the sewers, I loved exploring the city and the resort to find awesome extras and interesting stories that were developing all around the main characters. I just wish that there was more access to the island instead of keeping it contained in specific areas.
The Bad: Before I had purchased Dead Island, I read an article stating that originally gamers were experiences glitches and problems when playing the game. An update was available so when I started, there weren't many problems affecting my experience; however, I still experienced some glitches at major points. Problems included being stuck behind objects, a mysterious force keeping me from climbing stairs and being attacked from enemies when I was clearly out of reach. These issues were fine but my biggest negative was that when I passed the game on co-op with a friend, the game would not let me save any of the completions (i.e., chapters and missions) and actually FROZE once I defeated the final boss. Suffice it to say that I didn't get the achievement(s) and had to play the ENTIRE fourth act again during my storymode to finally pass the game.
I'm throwing this out there right now - I don't expect literary level dialogue in video games but enough where I don't laugh every time the main characters talk during the cut-scenes. Whenever Logan, Sam, Purna or Xian opened their mouths to talk, it would always be trying to throw out one-liners or saying exactly what was on their minds. The saving grace was the dialogue of the supporting characters because you dealt when them face-to-face. I liked the cut-scenes but this was a game where the dialogue didn't propel me to care about the main characters.
The final aspect that I didn't like about the game is the overall development of the story. Being a sandbox game, you could take your leisurely time to complete the main missions. However, I noticed that when I did complete important missions to develop the storyline, nothing major or important would develop. The characters would have to complete a chapter and you would find out secondhand from another individual that something developed or that a character died. While you are privy to seeing things develop, I felt that learning the mystery behind the zombie virus and experiencing the major twists wasn't as meaningful as finding the clues and developments directly through experiences.
The Results: 7.5/10!
While I really did like Dead Island as a whole, there were a couple of issues that should have been tended to before the game was launched mainstream. The weapon selection and environments brought this title to another level and the missions/sub-missions kept me interested throughout the storymode. The main characters were a tad dull and lifeless, the dialogue was simple at best and the glitching hindered my process when trying to complete significant landmarks. In terms of this review, Dead Island would have received a much higher score than it did, but I cannot excuse the fact that the game glitched and froze at a pivotal moment when I completed the game. For those of you who think this problem was console-based, it wasn't - I checked. I can forgive the issue but I can't forget, especially when I had to play the entire Act IV all over again!
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