Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dead Island Review

This game sucks. Not the best intro to any game I’ve written about, but it’s a true statement. Dead Island is buggy as hell, is graphically disgusting; has shitty voice acting and the worst story I’ve had to endure in a long time. All that said it’s still some of the most fun I’ve had this summer. It’s terrible in so many areas, but get a group of friends together and it’s very enjoyable. 

The opening cutscene sets the tone for Dead Island. As one of the four main protagonists Sam B. spits hot fire with his hit single, “Who do you voodoo bitch?” Dead Island straddles the line between all out goofiness, and trying to be extremely serious. I never felt any particular emotion, one way or another; I just played the hand the game dealt me.

Four survivors of this zombie island apocalypse are immune to the outbreak – choose wisely as each of the four really play differently…and by that I mean they don’t at all. Each stereotype -- I mean playable character has an innate ability, like throwing objects, completely useless. Or sharp weapon proficiency, just as useless.

As you hack and slash through zombie hoards you level your character, and spent skill points like any RPG. Dead Island sprinkles in tons of different zombie game tropes. We’ve got some Dead Rising, Left for Dead, and Resident Evil all in this piece (sorry my inner Same B is coming out.) It lacks the polish that those games feature, and doesn’t have the role playing depth that a game like Fallout has either. The combat is solid though, if not unspectacular. And I longed for a block button. Still, slicing a meat sack’s head off in one swing never gets old.

Gripes aside killing the undead is entertaining with friends and Dead Island nails this aspect. Two to four drop-in-drop-out co-op is available, and it adds way more to Dead Island’s appeal. To the point I refused to play the majority of the game alone. There’s some fun going it solo, but playing with companions is far superior.

I'm sure a pipe can handle this.

It’s still hard to gloss over the technical issues. There are game breaking bugs that don’t allow story progression; looted items fall through the floor (I should never have chosen the throwing expert, I’ve lost so many good weapons), and on more then one occasion, while playing co-op I’ve opened some kind of game crashing black hole that repeatedly killed me and my partner – don’t know how I did it but it happened twice.

The issues are endless and on paper Dead Island is a bad game. And you know what, ultimately Dead Island is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. For every one good feature there’s about ten technical hurdles that need to be crossed. Soup to nuts, killing zombies hasn’t become stale in the pantheon of gaming and killing zombies with a group of buddies is still satisfying.

Rose-colored glasses need to be worn to get the most out of Dead Island. It’s a technical manure pile of a game, but it smells good sometimes…if that makes any sense. All people care about is if it’s fun, for the most part, yeah it’s fun. Just stop complaining, grab some friends, and kill some brain eaters. 

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