(Disclamer: This is all my opinion. If you would like to tell me yours, comment below and tell me your thoughts. Also, this is just on the base game. I have not played the Ryder White campaign DLC or the Bloodbath Arena DLC.)
Dead Island was released back in September 6th, 2011 (US) and was developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver. This game was announced back in 2006 at E3. Dead Island was put on hold until early 2011 when the re-announcement trailer came out of no where. This is one of the very few things in media that actually sparked an emotion from people. That got people really hyped for the game. It looked like this was to be the next great zombie game. Did it live up to the hype or was it just another zombie game on the list? Well let's find out. (The way my reviews go are that they're cut into different sections. The sections are made up of story, gameplay, graphics/sound, entertainment value, and the final verdict.)
Story: You play as one of the four characters; Xian Mei, Sam B, Logan Carter, or Purna. All of them have their own back stories in the character select screen. It's just to explain what they did before, at the beginning of the outbreak and where they are now. All the characters start out the same and end the same. Honestly, I don't see any difference between the characters as far as the base of the game goes.
The plot of the game is that the island of Banio is overrun by zombies. All of four of the characters are trying to get off the island. Yes I said all four. They do not appear in gameplay as npc's (Non playable character) but in the cut scenes, you see all of them together; Which for me begs the question, why aren't they in the gameplay as npc's? I don't want that but it makes sense in the context of the story. Anyway, our four main characters are trying to get off the island due to the zombies and an incoming typhoon. They get a call from someone in the prison just outside the island; That brings another question to mind, why would they build a maximum security prison (or a prison at all) just outside of a popular vacation spot? The person at the prison is later revealed to be Ryder White, a colonel on the Banoi Island Defense Force. He is at the prison because his wife, Emily, is a doctor that was employed there.
In layman's term, the survivors build an armored truck to drive to the other part of the island, then find a bunker and blow open the entrance to get to a tunnel that leads out into the jungle to the guide and the boat, and finally, go to the prison. All that is over the span of fifteen chapters and three acts.(Warning: If you don't want spoilers to the ending of the game, skip to where it says Here in parentheses) You get to the prison (do some rather pointless missions for the inmates) than you meet with White on the roof of the prison. White has his wife strapped to what looks like a moving dolly; She is infected and Ryder couldn't bring him self to kill his wife. One of the survivors, Jin, releases Emily and she bites him. Jin is shot off the roof and Ryder injects himself with the “cure” he had. The “cure” changes him into a wanna-be tyrant from Resident Evil. You kill him (Boss fight is explained in the gameplay section) and then you fly off in the helicopter; A very weak ending. (Here) Overall, the story is good enough but the ending is so disappointing that the score is going to be hurt drastically.
Gameplay: Your character can use a variety of weapons ranging from baseball bats and machetes to pistols and machine guns. The melee boils down to just spamming the right trigger, occasionally using the LB button to kick the enemy, and finishing them off; Rinse and repeat, The gameplay gets a little more interesting when weapons are introduced in the city part of the game. Guns feel well and after a little while, you can find them quite easily. You'll find new melee weapons that are better than the old; Same for the guns. After a while, I stopped using guns to much because you can only hold a certain amount of ammo. You can hold up to twelve weapons/med-kits and eighteen with a fully upgraded perk. Speaking of perks, every character has their own special perks and fury.
Fury is basically a short burst of power in a way. For example, Xian Mei's fury is increased speed and faster hitting. This was used a couple of times during my play through of the game. I never found to be that useful. The perks are another story; Without these, this game would be insanely difficult. Perks can increase hitting strength, how much stamina you use, increasing fury length, increasing chance of a critical hit, etc. The perks are a great part of Dead Island and the leveling up/perk tree system adds an RPG element to the game that I really like.
Also, weapon mods are a great addition to the game. Being able to mod any weapon I want is great. I love that I can (for some reason) duct tape glass to a baseball bat and beat the shit out of a zombie with it is awesome. You can also add these mods to your firearms. For example, the shock mod will make the bullets shock the zombies and adds more damage. I love the weapon mods and i
Like Left 4 Dead, there are special infected in the game. You have the Ram, a charging enemy (much like the Charger), the Floater (our Boomer equivalent in the game), the Suicider (Also, much like a Boomer but the Suicider causes damage when blown up.), and my favorite, the Butcher (a zombie with no hands but with two sharpened bones coming out of his arms). The Butcher is the only unique one in that list; Disappointing but they all work well in the game.
(Skip this section if you do not want to know about the boss fight at the end) The wanna-be tyrant charges at you with the speed of an infected and tries to hit you. He can knock you back but if you know how to dodge appropriately, this boss rather easy. On another note, he looks stupid. My reaction to when I saw the transformation was a resounding “Are you fucking kidding me?”. My friend and I were playing this game together and he decided to see how good his fury would work on him. He had Purna and if you don't know, Purna's fury is she gets a revolver that has dead accuracy, amazing damage, and unlimited ammo for the time that the fury is enabled. Purna's fury killed him; Literally right at the beginning of the boss fight. That is why I hate this boss and that is why he is so easy to kill.
Gameplay is fun for a while but can get tedious pretty quick. With a lot of weapons, weapon mods, perks, and zombies to kill, this game will keep you occupied for a while.
Graphics/Sound: First the negatives. The lip-syncing in cut-scenes and in game is terrible; Especially in cut-scenes. Also, character models look stiff and plasticity in cut-scenes. Thankfully, the zombies look great. Movement from the infected can be a little quirky some times but other than that zombies move smoothly. The environments are look good and character models in game look good as well. For some reason they messed them up in cut-scenes. One thing I would like to add is that there is also some texture pop in issues.
The sound design is great as well as the voice acting. Well, maybe not great, but good. The lip-syncing doesn't bring done the quality of the voice acting but it just bothers me. Another thing, most voice actors give at least a little emotion when they speak but the faces of the character models doesn't move much and seems inhuman. Character models overall look fine but it's just in the cut-scenes and in the dialogue segments in gameplay that make them look plasticity. Environments look good, zombies look great, and the sound design/voice acting sounds good. Good graphics and sounds overall.
Replay Value: there is no point in playing the game again for the story. When you play it once, you know exactly what is going to happen so their isn't a point. If you just want to relieve some stress and just kill some zombies, this game is perfect for that. I'm not one of those kind of people to just want to go back and play it again to kill zombies. For me, there is no re-playability.
Final Verdict: Dead Island was a huge disappointment for me. I thought this was going to be the next great zombie. Sadly, it wasn't. With the domain of Dead World being bought by Techland and Deep Silver, I hope they do a better job next time.
Dead Island gets a six out of ten. 6/10
On my review scale is an above average game.