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  1. #1
    Monster's Avatar
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    Dead Island Review

    For those of you not in the know, Dead Island is a kinda co-op kinda singleplayer zombie apocalypse game taking place on a resort island and having a major focus on melee weapons (as opposed to something like the Left 4 Dead series that focuses on firearms).

    Released a few days ago with a slew of bugs due to the fact that they 'accidentally released a development version' instead of full retail version on Steam (XBox and PS3 were not affected).

    Anyway, now that you know the basics, let's get on to the details!

    Gameplay - 7/10
    Overall good, but I have a few concerns. First of all, the key bindings seem to be a tad glitchy. I switched my Action key and Kick key, and for some reason I can still pick up items with what is now my Kick key.

    Apart from programming bugs, the major issues I have with the gameplay is that every weapon, whether it's a machete or baseball bat, handles basically the same. There's a slight difference in the range of weapons, and some weapons swing more slowly than others, but overall they don't feel much different. You can switch back and forth between a butcher knife and sledgehammer without missing a beat.

    In addition, some characters seem to be built almost exclusively for Co-op and suffer when played solo. In fact, only one of the characters seems well-suited for solo play. Compare this to, say, Borderlands where each character could spec into something to benefit the team or forgo those skills to build the ultimate single player character. Instead, the current system severely limits your capabilities in solo.

    Plot - 7/10
    Without spoiling too much, I will say that I generally enjoyed the plot. To get the full effect, make sure to do all of the sidequests, as many build up to reveal something rather sinister is afoot. However, I still find it difficult to build any sort of emotional connection to give the plot weight. At some points it tries to manufacture it by having an NPC's friend or family member die right in front of them, but it just feels fake and leaves you wanting to "Press 'Space' to skip this cutscene".

    The game paces well, and is never particularly boring when traveling between objectives. Many people thought that the characters would converse with each other like the Left 4 Dead survivors did, but this isn't the case. During about 5 hours of co-op gameplay the only things I heard my character say to the others happened during cutscenes. The player characters contribute very little to the actual plot.

    Sex Appeal - 8/10
    I had never heard of the Chrome engine before this game so I didn't really know what to expect once I was actually in the game. The scenery is great-looking, but there were floating shrubs / trees / fence posts here and there. Not too big of a gripe, but noticeable up close.

    The player character's all look good, except Xian Mei is a little bit cockeyed.. Sam B, the washed up Rapper is extremely stereotypical and you can tell that they were just telling the voice acter to "sound blacker". It's pretty bad and sounds very forced, but funny in a few places.

    This is where I have to knock off points in this category... NPCs. Compared to the 30 bajillion different skins for the two most common types of infected it feels like there's about 5 female and 5 male faces in the game, minus a few unique ones for plot characters. In a game where there aren't many humans just out and about free-roaming, it's very noticeable. In fact, in beach shack you wake up in after the prologue there are 2 women with the exact same face. And the more holdouts you discover, the more people you see with the same faces over and over and over and over.

    In addition to this, lip syncing, face animation, and voice acting are lackluster at best. I guess I'm just spoiled on Source Engine games and games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion that have stellar face animations and voice acting. It's bad, but it can be overlooked. With the lack of emotional weight put to anything in the plot, it's actually somewhat fitting that the NPCs struggle to emote more than a plank of wood could.

    Online Play - 6/10
    As of writing this the system is very clunky. The game does have a cool feature of throwing a little popup on your screen when other people are near you with similar progress in the game. However joining random people's games is a terrible idea, especially since the only mic option appears to be 'Hands Free'. It can get loud and obnoxious very quickly playing with random people. I would like the option to limit the functionality of this to only tell me when people on my friends list are nearby.

    Joining a game in progress hosted by another friend is also a little hit or miss. Steam doesn't always seem to know whether or not you're hosting an online game. The best bet is to create a lobby and start from there.

    Overall - 7/10


    Final Thoughts
    After disregarding the launch debacle, it comes out to be a pretty decent game. It is definitely better to play cooperatively with people you know, like your friends here at iO Gaming! Expect around 20-25 hours of gameplay to finish the main quest the first time (the game allows for a 2nd playthrough with the same character) depending on whether you do all the side quests or not and how much time you spend dicking around.
    Last edited by Monster; 09-08-2011 at 11:39 AM.

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  2. #2
    KRosen's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    great review! glad somebody could pin some actual merit to the elements of the game, rather than just say either "BUGS!!" or "ZOMBIES!!!"

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  3. #3
    NiCKYNiTRO's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Great review dude. Looking forward to playing it this weekend. I'll post this up on the Facebook page.
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    NiCKYNiTRO is offline

  4. #4
    Monster's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NiCKYNiTRO View Post
    Great review dude. Looking forward to playing it this weekend. I'll post this up on the Facebook page.
    Sweet! Thanks Nicky!

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  5. #5
    bowzer's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Great review. Im still loving the game.
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  6. #6
    Monster's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Yeah, it's pretty great, especially 2nd playthrough because you find the most goddamn ridiculous gear and mods.

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  7. #7
    bowzer's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    I still haven't got co op going. I hope its fixed today.
    bowzer is offline

  8. #8

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    Re: Dead Island Review

    I wasn't upset with the launch thing. It's a launch, mistakes happen. I haven't put too many hours in on Dead Island, but it's fun.
    agentmanningctu is offline

  9. #9

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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Nice ill have to try it
    prelude2003 is offline

  10. #10
    xTitan69x's Avatar
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    Re: Dead Island Review

    Wanna see it
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