With the advent of shows like "The Walking Dead", and movies like "Shaun of the Dead", and "Zombieland", and games like "Left 4 Dead", zombies have become quite popular... possibly helping us forget all about vampires that sparkle...
You are one of the many people on the resort island of Banoi when people start to attack and each other. After learning you're immune to whatever is causing the carnage, you and three others band together to help a small group of survivors to find a way off the dead island...
"Dead Island" is a really enjoyable game to play. The storyline is well thought out and interesting, and while there is a progression to it, it's not a strictly linear story either. The openess of the story, with the main quests and the side quests helps to create a bit of variety, and allows the player to move the story forward at their own pace. I also enjoy this openess because it's actually more realistic- Life doesn't move in a straight series of events. There are detours, which make the whole of the story more engaging for me. The premise is simple, but fleshed out beautifully.
You get to choose to play any of the four main characters- each with different abilities and focus for skills. I chose Xian Mei for her proficiency with bladed weapons. The four characters are different from each other and have interesting back stories that are slowly revealed throughout the game. You come to be emotionally invested in your character's survival
The graphics are just amazing in this game. When I first saw the in-game graphics, my jaw dropped. It's just beautiful. The beach scenes are so peaceful looking and inviting that it lulls you into a state of relaxness that contrasts nicely with the sudden burst of zombie killing and grue. The hotel halways and the jungle are equally great- creating a real moody atmosphere and anticipation to those areas.
I also really liked the zombies- not only did they LOOK great, there was a nice blend of zombies types. The "boss" zombies can be frustrating at the start until you figure out a good strategy for dealing with them. But once you do, they're still a challenge, but not insurmountable. The two most common zombies are "Infected", and "Walkers". "Infected" are the faster zombies as seen in the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, and the "Walkers" are the classic shambling dead. The faster zombies are also a little smarter than the slower ones- able to figure out that going up stairs is better than just endlessly bumping against the side of the pool. I will say though that standing on the edge of a pool and kicking the zombie repeatedly in the head is good for some chuckles.
In "Dead Island" you don't just deal with zombies though. There are some human "baddies" you need to get rid of as well. I found the human enemies more annoying than the undead ones, for one reason:
- The humans can shoot at you.
The game mechanics are pretty easy to figure out as well- and you don't have to remember a whole bunch of button presses to perform special moves, etc. For someone with less than ideal coordination, I found it to be quite user friendly.
One of the things I really enjoyed was the ability to customize, repair, and upgrade your weapons- or create them. One of my favorite weapons was an electrified Katana I created. With every hit, I had a chance to electrify my target- causing them to dance and jiggle like jello as I went in for the kill. I also like the deodorant bomb, and others. This feature really helped to expand the options you could use according to the character you were playing.
You also had the ability to upgrade your characters skills as well, in order to improve your health, lock picking skills, aim, strength, special moves, etc. As with the weapons, it really allows a player to experiment with things to find something that really workks for them.
I can forget the grue. There's lots of it. From the pasty, decaying zombies shambling around, to the gnawed on corpses laying around, and the blood flying around as you hack and slash your way through a clamboring collection of the undead, there is a good amount of blood and grue to satisfy a horror gamer. Throw into that, zombies that explode leaving bits and pieces, and you're in for a circus of bloodshed.
Considering that I only had one serious complaint with this game, I'm going to have to put "Dead Island" into "The Good"