2011-09-12

Dead Island – This Island Is No Vacation

by Yo Snyder

As a fan of first person shooters, RPGs, and zombies I was
really excited when Dead Island fell
into my hands. Truth be told, I knew
very little about the game before it hit shelves, but all of a sudden Dead Island was popping up everywhere
with amazing reviews and gamer friends who said I absolutely had to play it. So
the hype was massive as I sat down to lend a firsthand account of the
awesomeness that is Dead Island. Well, I got about :18 seconds into the
opening scene and realized there is no way I can give an objective review of
this game. Considering the very first
word out of the gate was the “F” word – and no it wasn’t “fantastic” – followed
by more random cursing, screaming Gods name in vain, and “dancers” clubbing, I
thought there is no way I can even tell my friends I played this much less
write about it on The Guide. Then I
remembered my job is to do just that. I
really wrestled with this. With that in
mind, here are my thoughts on Dead Island
for the Xbox 360.

Dead Island is a
blend of Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, and Borderlands all rolled into one bloody package. It is a first
person shooter, an RPG and has the makings for hours of online multiplayer. The
story is your typical zombie adventure. You begin on an island resort where a
zombie outbreak takes place. Your
character is somehow immune to the infection, so you are the lone, brave person
who is placed in charge of taking care of everyone’s tasks i.e. “quests”. I did enjoy the XP/leveling aspect of the
game. It looks nice, right?You get XP for kills, chopping off
limbs, and completing quests. Quests
vary in difficulty from very easy to very hard. You receive XP and rewards for turning them in, and I found myself
really enjoying questing. The tasks
aren’t as repetitive as an MMORPG, and some of the rewards are amazing. One such reward is “plans”. Dead
Island
has a system where you can create things, so as you are out in the
world you pick up items like duct tape or wire and use them to create new
weapons. So far I have created a
baseball bat with saw blades on the end, a molotov, a bomb made from duct tape,
and deodorant (who knew). Much like a
traditional RPG when you level you get a talent point that you can spend on one
of three “talent trees”. You may choose to begin with one of four different
characters who tote a set of skills designed specifically for each. I choose the guns expert seeing as guns tend
to do the most damage to the undead…so I’ve heard. What I didn’t think about is where I will
find bullets on a beach resort. I’ve
found one so far. Seriously; a bullet. The voice acting is so-so and I often found
myself reading the subtitles faster and pressing B to fast-forward to the
action. Graphically the game looks
incredible, that is when everything finishes loading. Many times backgrounds, textures, or even
people would pop up as they loaded. Thankfully the game is so fast-paced that it wasn’t bothersome.  

I’ve spent about 12 hours on this game, and as fan of
Fallout, L4D, and Borderlands I’d say this is really tops over all of those titles. The questing, leveling, weapon customization
and collecting items is done in a way that I could see myself spending a lot of
time on this game. In fact, I had a
chance to log a few hours online with a friend who wasn’t as far along as me,
and I was able to jump right in, help him quest, level myself, grab some items,
and when I was finished with multiplayer, my game saved and put me right back
where I was on the story with my new level and gear. Epic win!…right? Unfortunately, the content is so gnarly that
it’s hard for me to find a place for Dead
Island
. If Dead Island were a person, I would high five him and want to hang
out with him more because he’s awesome. Well, you haven't heard about the locals.I’d also never want him to hang out with my family because he’s vulgar
and has a serious addiction to saying the “F” word. Thankfully, it’s not up to me whether or not
you decide to play Dead Island, we’re
just here to inform and hopefully point in the right direction, so I hope you
take this for what it’s worth and decide for yourself whether or not it’s
something you want to pick up.

Score out of 7:

 Graphics: 5 – Once
the graphics load they are great, but popups do happen.

Sound: 7 – Absolutely terrifying to hear a zombie sneaking
up on you. Amazing quality.

Control:  6 – The
control scheme is easy to pick up on. Toggling weapons is a breeze.

Gameplay: 6 – Great questing, free roam areas, collecting
items, different talent trees and creating weapons make this a solid RPG

Story: 5 – Typical zombie story

Content: 1 – This is the kicker. Chopping off body parts,
excessive language, some sensuality and seas of blood make me pause on this.

Final Score (not an
average of the above scores but an overall score taking into account the
reviewer’s personal opinion): 6 – Overall, I would give Dead Island a 6/7 for the achievement that it is as a video game,
but due to content, cannot really “recommend” it to anyone (which would put it
in a 2 or 3 area for a score). As I stated in the intro, the content is very
mature and quite unappealing. Lots of
language throughout the game and seriously graphic gore gave me pause to even
write about Dead Island. No nudity or sexual content to speak of minus
the fact that you are on a beach resort, so a lot of bikini clad ladies running
around escaping the undead. So more violence and less sex usually means more
parents are okay with picking it up for the kiddos. “Umm, sir this game is very violent with
strong language. “says game store clerk. “Yes, but is there any sexual content?” asks dad. “None that I can say.”replies store clerk.
“Great! I’ll take two copies. One for my 9 yr. old and one for my 12 yr.
old.”…Sadly, that happens more often than not. Something to think about.