Banoi, a tropical paradise for tourists to get away from their everyday troubles with beautiful views and a relaxing atmosphere–or is it? What once was a nice place to visit is now overrun by zombies that have destroyed the island and made it a living hell for the trapped tourists. And there is your welcome and introduction to Dead Island; a first-person, open-world role-playing game sprinkled with some melee combat and shooting.
The story, depending on how engrossed you become, is a fairly simple one. On the island of Banoi, a zombie outbreak has overrun the island and you play as one of the four survivors that are immune to the virus, trying to figure out what went wrong. The story can end up seeming secondary since this game is more about the gameplay and experience you have. You’re left with endless opportunities to explore the island and see what comes your way along your journey.
The island is rather big and seems overwhelming initially, but it is broken up into different areas that you venture to throughout the story. You are left with free reign to either follow the story missions, or spend some time exploring, crafting new weapons or helping radom survivors you encounter. The missions, whether main or side, are pretty diverse in tasks so it tries to keep things fresh. Eventually you will reach a point where you will run out of side missions in a certain area and have to progress with the main missions if you get too sidetracked.
There are no shortage of weapons either, so you will have plenty to choose from at your disposal. First weapon type is guns. These aren’t the main weapon of the game, since you’re encouraged to use melee-type weapons and craft new ones, but they can be useful at times, especially at range. They aren’t overpowered though, so it’s not like you’ll be wanting to use the same gun for the entire game. Where’s the fun in that? The main attraction here is the melee-based weapons and the hand-to-hand combat, which I much preferred over shooting. You can crush a zombie to pieces with anything ranging from a hammer, cleavers, paddles or even slice them up with knives.
Be sure not to get too attached to the same weapon though as your melee weapons will degrade over time the more you use them. You will have opportunities though to loot just about everything on the island and find items that can be used to upgrade your weapons at workbenches scattered throughout the island. Repairs can also be made at these workbenches, bringing your worn out weapons back to their glory.
Completing missions and random challenges will also gain you XP as you make your way through the game leveling up your character. This means you will have the chance to equip your character with different skills within their skill tree. Most upgrades depend on which character you chose, but generally the upgrades are related to weapon bonuses, survival skills, health or agility. So choose wisely and make choices that best fit your play style.
Graphically the game can be hit or miss. There’s times where the island of Banoi looks amazing with tons of detail and the way the weather cycles, but other times textures can look a little blurry, especially up close. Textures also take some time to load in certain areas, which can take you out of the experience a little bit. The sounds are pretty good, especially when it comes to the zombie “voice-acting”. The regular character’s voice acting though can be spotty and cheesy at times, but it’s not horrible or cringe-worthy. The music is very good though and will sound great through a surround sound system along with all the grotesque sound effects throughout the game.
Overall, Dead Island is a nice enjoyable experience through a zombie infected island that should get you somewhere in the range of 20-25 hours of gameplay. Don’t be expecting a masterpiece here or your expectations will be deflated, but either way you’re in for a fun ride of zombie slashing gore. So contact your travel agent, bring your best swimsuit, sunglasses and some sunscreen as you’re in for the vacation of a lifetime.
- Nice open-world environment
- Melee combat against zombies is a blast
- Visuals and graphics could be better, glitchy at times
- Characters I never really cared about