You Know, Dead Island Isn’t Too Bad
“Dead Island, “to me, has always been a sub-par game hiding behind an amazing ad campaign. But since “Resistance 3″ and “Deus Ex” did such a good job swaying me from indifference, I’ve been in a generous mood, so I decided to pick up Techland’s zombie shooter and try it out. The verdict? It’s nowhere near the kind of success story that “Human Revolution” is, but for the third time in the last few months, I’m willing to admit I judged too quickly. “Dead Island” is a fun game.
This really is “Fallout 3″ with zombies, and I admit that’s something new. The feel is pure RPG: open world, optional side quests, branching skill trees; all on a smaller scale, mind you, but smartly implemented. “Dead Island” is the truest simulator of living in a zombie apocalypse I’ve ever seen. “Left 4 Dead” mainlines panic and desperation into your veins in bursts, but there’s nothing coherent underneath it. “Dead Rising” is more persistent, but it’s cluttered with arcade-y tropes like boss fights and collection quests. “Dead Island,” to its credit, stakes a unique claim in this crowded market by rendering the moment-to-moment experience of zombie infestation with something approaching verisimilitude. Weapons break, fights overwhelm, resources dry up. The fun of the game is testing your ability to improvise, work with limited means, and get creative.
Massive kudos must also be dished out for the smoothly implemented co-op system. “Dead Island” quietly scans the interwebs as you play, and if it comes across another player who’s roughly in your same situation, it proposes a painless merging of your two games. Clearly, Techland has strong feelings about how their game is meant to be experienced.
Now with that said, let’s not kid ourselves: the game is rough around the edges. The graphics range from pretty decent to muddy as hell, the hit detection can be a little strange during melee combat, and the story full-on sucks. The game also gets off on an awkward foot and takes a few minutes to right itself. A masterpiece, this is not. But there’s a gooey center of real fun in “Dead Island,” and what really impresses me is that Techland managed to make a mark on the zombie genre that they can claim as their own. This is not the best zombie game ever made—that honor still goes to “Left 4 Dead”—but “Dead Island” has something real to offer. That alone is worth commending.
you girls sellin cookies?