Oh how I was fooled. Shame on me, blinded by the beauty of Dead Island’s amazing trailer. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only person fooled by the breath taking trailer that debuted Dead Island’s arrival to our consoles. Back before I read video game reviews to understand what I was investing my money in, I watched the trailer for Dead Island. It immediately captured my emotions, I wanted to be there. I wanted to be in that Zombie infested world, fighting for my family, I wanted to save that little girl. The trailer was so hyped and I was drinking the kool-aid, Dead Island was the next best game to come out, the future of all zombie genre games. It was hard not to, watch the trailer below and tell me this doesn’t look like one of the best games ever to come out.
Just watching it again, makes me wish this game was SOMETHING like the trailer. ANYTHING. That raw emotion of a father fighting for his family was never captured in the game, no tears were shed, just cheesy one liners and repeated missions. Dead Island left me….well dead inside, instead of hungry for more like a zombie drooling over brains.
After watching the trailer, I eagerly awaited the release of Dead Island, but, I was so naive. I skimmed reviews before the game launched and foolishly ignored the experts warnings. This game isn’t the trailer, this game doesn’t have a story, this game is nothing like what you are expecting, this game is not what was advertised. To put it into terms where some of you might understand my disappointment more, imagine this scenario. It’s like going to Vegas where they hand out cards of escorts otherwise known as hookers. My friends and I began collecting the cards as the Mexicans passed them out on the street to us around every corner, we began collecting them and sorting them like Pokemon cards. We agreed that an escort named “Marnie” was the hottest. Well imagine if Marnie (think of the hottest girl you know) agreed to come to your hotel room and you hear a knock on the door. You nervously tuck your boner in your waistline (great feeling) and open the door only to find a girl that looks nothing like Marnie (picture the ugliest girl you know), oh and she still wants to be paid the full price. That’s what Dead Island did, fooled me with the most beautiful trailer and then gave me product that made my boner disappear.
The game itself isn’t terrible, it’s just not what I was expecting.
You are given the choice of four different characters, none of which are remotely interesting or have a unique story. Whoever you pick it doesn’t matter, the story will turn out the same way, but the story starts on the fictional island of Banoi, which is supposedly located by the coast of Papua New Guinea. The island is a vacation resort, and after the entire island parties like it’s 1999 during one night, you wake up to find most of the island trashed with zombies running around. (I assume your character is pretty hungover too)
You fight your way through hordes of zombies with anything you can find to bash, slash and cave their heads in or off. The combat isn’t bad, and the unique weapon customization was pretty cool. For example you could take a battery pack and an electric taser, strap it to a baseball bat or metal pipe and you’ve created an electric weapon capable of bashing the zombies as well as shocking them. That part of the game was fun, and the fact that the weapons broke down after using them was a realistic part of the game that kept you inventing new weapons. The four characters do interact with each other throughout the “story” which was cool. The majority of the game is spent on the island, doing side missions for survivors and gathering supplies. They are pretty boring, and some are pointless. One has you searching for a teddy bear to comfort a survivor who is like 20 years old and another has you searching for booze for a bunch of spring break kids who have barricaded themselves into a hut who just want to drink, do drugs and have an orgy in their final days.
The only heart tugging moment of the game is when you meet a mechanic and his daughter. The mechanic will build you an armored car to help you escape the resort area as long as you bring him the correct items and parts he needs. Upon completion, the mechanic is infected by the zombie virus while his daughter begs to stay by his side, ultimately your group and her father convince her to leave before her father turns into a zombie.
There are a few different types of zombies and enemies you will meet in Dead Island. Of course you have the regular slow walkers who over populate the island, then there are the exploders who resemble the girl from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when she ate too many sweets and turned into a giant blueberry. There are also the “rams” who are strong zombies who bash things, and the screechers who seem to run on nothing but broken protruding limbs and take the most damage to kill. Believe me, if you hear a blood thirsty scream, you have about three seconds before you have one of them on top of you. There are a few others, like ones that bubble up and spitters. (no, not those kind of spitters).
All along during the campaign you are listening and following directions of “The Voice” not the tv show but a mysterious man that says you are immune to the zombie plague and that he can rescue you, IF you come to him. (Shocker). He wants you so he can cure his bitten wife or so he tells you, so like the good samaritan that you are, you walk through the jungle to his location, a high security prison. BUT, before you reach the prison you discover the source of the infection. The indigenous tribe on the island had a mutation in their blood, lucky for you, you discover one of the pre-mutation tribe members and rescue her only to stumble upon a lab that was studying the virus. You collect a “vaccine” and head off to the prison. After bartering with some prisoners to let you pass to “The Voice” now known as Ryder White who is an Colonel for the Australian army, you are hit by knockout gas. Waking up betrayed by White (another shocker) he now has the vaccine thanks to you.
Now, racing to the rooftop to catch White, he holds you at gunpoint until the mechanic’s daughter releases his zombie wife in which she bites him. Shooting her (how hard it must of been to shoot his wife, LOL just kidding I’m sure it’s every married man’s fantasy to put down their wife) he injects himself with the “vaccine”. Oops, looks like it was a mutation sample that speeds up the process! After silencing, “The Voice” (see what I did there?) you and your crew escape the island. The End.
I know that written out, that seems like a fun adventure and good story, but the cut scenes were awkward and poor voice acting killed it. Lack of character depth and relationships made this game impossible to get attached to like some Tinder girl you hook up with, chances are you don’t want to play it again.
Dead Island isn’t a bad game, it just isn’t what it was advertised as. There was no drama filled story line with emotions running high for survival or a family man doing everything to rescue his family. It was a “beat em up” first person weapon brawler with little dialog save for the zombies screaming “Me hungry for brains.” If the trailer was honest, then I might not of been so disappointed. Still, there was some fun in the game. I highly recommend playing it with a friend because the single player would be much better with two players. At least then, you can do pointless missions together.
Dead Island had most things a zombie game should have, except presentation, polish and a story better than a fifth grader could write. Final score….7/10.