Dead Island: Definitive Edition – A Review

It’s about time I reviewed the lengthy and worthwhile video game that is Dead Island. It was released to what I would call mixed reviews. Particularly given the gruesome and controversial trailer that showed a family torn apart by zombies before jumping from the balcony of a massive hotel.

The expectation was a linear zombie apocalypse game in the luxurious Banoi resort. It was good looking graphically. Today players can indulge in the upgraded Definitive Edition which helps bolster graphics for modern consoles among other improvements. What we got in return wasn’t quite to peoples expectations – including my own – about the games narrative and structure. Ultimately proving to be a very long game with over 30 hours gameplay in game, easily.

What this meant was the resort area of the game, looking quite exotic, was only one map in what would turn out to be several huge maps. Don’t get me wrong this was a hidden surprise which I thought made the game more enjoyable. As I played I did become bored and at the time didn’t enjoy the story and found it long, boring and too much effort.

It wasn’t until years later after its initial release in 2011 that I played the game, and really enjoyed it. I think my naïve attitude during my initial playthrough was going into it with certain expectations rather than just exploring and enjoying what happened next. Those playthroughs years later allowed me to better understand the story, the characters and ultimately enjoy the game for what it was – essentially quite a big open world, with many possibilities.

In 2015 Dying Light was introduced which took many ideas, themes, weaponry etc from Dead Island and built an entire game which was enjoyable. However, it doesn’t have a nice looking world, being set in the slums. Dead Island does have a nice looking world which made the game all the more enjoyable.

I would liked to have seen more interesting side events or side missions in the game – Dead Island – because once an area had been completed and you have helped all the survivors, then you are pretty much seeing the same things over and over again. But, the innovative weapon crafting and management system make the game fun, with thousands of weapons combinations and creations available to you. This made the zombie killing a lot of fun.

The game also boasts a fantastic zombie gore system, each kill will be different. The weapon you choose impacts the damage to the undead. For example, using a machete can decapitate a zombie or cut its arms off, whereas an electric baton will literally electrocute them. I hadn’t seen this sort of thing in Xbox games before, nor had I seen it in any zombies games. Now though, the disintegration of zombies is a part of big names like Dying Light and of course Dead Island 2 – recently released.

Playing through the campaign solo is a lot of fund, with a lot of world to explore and a lot of people and zombies to kill. In unique ways. However, I played the entire campaign with a friend a few years ago and the experience is a lot better. This is a fantastic game to play coop. I encourage you to do so with a friend so that both of you can enjoy the experience together. You can also benefit from having a teammate revive you during those difficult missions. Get a buddy!

Overall the game is good, despite my initial reactions. Perhaps everyone needs time to adjust to something, or maybe it was just such a good game that I needed time to appreciate it. I think this is the case. I would say it turned out to be one of the better games of the decade, and one of the best zombie apocalypse games to grace consoles.. I am extremely excited to play Dead Island 2, although at £60 I will wait until it is reduced or on sale!

5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Horror; great atmosphere, haunting, scary, challenging.

Visually: holds up well, good animation, good movements, lovely world textures.

Story; well-developed, thought provoking, intriguing, sustained and innovative.

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