Are you sick of zombies? If you're not, you should definitely play this game. If you are, you should also definitely play this game. Techland, makers of the Call of Juarez series, have released a zombie RPG gem you should check out no matter what (I tend to repeat myself.)

Zombies have been shoved down our throats quite a bit lately. Everywhere you turn, zombies are infecting every form of media they can. Heck, even 'Call of Duty' had zombies in it a few years ago. You might be sick of zombies, tired of seeing half-rotted corpses running at you and trying to remove a part of your large intestine. Where am I going with all this.... the point I'm trying to make is you might be sick of zombies, but you shouldn't let that turn you away from this game because I'd didn't come for the zombies and they aren't the reason I stayed either – well not the entire reason at least.

Buggy McBugs
Chances are you've already read some reviews on 'Dead Island' since its been out since early September, so I will try not to give you a ton of information about what the game is, as its probably been explored to death. What I will talk about is what I think worked and what I think missed the mark. When the game first came out it got a lot of flack for technical issues. Do you remember the days of games coming out 100% complete instead of 70% done? I'm starting to forget them. Games are just too big and complex to be completely free from these types of things without substantial testing and quality assurance. Especially RPGs like 'Dead Island' that allow you to roam pretty much anywhere you like and feature 50+ hours of gameplay. Luckily, since I played this game in November instead of September, I got to miss out on almost all the technical issues thanks to several patches that addressed many issues along with raising the level cap in this week past. In all the hours exploring the island of the dead, I only ran into some weird clipping issues; nothing that broke the game or that even ruined my immersion into the game's world. It would be shame if you passed this experience up because you've heard that it had some technical issues because Techland has done an admirable job in cleaning them up.


Story... nah. Scares.... Yeah a few. Fun... So so much fun
The story here is pretty standard fair. You were on a destination island and zombies decided to join in on the fun... yadda yadda, now you gotta survive. The characters and voice acting are okay, but nothing spectacular. Its the combat and RPG elements that really kept me coming back to slaughter zombies. If you're into MMOs or have a penchant for killing and looting, you're going to absolutely love your time on the island. The combat is also revolutionary. Its probably the best melee combat I've ever experienced in a first person game. You have a choice between digital or analog combat. Digital combat allows you to target various body parts and them mash a button to deal out the pain. Analog also lets you target a specific appendage, but allows you to lock on to it and then use your right analog stick to freely swing your weapon around in the exact direction you input. If you want to slam down on a sleeping zombie, just press up and then down. If you want to tiger-uppercut the flat blobular beast in front of you, just hit down and then up. You can actually cut off or disable specific limbs this way and then watch in amusement as the geek tries to headbutt you, since that's all he's got left. Its really satisfying.

Just like Borderlands – you get to choose between four characters with different styles of fighting. You also have 3 different skill trees you can throw points in to further differentiate your character from the pack. The game is actually at its best when all four characters are in a game at once via CO-OP play. There is a pretty obvious Tank and DPS, etc. MMO players are catching my drift. Although you will be using guns, a lot of the combat, especially early on, will have you using any random sharp or blunt object you can find to take your enemies down. While you put out damage, your weapons will also be taking damage adding to the survival element. You're always going to be looking for new things to kill with. You also do most of your healing via drinks or food you find lying around that you can't carry in your inventory. You're forced to use them right away. This makes running away from a fight to find a source of health replenishment and huge part of the game, which once again adds to the feeling of desperation. The game also features some really great scare moments that made me jump. Its been a while since a game has made me do that.


The only issue I had with this game was how it saves. There is no option to manually save. THERE IS NO OPTION TO MANUALLY SAVE? I just don't see how you could leave this option out of an RPG with this many hours of play. I'd love to be able to jump back to certain moments, and with the amount of things that could possibly go wrong in a game this size, its pretty silly to leave that feature out. Autosave always frightens me and every time I loaded the game back up, all the quests I'd recently picked up flashed on the screen as if I'd just received them which totally freaked me out. It kept making me feel that I'd lost progress somehow. This definitely needs to be patched in if possible.


It's nice to see another RPG entry for this console generation. Its the type of game that's kept my love gaming alive ever since I played 'Legend of the Red Dragon' when I was a kid. Techland doesn't disappoint here by hitting most of the points necessary to make a good RPG and adding in some new ideas, like analog melee combat. If you're looking for an interesting game to ask Santa for this Christmas, I definitely suggest you take this one into consideration.

  • Good Scares
  • First Person Melee Combat is the best
  • Co-op is fantastic and easy to start
  • Tons of gameplay – great value
  • Bugs have been patched
  • Not the most interesting story
  • No manual save feature
Quote: "Techland doesn't disappoint here by hitting most of the points necessary to make a good RPG and adding in some new ideas."
Reviewed by Mike Baggley | 11.17.11

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Dead Island

Deep Silver



US Release
September '11



Players 1
Co-Op 2-4
Online MP 2-4
HD 480-720p
Dolby 5.1
D/L Content