|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: September 6, 2011|
|Players: 1, 2-4 (Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol|
Still, despite the game's lack of any kind of legitimate scares or impactful narrative, there is quite a bit to enjoy in Dead Island. There are enough story missions and side quests to keep you playing for at least 20 hours. And if you want to max out your skills trees, there will be plenty of zombies to help you grind out that XP. The only problem here is that the game doesn't give you that much incentive to level up, as zombies level up with you and your level doesn't have much bearing on anything aside from unlocking a few upper-echelon weapons.
Technically speaking, Dead Island is a mixed bag. The open world has a few nice areas, but zombie animations are repetitive, and some of the vistas are quite sparse. But if you are a gore fan, there are dynamic kill animations, so at least that's something. Similarly, the audio is great in places, but some wooden voice acting and repetitive zombie sounds keep this game's sound design from being as good as it could have been.
Dead Island is a good game. But if you pick it up and are expecting something radically different from what you're used to, you'll be sorely disappointed. The RPG twist on the genre is fairly cool, and does result in an experience that is longer than you might expect, but the game's utter lack of story and reliance on pre-established genre conventions make it a pretty big missed opportunity. Dead Island may be a nice vacation, but it's far from the most memorable trip you've ever taken. Yelp it next time.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer