It all comes down to this last ‘Dead Island’ post. After two hours of single-player action and two sessions of co-op (amounting to twelve hours of gameplay), my co-op group hasn’t finished the game. Will I buy ‘Dead Island’? Extend my rental? Or bring that puppy back to the RedBox and hope that I get a coupon to rent a better game down the road?
To be quite honest, especially after re-reading my first two posts, I’m really surprised at how I’m starting to come around on this game. Methinks this might be why developers don’t do demos very often, since even the retail versions of many games take a little bit to get going. Of course, the best games don’t need a demo and can get going right off the bat, but ‘Dead Island’ isn’t in that category. Regardless, some good strides and only a few medium-sizes steps back were experienced in this, my final review session.
First things first, we really dove into the mighty sea that is “weapon modification” in ‘Dead Island’. ‘Dead Rising’ did this, with ridiculous results, but in ‘Dead Island’ the combining of multiple discoverable items to make a super version of your weapon, or a completely new weapon, is much more reasonable and useful. From the electrically charged bladed weapon to the duct tape deodorant bottle bomb, any time we were able to mod a weapon, we did, and it often came in handy. I also liked the fact that Molotov cocktails weren’t just lying around; you have to make them.
As my co-op team entered into Act II, by leaving the resort and hitting the town, things got significantly more dire and exciting. It started raining (of course) and zombies were everywhere. We even found our first firearms (pistols). Needless to say, things were looking up. Well, at least for those of us at the helm of our poor characters.
Unfortunately, the “Ooh, it’s raining now and gonna get exciting” feeling quickly faded. Even though the atmosphere seemed to lend itself to a more enticing experience, the missions were still fairly humdrum. The section where you (SURPRISE!) go through a sewer was so unfrightening that everyone in my group commented on it. How do you mess up a zombie sewer scene? And the new “special infected”? I’m sure you’ve read, but I can confirm, that they are straight out of ‘Left 4 Dead’. There’s a Ram (Tank), a Floater (Boomer) and a few others that do basically similar things. Even the nods to other games are a little on the lame side, like the achievement entitled “Right 4 Life.” Ugh.
We stopped after a large checkpoint, and the future of our ‘Dead Island’ career was discussed.
To sum up my final impressions:
- Weapons modifications are cool
- Missions not getting worse
- Firearms are a welcome addition
- Unfrightening ZOMBIE SEWER SCENE!
- Missions aren’t getting better
- Story isn’t getting any better
- Blatant borrowing from better games
So, what’s the final verdict? This is a tricky one. My two co-op pals said that this game had certainly grown on them, and that they were seriously considering buying it right now. I was a bit shocked until one seemed to come to his senses. He noted that there were a ton of great (sounding) and big titles coming out in the next few weeks and months (‘Gears of War 3’, ‘Rage’, ‘Halo: Anniversary’, ‘Uncharted 3’). These ought to hold our interests until ‘Dead Island’ goes on sale, or a cheap copy can be found on eBay or something. I would have to agree. I think I’d like to see how things wrap up for our heroes, and I sure would like to find that machine gun. I also have a few more mods that sound groovy, and I only got about nine achievements… OK, I’d say that, while the game’s parts are certainly sub-par, the overall experience is very amusing. When it goes on sale, and after I’ve played the above four other titles, I’ll seriously consider picking it up.