Review: Dead Island

by Steven Williamson on 19 October 2011, 12:06 3.0

Tags: PC, Deep Silver

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It's you, an island paradise and hordes of groaning zombies

After a six year wait, Techland’s Dead Island has finally arrived, eagerly anticipated by critics and gamers alike due to the teaser trailer that caused a storm when it was first released. However, like many of the seemly lifeless corpses that litter the beaches and boulevards of the apparently tranquil island resort of Banoi– appearances can be deceptive.

The teaser trailer, as you might remember, showed the death of a young girl and her turning upon her family as a zombie in reverse, with appropriate cinematic use of slow motion. It was artistic, gritty, emotional, and above all - full of potential. Dead Island looked to be a horror game for the thinking, feeling gamer.

Unfortunately, the three words above aren’t the first adjectives that jump to mind when you actually get into Dead Island. Instead, the first thing you’re likely to notice is the sheer lack of polish on the game, despite day one patches and fixes galore. Issues are everywhere, whether it’s the graphical shortcomings of the Chrome 5 engine or even just pathing, animation or objective marker errors – the player always feels at the whim of a random number generator, deciding whether or not the breadcrumbs will lead them the right way, or if the NPC will even reward them.

The single player campaign offers a solid 20+ hours of entertainment, provided the first few hours don’t put you off. The opening sequences of the game take place at a breakneck pace, making no pretence that the focus is action rather than horror, and that the closest thing to survival you’ll have to do is forage for the occasional soft drink.