I never ever thought I’d come back to Dead Island. I mean, after playing through as the blade-wielding glass cannon Xian and getting murdered in half a second whenever anything more than a basic zombie slapped me, I was pretty much done. But, my desire for open-world zombie re-murdering was too strong, and I found myself digging up the disc to play. Since I’ve been playing, I noticed a few new things. Things that make the game a little easier to play, yet don’t change the fact that Dead Island’s negatives outweigh its positives.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first so I don’t have to touch on them later.
- Human enemies kill you in less than a second if they get one hit on you.
- Infected runners can still teleport behind you because of the hitbox glitch.
- Zombies are randomly and inconsistently immune to flinch.
- Most if not all quests are busywork.
- Most if not all of the characters are fugly and forgettable.
- Most if not all of the plot is crap.
- The ending is disappointing and stupid.
Okay! So, here are the good parts, the things I’ve noticed. The first thing is that Sam B. is basically meant for singleplayer. He’s the tank, he’s got great damage and crowd control, he’s got utilities for taking on dozens of zombies at once, and he’s the only character that has a defense boosting ability. Up to about 30% defense against melee and bullets, each a separate ability. He also gains a passive, maddeningly slow health regeneration ability early on, so if you ever need to heal, just plop down the controller and eat a sandwich. 1st level is 10% a minute, so don’t get too hurt, mkay?
I mean, look at the other characters. They have no defensive or health relevant abilities. The sense I’m getting from this is that if you’re going to play Dead Island solo, you either go with Sam B. or suffer the consequences of playing a support with no one to tank for you. Seriously. Purna needs guns, which don’t come until halfway through the second area. Xian has crazy damage output and stamina, but is easily locked down. And football man throws things. I don’t even know what he does. I don’t even care. He might have health related abilities, but who plays football man? I don’t even know his name. Geeze.
The resort area is the only fun place to be. Personally, I find that I’m only ever enjoying myself when I’m there. The city is big, clustered, and uninteresting. I’ve died to the human punks more than anything else simply because they deal a third of your health in a single hit. And they’re not content to hit you only once. The jungle… I left that place as quickly as possible. Difficulty scaling is somewhat of a bitch, particularly when you’re dealing with Butchers. Them guys don’t even flinch. There are some other, more compact areas, but they’re hardly worth mention. I’m looking at you, research facility and prison island.
Conclusion? Dead Island is SO CLOSE to being a fun game that it may as well be. If not for the frustration caused by the later areas, I’d have no real complaints. You know, considering there are no instant-kill mobs in the resort. I guess that’s all I have to say for now.