Posted September 17, 2011 by Chris Reincher in Video Game Reviews

Dead Island Review

Who do you VooDoo?

Developer: TechLand

Publisher: Deep Silver

Players: Single Player, Co-op Online

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Rating: M

[reviewed on the PS3 version]

BeastNotes Version:

Dead Island is a great game. Does it have its fair share of bugs? Yes! Could this game have done better if it was delayed for a bit? Yes! Is Dead Island fun? Yes! Dead Island is a first person open world adventure game that, yes , you are apparently immune to a zombie outbreak. If you have about 20-35 hours to burn, want to kill thousands of zombies, and want to experience something fun with friends then this game is for you.


Dead Island is set in the fictional island of Banoi, located off the coast of Papua New Guinea. For some reason I thought that it was a real place.

The main characters wake up in the Palms Resort Hotel to find the island attacked by zombies and for some reason, they are immune to whatever is making people into zombies. As they try to find and help other survivors, they must also find a way to escape the island and find out what started the outbreak as well.

For some reason I feel that the story in this game is somewhat entertaining, but Resident Evil still has the crown in the Story department in zombie games. As you go through the story you will find out where the outbreak started, and why you are immune to the disease.(which is actually pretty simple lol)

There are four characters in Dead Island that you can play as. Logan, the ex-football player. Purna, the ex-cop. Sam-B, the washed up one hit rapper. And Xian Mei, employee at the Palms Resort.

Each of these characters have a back-story that I will promise be forgotten once you get into the game. The game never digs deep into the characters, so you will eventually forget why the playable characters are trapped the first place.


Dead Island hand down has the best backdrop I’ve seen all year. Now of course, we still have MAJOR games to be released in 2011, but I will give TechLand some props for the environments  in Dead Island.

This game really feels like a tropical resort. When you are on the beach/resort area, you will see huts, bars, zombies in bikini’s, and something that I really liked is that this island has a ghetto area. So in this area you’ll come across looters and thugs. There is also a jungle type area in this game that looks equally amazing. Something that really amazed me it that this game is HUGE, and being as big as it is, there are so many areas in this game that it you would think that many areas are copy and pasted, but that is not the case in Dead Island.

Now sometimes the beauty of this game will be smudged when you load into a new area because of the texture pop in’s. Sometimes it might be small but a lot of the time it’s fairly noticeable. And when I say it can get bad…it gets BAD.

Dead Island is plagued with bugs. The PC players had it worse because they were accidentally given the developer copy when the bought the game. Sometimes when playing a game, the game UI would say that it saved my game play but I found it that I may lose some progress the next time I load the game. TechLand has released patches for the game since release and by the time you read this many of the problems may be fixed, but I feel that maybe if the game was pushed back to January of 2012 it would have played a lot better than what we have now.

My last gripe with the game is that the characters models feel very stiff and it is very noticeable when you play with friends. The characters seem dead when they move around and being that the environment in this game one of my favorites so far this year (Pun completely intended), I was hoping that we would get more life in the characters.


Do you love getting jumped by zombies? No? Well it’s going to happen a couple of times in this game. I really recommend that you should play this game with other players. Sometimes you will be overwhelmed with enemies and having a buddy there to help you out will add to the experience.

Now playing this game I get a Fallout like experience with it. You have an open world to play with and you can accept side quests and main quests.  You can do them in what ever order you please, or you can just go and kill zombies and explore the island for better weapons. This game is in 1st person view, so that may or may not be a set off for you. I feel that the 1st person view works well with this type of game because you have to always have your head on a swivel.

In this game you have the choice to play as four characters: Xian Mei(Sharp Weapons Expert), Logan(Throwing Expert), Purna(Shooting Expert), and Sam B(Blunt Weapons Expert).

Each of these characters have specific skill trees that will help them in whatever area that they are great at. Some skill may tend to be more useful if you plan to play with a group of friends. For example, Sam B can get an ability that attracts enemies towards him. Now why would you want to use this ability when playing solo is beyond me.

Weapon game play is very solid, I recommend playing with the analog setting due to the fact that in that setting you can choose how your character swings his or her weapon. Having control over your swing is very crucial when you’re surrounded by zombies. When you get sharper weapons it is a great feeling to cut the head off for a one hit kill. Killing zombie that way is not only time efficient, but also stamina efficient.

Watching how you spend you energy in this game is very important because you can start sprinting to a destination but you might run into enemies that engage you. Stamina is very important in this game, so using stat points that help out stamina usage in certain weapons will help you out in your fight to survive.

Now a couple of things that you may find annoying in this game is that the weapon naming system that TechLand uses in Dead Island. Something I’ve realized is not to look at what the title of the weapons because sometime my flimsy pipe would be stronger than my hardened pipe. This my confuse a lot of people while deciding whether to keep or sell certain weapons.

Since this is a RPG you will have to watch the level of items you pick up because sometime you might pick up a weapon that you can’t equip at that moment. Once again I found myself saying ” now why the hell can’t I use this wrench, oh,…… oh wait, this wrench is level 25, I’m only level 23.” I’m sorry TechLand, using this system in a game where you use almost everything to defend yourself really messes up the flow of game play.

What You’ll Love:

  • Zombie Violence
  • Weapon Customization
  • Co-Op Mode
  • Pretty Lengthy Game(pushes 25-50 Hr in one play through)
  • Scenery Of the Resort

What You’ll Hate:

  • Glitches…Glitches…and more Glitches
  • Texture Pop-in
  • Weird Naming of Weapons
  • Picking up a “Flimsy Pipe” that you can’t use due to your level
  • Main Characters Step into each respective stereotype

Final Thoughts:

Dead Island is a very fun game. I feel that this is a great game to start the onslaught of amazing games being released this fall and winter. With patches and DLC being promised by TechLand, I feel that they will most likely fix a couple of the major bugs that plague this game. If you have a buddy to play this with, doing so will make the experience on Dead Island a thrilling one.





Buy It: Buy this game if you like games like Fallout. I found this game to really be fun with friends online. TechLand is planning a lot of content for DLC that will add replay value to the game. There are four characters, plus a new DLC character, and a survival arena DLC to play with so you will be playing this game for a while.


Rent It: If you just plan on running through the game once. Or if you don’t intend on playing online and getting the DLC for the game.


Skip It: If 1st person view isn’t for you. Also you will die… A LOT…. So if you can’t handle that then this isn’t the game for you.

Chris Reincher

Avid Gamer, college student, Founder of MediaBeast, Host of The Reactor & GPR Podcast... Want to know more? Follow me on twitter. But don't stalk me.....