The few hours I’ve spent playing Dead Island was too long. I know that’s not really enough for a legitimate review, but this isn’t one. This is an explanation for why I couldn’t stand playing this game. I did play with the full release (not the dev-version accidentally released on Steam) with the most recent patch installed. Dead Island can probably be compared in ways to Borderlands 2, Dead Rising 2 and Left 4 Dead. Except those are worth playing.
While my time spent in the game was relatively short, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to form a valid first impression of a video game. In minutes you know that Dead Island is purely a bad console port. The inventory system, map and mouse sensitivity settings are typical. Combat is ugly. Mind numbing quests make you want to hang the quest giver from a palm tree by his large intestine while he slowly bleeds to death. And I’m the guy that didn’t mind killing 150 apes in Stranglethorn Vale to get a quest drop. My biggest pet peeve is control and UI issues. Dead Island excels at having both.
The first problem I noticed was mouse sensitivity. The setting was extremely high by default. That can be changed right? Sort of. I had to lower the setting to about 10% to get it where I wanted it. That’s fine, but the setting also effects the menu cursor which then feels like dragging a boulder across the screen.
Equipping a weapon requires double clicking the item in your inventory and then clicking a circle on the other side of the screen to place the item in your hand. From what I could tell you can’t cycle through weapons quickly and you have to do so from the inventory screen. I could be wrong about that, but I know friends of mine noticed the same thing. It’s really immersion breaking and poorly thought out when your weapon breaks and you have to use the inventory screen to equip another.
Swinging a weapon is not intuitive at all. And you will be doing a lot of that. Attaching a crane to your shoulder with a wrecking ball at the other end would be easier. Except the damn thing wouldn’t break after you swing it five times.
Durability is a feature that I welcome in an RPG, but not when human flesh breaks a fucking steel crowbar. I guess these zombies have titanium skulls. Except they don’t, because a well placed hit will splatter it. A zombie with a titanium skull would be one scary son of a bitch. Unfortunately that crowbar isn’t titanium. The only time a zombie is the least bit scary, is the first time you encounter one and have to fumble about figuring out how to fight and equip weapons in this damn game.
When a zombie gets hold of you and attempts to bite your face off you must press the left and then the right mouse button when the indicator appears on the screen. The problem is – a zombie is trying to bite your fucking face off and the indicator is hard to see and doesn’t appear for long. It’s a lot like a QTE (quick-time-event) which I am not a fan of. You can remedy this by just kicking the zombie in the balls which drops him to his ass and doesn’t wind you at all. Yet swinging a broom a few times will. Once the zombie is laid out you just bash his face in with a broom stick or something equally as stupid.
Upon exploring a bit I found a guy hiding out in a pool-side bar. He wanted me to get him some booze. I accepted. Then I found several bottles and turned them in. That didn’t complete the quest so I got more and turned those in. Nope. Still not enough. He wants five more. Ok, this drunk Australian fuck is pissing me off and I’m about to kick him in the balls.
Zombies level with you, which I fucking deplore. That mechanic alone ruined Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (and was corrected by mods later on). One of the greatest aspects of an RPG is the chance of facing a much stronger enemy (and maybe skillfully winning the fight and getting a good drop). Thanks to gay mob leveling, that fun factor just went out the fucking window. I guess thumb jockeys can’t handle a challenge and are just as mindless as these zombies. Thank the developers for skipping people who aren’t brain dead.
The game is designed to be played cooperatively. If you do play with friends you will notice that the animations are horrible to a comedic level. Elbows bend like a wet noodle. Characters flail about for no reason.
Dead Island reminds me of a lot of bad German RPGs that I’ve played. The QA department must have consisted of thumb-jockeys playing the game on the PC with a gamepad, because they didn’t know how much it sucks playing with a mouse and keyboard. Don’t waste your money. This is one instance where I will publicly recommend that you either pirate this game or wait for a demo to see if you like it. I know PC gamers are getting pretty sick and fucking tired of such bad console ports showing up on the PC. So if you want to play it, get it on the console so that shit stays where it belongs.
– Microstutter caused by using a keyboard rather than a gamepad.
– Extremely low field of view characteristic of bad console ports. At this time you are unable to change the FOV.
– Incorrect field of view settings hard-coded into the game cause motion sickness in some gamers. This is not an indication of a “weak stomach” or anything similar, it’s a scientific fact. If you think otherwise, you are wrong.
Strategyinformer: We Play Dead Island (XBOX 360)
Rockpapershotgun: 15 Hours With Dead Island
Cheat.cc: Dead Island Review
Gameinformer.com: Dead Island Review
1UP.com: Dead Island Review