XBOX 360 Game Review “Dead Island”

Developer: Techland
Distributor: Square Enix
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform: Xbox 360
Mode: Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating: ESRB: M

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

First, and above all foremost, this is NOT your “Mom’s” Zombie game. This game is bloody, gory, creepy, and fun as all hell. I wanted to play it the first time I saw the official announcement trailer, watch below. This game has the “scare” feeling you get from BioShock, coupled with good music and sound effects. The scare factor is what I loved the most. If you want to really get into the game, play at night, in the dark, using a Ear Force X41 headset, which I absolutely love. You can hear all of the little details in the background, not just the ones close to you. My roommates had a particularly joyful time sneaking up on me. The game is set in an absolutely spectacular island setting, with blue skies filled with puffy white clouds, and crystal blue waters. The fact that a zombie apocalypse begins here of all places is ironic.

Now before you just punch the heck out of the start button to jump in to the game, make sure you watch that intro. For one thing the song “Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?” is addictive, but mainly because it sets up the story for you. For example, it explains why you start out by waking up on the floor in a hotel room. You also want to pay close attention to your mini map and the “bread crumb trail” in the beginning or you will find yourself dying several times before you get off the floor of your hotel room.

Game play is smooth and easy to catch on to changing weapons and setting skill points. Just make sure you are in a safe place when you set those skill points because live mode is still live when you go into your inventory, map and skills section. The tutorial is short, and sweet, getting you into the fray pretty quickly. There are loads of places and things to loot, from the numerous luggage left all over the island, to refrigerators, cupboards, phones and even computer towers give you items to sell, modify your weapons; even the zombies sometimes give out health packs!

Health is regenerated from eating fruit, energy bars, and drinking energy drinks, or using med kits which are given like an injections. Several friends and I have joked that the med kits are more akin to taking an insulin shot after the number of energy drinks and energy bars one consumes to stay alive. Dying doesn’t kill you in the XP section like most games, or the loot, but it will make a nice dent in your wallet. Sadly returning to the site of your demise doesn’t replenish that wad of cash either, you just want to make sure you loot when you can, especially zombies and safe’s as they give really good handfuls.

You have an option of playing in either Co-Op Mode or Multiplayer Mode and in either mode you play through the story line. The difference is with Multiplayer Mode you can join random other peoples games or they can jump into your game depending on the settings you have changed. I particularly enjoyed the Multiplayer mode because anyone could just jump in your game at any time and help you out. You also learn a lot of tips and tricks from them. Then again if they just annoy you you do have the option to boot them out of your game.

With all games there are of course some issues. For instance trying to take a shortcut over a large hill rather than going around it will sometimes find you stuck, or that gap between the fence and stairs will send you suddenly to your death. I find the game play was so much fun that the little things that annoyed me were very pale in comparison. There are some other little glitches, some of them so easy you can’t help but wonder if the programmers did it on purpose. For instance, with an especially expensive or all around awesome weapon equipped, holding down your left trigger, then holding down Y and then holding down right trigger (so they are all held down at once at the end) you drop your weapon, and a duplicate of it. This is a particularly nice “glitch” when you need more money (duplicate, sell, repeat) or when you want to save on the costly price of repairing your weapons (duplicate and save weapon that is at 100%).

All in all I absolutely LOVED this game. The story line is terrific, even including a rather unique reason how the whole zombie thing began. But I suggest you play yourself and try it out. This is definitely a game I recommend to anyone over 18 (there IS a lot of blood and gore!)

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