Dead Island: Paradise Lost in a Sea of Zombies (Review)


Dead Island review, Released in 2011, Dead Island took the gaming world by storm. This open-world action RPG placed you in a tropical paradise overrun by the undead. While not without its flaws, Dead Island offered a unique and brutal zombie-slaying experience that continues to hold a cult following today. So, the question remains: how does Dead Island hold up in 2024? Is it a vacation destination worth revisiting, or should you leave your bags packed? This review will dive into the decaying flesh of Dead Island to unearth its strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between.

Dead Island review,

A Paradise Lost: The Rotten Core of Dead Island

Dead Island throws you into the luxurious Banoi Resort, a fictional island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, your tropical getaway takes a horrifying turn when you discover the resort (and the entire island) has been overrun by the undead. The story itself is fairly basic – survive the zombie apocalypse and uncover the source of the outbreak. While the narrative won’t win any awards for originality, the voice acting and characters are surprisingly forgettable, and the plot takes a backseat to the real star of the show: zombie slaying.

Hacking Away: Dead Island’s Combat System

Dead Island’s core gameplay loop revolves around one thing: bashing zombie brains in. The game utilizes a first-person perspective with a focus on melee combat. You’ll find yourself wielding a variety of makeshift weapons, from resort umbrellas to sharpened pipes. These weapons degrade over time, adding a resource management layer to the experience. While the combat can feel clunky at times, landing a satisfying blow on a decaying skull with a creatively cobbled-together weapon is undeniably visceral.

The beauty of Dead Island’s combat lies in its RPG elements. As you progress, your character levels up, unlocking new skills and abilities. You can specialize in blunt weapons, bladed weapons, or even thrown items. This system adds a layer of depth, allowing you to tailor your zombie-slaying approach to your playstyle. The game also throws in firearms, but ammo is scarce, making them more of a “break-in-case-of-emergency” option.

Beautiful Decay: Dead Island’s World Design

Banoi Island itself is a unique and interesting environment. The juxtaposition of a luxurious resort set against a backdrop of rotting flesh creates a darkly comedic atmosphere. You’ll explore a variety of locations, from the idyllic beaches to the decaying city center. The world is open-ended, allowing you to tackle missions at your own pace and explore hidden nooks and crannies. While the visuals might not hold up to the latest titles, the art style has a certain charm, and the environments are detailed enough to be immersive.

One of the most interesting aspects of Banoi Island is the sheer number of zombies. The game throws hordes of the undead at you, creating a constant sense of danger and forcing you to think strategically about your approach. Whether you’re navigating a narrow alleyway or clearing out a sprawling resort lobby, the feeling of being surrounded by the undead is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Sun’s Out, Bugs Out: The Technical Side of Dead Island

Dead Island’s launch was plagued by technical issues, and while many have been patched over time, some problems persist. You might encounter occasional glitches, frame rate drops, and graphical hiccups. The animation system can also be a bit janky at times. If you’re a player who prioritizes technical polish above all else, Dead Island’s rough edges might be a turnoff.

However, for those who can look past the technical shortcomings, Dead Island offers a surprisingly stable experience in 2024. The core gameplay loop remains fun, and the world is still engaging to explore. If you’re on PC, there are also community-made mods that can address some of the technical issues and even add new content.

Cooperative Carnage: The Joy of Dead Island’s Co-op

One of Dead Island’s greatest strengths is its co-operative multiplayer mode. Teaming up with friends to take on the zombie hordes is an absolute blast. The game’s difficulty scales based on the number of players, making the co-op experience both challenging and rewarding. There’s nothing quite like coordinating attacks with your friends to take down a particularly tough group of zombies. While Dead Island doesn’t have couch co-op, which might be a drawback for some, online co-op remains a strong selling point.


What’s the Story?

Dead Island doesn’t take itself too seriously. You wake up on a vacation island overrun by zombies. As one of the few immune survivors, you fight your way through the chaos, uncovering the source of the outbreak and finding a way to escape (or maybe stay and fight another day).

Is it Just Killing Zombies?

While bashing zombie skulls is a big part of the fun, Dead Island offers more than just mindless slaughter. You’ll find side quests to help other survivors, explore a sprawling open world, and craft unique weapons from everyday objects.

How’s the Combat?

Dead Island uses a first-person perspective for brutal melee combat. You’ll bash, stab, and slice your way through hordes of undead with a variety of weapons, from makeshift shanks to electrified machetes. The combat can feel clunky at times, but it’s undeniably satisfying to land a critical hit and watch a zombie explode in a shower of gore.

Is it Scary?

The game leans more towards action horror than pure scares. The gore is plentiful, and the atmosphere can be unsettling, but it’s not likely to keep you up at night.

What About the Open World?

Dead Island’s world is a tropical resort broken down by chaos. You’ll explore a variety of environments, from luxurious hotels to run-down slums, all crawling with the undead. It’s a fun world to navigate, with plenty of secrets to uncover and loot to find.

Is it Better Played Alone or With Friends?

Dead Island is a blast in both single-player and co-op. Team up with three friends for a truly unforgettable zombie massacre. Just remember, the game doesn’t have local co-op, so you’ll need to connect online.

How’s the Graphics? (By Today’s Standards)

Released in 2011, Dead Island’s visuals might not hold up to the latest titles. Textures might look a bit dated, and animations can be a bit stiff. However, the art style holds up well, and the gore effects are still impressive. A remastered version, Dead Island: Definitive Edition, offers some graphical improvements if you’re looking for a more polished experience.

Is Dead Island Still Worth Playing in 2024?

If you’re looking for a fun and gory zombie experience with an emphasis on crafting and exploration, Dead Island is absolutely worth checking out, even in 2024. It’s a classic for a reason, and the core gameplay remains addictive. Just be prepared for some technical quirks and a slightly dated presentation.

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