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Dead Island

aka: The Island of the Dead
Moby ID: 52975
Windows Specs
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Description official description

The fictional island Banoi, near Papua New Guinea, Oceania, is a lush environment filled with beaches, jungle and mountains, but also modern buildings that make it a paradise resort. After a heavy night of partying and drinking, the protagonist wakes up to a nightmare. The island has been overrun by zombies, slowly turning more and more humans to their side. The protagonist, however, appears to have a certain immunity against that. The remaining survivors scattered around the island have retreated into different outposts where they try to hold the fort. The protagonist goal is, above all, to stay alive, help defend the people on the island against the zombie onslaught, and eventually find a way to get off the island.

Dead Island is a first-person horror-themed action game with strong RPG elements. The game offers a large amount of free-roaming gameplay. The large island can generally be explored in any direction, with a few sections where the player is warned that the playable area is about to be left. Gameplay and progress is largely quest-driven. Survivors offer rewards for locating missing family members and scavenging items, but also trivial tasks such as returning a teddy bear. There are main quests that further the overall story divided in different chapters, as well as many optional sidequests. The island can be explored on foot or by driving a vehicle. The gameplay is violent and action-focused. Even though many encounters can be avoided by outrunning zombies, the player is always encouraged to take on the opposition.

There are four different characters to choose from: Purna, Logan, Sam B and Xian. They have different starting parameters and a specialization such as blunt weapons, sharp weapons, firearms or throwing weapons. By completing quests and defeating zombies, experience points are gained. These are used in an RPG-like level-up system where the player can spend skill points in three different ability trees. These involve combat and survival skills, but also a special Fury category - an ability tied to a specific character. Fury is usually a special attack that can be used when a bar is filled up by defeating enemies. As most of the environment can be explored freely, a level scaling system is used, similar to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. When the player character levels up, opponents become stronger as well and new weapons found or bought have a similar level. This causes the game to have a constant difficulty, without areas to backtrack and defeat weaker opponents. Areas are also never cleared permanently; enemies and items generally return when a section is revisited.

There is a large variety of weapons bought or found in the environment, ranging from baseball bats to wrenches, guns, knives, crowbars and molotov cocktails. Weapons however degrade quickly and if the player wants to hold on to them, they have to be repaired regularly at a workbench in exchange for cash. At that location weapons can also be upgraded. By discovering blueprints, special enhancements are unlocked to modify weapons. It is possible to add nails to a baseball bat for instance, or electrify and add fire to weapons. Regular fists can also be used, as well as a kick to push back the zombies or to knock them down. Targeting specific areas such as the neck provides more damage and by focusing on certain limbs they can be severed to slow down opponents or render them immobile. Attacking and running drains stamina and this is restored over time, unlike health that requires energy drinks or medikits. The player is encouraged to explore the environment and buildings for loot. This provides cash as well as specific items that can be sold or are required to modify the weapons. Attacking with melee weapons requires good timing to land the attacks and avoid incoming blows. When defeated, the player character respawns nearby but with a cash penalty and sometimes the loss of a weapon. There are merchants where items can be bought or sold. There are also rare, unique and legendary weapons in the game. It is possible to pick up items to throw them or shoot objects in the environment to cause explosions or fires.

Most of the navigation is done through a map where quest goals and important locations are marked, as well as a path. It is also possible to quick travel between hubs when they are discovered. Most of the characters can be talked to. The game offers cooperative gameplay for up to four players, both offline and online.


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Credits (Windows version)

371 People (361 developers, 10 thanks) · View all



Average score: 76% (based on 50 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 66 ratings with 1 reviews)

Another studio that should make movies instead.

The Good
- Nice cutscenes. - You can chop off individual body parts.

The Bad
- Story that doesn't go anywhere. - Boring characters. - Poor combat mechanics. - Weapons get damaged. - Repetitive gameplay. - Boring soundtrack.

The Bottom Line
Dead Island first gained a lot of attention when its first trailer was released and since then everybody has been hyping this game up like it was the next Half-Life. I got the game as soon as it was released and I was treated on yet another beautiful cutscene that served as the game's intro. However once gameplay took over everything collapsed rather fast.

The first thing that struck me as odd was that each character has his or her own specialization, but I knew for a fact that firearms were scarce, so why would you want to specialize in guns? I decided to specialize in throwing weapons, but as it turned out there weren't really any special weapons for that and it was just that, throwing your weapons at people. Apparently my character thought the best solution was to throw his only method of defense at enemies.

Another reason for me to pick the character was that he struck me as a selfish guy who didn't really care about people he doesn't know, meaning that he wouldn't have to go through hundreds of arbitrary quests. However even my character wasn't able to avoid having his log filled with loads of quests that largely involve annoying little fetch-quests for random people (like getting a family heirloom back) while they stay in the nearest base complaining about the situation. The story structure is very similar to Borderlands, so you just run around the world doing quests with no real connection to the main story (getting off the island), but the reason it worked in Borderlands was because of the humor and silly aesthetic, both of which Dead Island lacks.

The gameplay is not much better, the worst are the melee weapons which never seem to connect if your not looking directly at the enemy and it doesn't help that weapons get damaged during the fight, up to the point that they don't do any damage anymore or just break. This would be alright if this happened over time, but here it goes so fast that I often found myself sprinting back to the nearest workbench every two or three fights. Eventually I discovered that you can just kick enemies, a tactic that not only damages them, but also makes it impossible for them to do anything back.

The only part of the gameplay that I really liked was whenever I found a nice, sharp weapon, so I could chop off body-parts. There is nothing more hilarious then watching a rotting corpse run towards me with both its arms missing. If you found some nice blunt weapons you could also break body parts which gave the same result.

At the end of the day, Dead Island is just another forgettable zombie game, a game made by a company with no real significant titles under its name. Judging by the trailers and the intro this game had, I would advice them to find something else for the the programmers to do and just turn the company into a movie studio instead.

If you really want to play another zombie game and you can't wait for Left 4 Dead 3. Dead Rising 3, or any other game that involves murdering diseased humans, then this could keep you busy for a while, but it just isn't interesting enough to buy for any other reason.

Windows · by Asinine (956) · 2011


Subject By Date
Is anyone playing this fun ZRPG? Unicorn Lynx (181769) Oct 15, 2011


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  • MobyGames ID: 52975
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

OnLive added by firefang9212.

Additional contributors: Evolyzer, Zhuzha.

Game added October 2, 2011. Last modified May 20, 2024.