Dead Island: Definitive Edition
Developed by Techland
Published by Deep Silver
*Please Note: This Review is of the PlayStation 4 Version*
Dead Island takes place on the the fictional island of Banoi where after an intense night of partying; A Group of Surviviors (Sam B; The Rapstar, Logan Carter; The Former Football Star, Purna; An Ex-Police Officer and Xian Mei; A Hotel Receptionist and Spy for the Chinese Government) are told to evacuate the hotel they were resigin in due to the zombie pandemic that is sweeping the island. Upon arriving at the beach; The group find a band of survivors as they start to come up with a plan to find a way to get everybody off the island while also trying to find a cure. Soon after finding out that they are immune to the virus; the survivors set out to take on the dangerous risks involved with killing the zombies, finding the escape route and rescuing any survivors in their path.
All in all, Dead Island has a pretty weak story to be fair which could have easily been good if they had a great script with the story being incredibly poor when compared to other Zombie survival games out there such as Techland’s own Dying Light and Dead Rising 2.
One thing that Dead Island: Definitive Edition has which is incredible is it’s gameplay which is a first person survival game with RPG elements. The game features huge sandbox areas for the player to explore which contain a combination of main story quests and multiple side objectives that the player can take part in to earn more experience and special items and blueprints. As I just mentioned the game also features blueprints which can truly help you to survive in the game as they allow you to craft items and powerful super weapons using the many objects you can find scattered across the areas. The game also features a traditional leveling up system commonly found in RPG titles with the characters having specific skills and which you can improve upon and acquire through 3 separate skill trees which focus on different elements of survival. Another thing that I liked about this game was the weapon durability which means that your weapon will break after using it too much. This is a really cool inclusion that I like in Zombie survival games as you are required to repair the item in order to keep using it which can be vital if it is one of your more powerful weapons.
The game however also comes with some pretty bad glitches aswell like it’s previous version on the PlayStation 3 with some of the glitches I personally encountered including getting stuck in place (floors/walls); Items falling through the floor and not being accessible, Enemies attacking you when stuck in the floor and climbing in a car only for the car to suddenly be halfway through a wall. These glitches made the game extremely annoying at times and sometimes the skill points can be extremely overpowered such as Purna who can earn experience much quicker than everybody else making her an extremely OP character pretty early on into the game. I would like to however end this section on a positive note by saying that I played through this game co-op with fellow editor; Jonnie and there was barely any connection issues and the game ran smooth(ish) for the most part which is great compared to quite a few of the co-op games that me and Jonnie have played for reviews on the site.
Dead Island: Definitive Edition has one of the worst sound sections of a video game that I have ever experienced. The game has no memorable music whatsoever apart from one song which appears at certain points through the game which is called “Who Do You Voodoo Bitch?” which is performed by one of the games protagonists; Sam B. This one song is mediocre at best and is funny at times but otherwise it just gets repetitive and annoying. The voice acting in this game is also really really poor with some really talented voice actors being involved only to fall completely flat on their face such as David Kaye (Ratchet & Clank), Phil LaMarr (Metal Gear Solid 4) & Steve Blum (Mass Effect 2) who despite their credits in the acting world just don’t sound good in this game and are honestly extremely forgettable. The other big flaw I have with the voice acting in this game is that the game often goes out of sync so you can here the characters dialogue in the cutscenes before they even open their mouth which is terrible for a video game; especially a port.
The visuals in Dead Island: Definitive Edition are certainly not great in the slightest with no real significant change apart from the framerates running slightly smoother than the previous version. The visuals in the original PlayStation 3 version looked bad at the time when you consider that games like Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception were released the exact same year however unlike most ports to the PlayStation 4 which improve the visuals from the original version; This port does not change any of the visuals in the game as they still look terrible and like an early PlayStation 3 game. In addition to this; the games environment occasionally glitched with my player character falling through what looked like solid floor only to get stuck leading me to restart the console just to continue playing the game. Also contributing with the sound section; during cutscenes the characters would be out of sync with the audio aswell as some of the characters appearing blurry and the visuals looking unstable when certain characters appeared on screen.
Dead Island: Definitive Edition has plenty of replay value given you enjoy playing the game. The game has multiple chapters in the main story with multiple missions available in said chapters to complete the story; In addition to this there are multiple side missions available to the player in order to obtain more experience and blueprints to craft brand new weapons. The game also features trophies/achievements for all of the hunters out there and in addition to this; the definitive edition also features all of the previously released DLC for Dead Island including the Blood Bath Arena and the Ryder White Campaign giving even more hours worth of content.
All in all, The Replay Value on Dead Island: Definitive Edition is fantastic.
Overall; Dead Island: Definitive Edition is still an extremely disappointing title in terms of a game and even more so as a port. While the gameplay is fantastic and the replay value is just as good; everything else in the game is just extremely lackluster with very poor voice acting and sound, No real story and really bad graphics aswell as the multitude of glitches and problems that plague the game. The only real way I can even remotely say that this game can be deemed enjoyable is if you play it in co-op as it can be fun to play with a friend (granted just barely).
Score = 4.5/10
- Fantastic Gameplay Elements combining Survival Horror with an RPG
- Plenty of Replay Value
- No Connection Issues when playing online Co-Op
- No Real Story
- Way Too Many Glitches
- Terrible Soundtrack
- Really Bad Voice Acting
- Out of Sync Sound and Visuals
- Poor Visuals
- Certain Characters are Blurry
Dead Island: Definitive Edition is available now separately or as part of the Dead Island: Definitive Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC while also being available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Thanks go out to Deep Silver for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review by Matthew McNamee