Dead Island: My Guilty Pleasure

I have a confession to make: When it comes to open-world, loot driven RPGs, I never found myself all that compelled by the original Borderlands. The combat was never all too interesting to me and the humor, while quite good, never quite had me head over heels for its brand of humor. Two years after its release, I found myself playing a similar loot driven RPG, yet I found myself playing it a lot more. Dead Island is a game that I feel few people remember and even fewer give it credit for being a really fun game.

First, I should say that Dead Island does have a number of flaws. The storyline is not that interesting and from a technical standpoint, the game was fairly unstable. Additionally, the initial trailer for the game gave absolutely no real clear idea of what the game actually was. Despite all of that, though, I found myself going back to the game over and over again, each time having a lot of fun with it for any number of reasons.

Customization Craziness

One thing that I really enjoyed doing was crafting weapons throughout. The game has a heavy focus on melee combat, meaning that if your weapons don’t feel powerful, the game can get fairly frustrating. However, the upgrade system allows you to add any number of buffs to your weapons in order to make them more powerful. Adding nails to a baseball bat can cause enemies to have bleeding-over-time damage done to them. You can add a car battery to a katana and do shock damage to enemies. While you do use a lot of blunt weapons, if you take a little time to upgrade your weapons, you can do a ton of damage.

All Analog All The Time

To truly understand how satisfying the game’s combat can be, however, I found it necessary to turn on the Analog Combat option. This option changes the way you fight enemies almost completely. Instead of simply pressing a button to swing your weapon, you use the right analog stick to swing your weapon in the direction you press the stick. If you press the stick down, you’ll do an over head attack. Pressing it to the left or right can swing through a wide group of enemies.

The level of precision also changes how you fight enemies in general. Sure, you can go right for the kill, but to get even more experience points to level up your character, you’re going to want to aim at their limbs first. Breaking enemy limbs causes them to be slower or attack with less force and gives you a slight XP bonus. This becomes a necessity for fighting some of the larger enemies who can knock you over with a single hit. The level of precision and the rewards given to players makes it play far different from any number of other games in the genre.

Zombie Fatigue

It’s safe to say that zombies have become the “go to” enemy for any number of games. As a result, games that feature them have become more and more boring as the years went on. However, despite the lack of a meaningful story in Dead Island, the world itself conveys a story and as a result, the zombies don’t feel out of place. The entire island quickly becomes a hell hole and as you see this place unravel, it feels like the only correct enemy for this game is zombies. The tone that Techland created with this game is perfect and makes the world far more interesting than it could have been.

Crazy Kung-Fu

There is one reason, above all others, that I own the PC version of Dead Island. The below video shows a mod for the PC version known as the “Fist of the Dead Star.”

Yes, the game is a lot of fun and I still own the Xbox 360 version. However, this mod is so absolutely fun and amazing that I felt the need to buy the game again, this time on the PC. You can punch an enemy clear across the island, run faster than any car in the game and jump thirty feet in the air without doing any damage to yourself. This mod could be one of my favorites of any game ever.

Yes, Dead Island has its share of problems. However, it was a game that I had a ton of fun with, with a deep and fun combat system and a fantastic world. While Dead Island Riptide isn’t a direct sequel, I’m still hopeful for this new entry into the series. If nothing else, more Dead Island isn’t a bad thing to me.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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