Sun, sea, sand – and swarms of walking dead
Most of us have gone to see a film on the strength of its trailer only to feel let down by the finished product, and Dead Island suffers a similar fate.
Months before the game was released, a sophisticated, poignant trailer appeared on the internet, generating very high levels of expectation among gamers.
Unfortunately, the finished product bears little resemblance to the footage shown in the trailer, in terms of either gameplay or polish.
At its heart, Dead Island is more or less a straightforward first-person action title with a few role-playing game (RPG) elements added for good measure.
Set in a tropical holiday paradise that has almost literally gone to hell, Dead Island pits you against thousands of hungry zombified holidaymakers and, along with a handful of other survivors, it's your job to fight your way to freedom.
The game presents the player with a large open world to explore with plenty of side quests in addition to the main story. Players can craft their own weapons from collectable everyday items, such as baseball bats, detergent and duct tape. It's also possible to customise characters as they progress.
These RPG-style aspects give the game a little more depth than the average action title.
There were surprisingly few scares on offer for what is essentially a horror game. But, with all the bludgeoning, maiming, and general zombie bashing involved, Dead Island's gore factor is extremely high.
Depending on your sensibilities, the game will seem either extremely distasteful or enormously amusing, whether played alone or in co-operative mode with up to three other team mates.
The trouble is that there are rather a lot of zombie-centric games knocking about and, aside from its sun-soaked setting and its partial RPG tendencies, Dead Island does little to distinguish itself from the rest of the undead horde.
Added to this are a number of technical problems that continue to plague the game despite a recent upgrade patch, making Dead Island feel more than a little rough around the edges.
Whether you can look past these shortcomings depends on whether you have the stomach for yet another face-off against the living dead.
PEGI age rating: 18+
Available on: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Read more reviews
Dead Island feels more than a little rough around the edges
Unusual island setting; Interesting role-playing elements; co-op mode
Suffers from several odd technical problems; similar to many other zombie games
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