It’s been a while since I’ve had something to review, so I was chomping at the bit when I was asked if I wanted to review a ‘3-in-1’ collection. I was even more excited when I was told it was the Dead Island Definitive collection, having missed it first time around; as such I came to the games knowing very little about them. Both Dead Island and its add -on / standalone follow up ‘Riptide’ have had a facelift, and a new, streets of rage style side scrolling beat-em up ‘Retro revenge’ has been added to the gang, but more on that later.
Those of you who read my reviews will know I always like to do a bit of research, find out a bit about the makers of a game, what they’ve done before etc. But I thought that was a bit redundant on a game like this that many of you will have at the very least looked at before. So I jumped straight in. The prologue was a little perplexing to say the least, but Sam B’s ‘Who do you Voodoo’ is nothing if not catchy, and I found it being my battle cry when smashing zombie heads in with whatever I could lay my mitts on. I’m still confused as to who’s eyes we’re supposed to be seeing the party through, someone drunk, sure, but all of the main characters were shown… yet when you start the game you wake up as one of the main characters in the place where the person in the prologue fell into bed… continuity error or am I missing something? If it’s the former, shouldn’t they have fixed that for the remaster? If it’s the latter, please help…
I was pleasantly surprised with the opening of the game, I expected this to be a zombie game with no real terror, a happy go lucky smash ‘em up, but that wasn’t the case. When I wandered into a vacant hotel room desperately looking for a weapon or something and my flashlight died, I panicked. Which is exactly what I wanted to feel in a game like this. It’s almost impossible not to make comparisons with this game on current gen and with Dying Light, which set a very high benchmark in my opinion. Dead Island does admirably, and what I found most interesting was how they managed to make an idyllic beach resort seem hellish. Body parts strewn everywhere, blood streaks from dragged bodies and the eerie quiet before the zombie scream tells you that you better have a weapon or run.
Speaking of the idyllic beach resort, blimey, it looks great! I obviously have no basis for comparison, but knowing that they used Dying Light’s graphics engine, you can see it was utilised to great effect on the environment. Sun in your eyes, light on the water, if I had put my feet on something warm I’d have felt like I was there. The same can’t be said of the people unfortunately, and I don’t know how they were before, but they look like the 360 / ps3 would have coped with them just fine. Disappointing as this is supposed to be a remaster, they’re basic to the point it looks like a partial remaster. The glitchiness of zombie body parts is another issue, upon decapitation a zombie fell to the ground… except for it’s right leg which stood proud, occasionally bouncing… this is not the only instance of this, sadly.
The characters seem a bit cliche too, but I’m sure that is on purpose, the ol’ zombie movie stereotypes coming to the fore and all that. The voice acting, while not terrible wasn’t fantastic either, a bit like the devs just decided to do it themselves and put on some accents. Some of the Australian accents are terrible, to the point it annoyed me and I’m not even Australian. But the zombie noises, those are great!
There are multiple kinds of zombies, dealing with all the types we’ve seen in movies, from the ominous shuffle through to the terrifying sprint! The one perplexing thing is the ‘boss’ type that seem to forget they’re there to eat you. The first I faced spent most of it’s time kicking me away from it, surely that’s not the point, right?
Dead Island and Riptide are both loads of fun to play, provided you take them as something fun. They lack the panache of Dying Light, but they make up for it in bombast and over the top gore. I couldn’t play ‘Retro Revenge’ as the review code we’ve been given says it’s a pre-order and I have to wait… so as soon as that’s available I’ll write a second review just for that.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time on Banoi, and it’s something I think I’d dip into time and again. It hasn’t engaged me in that ‘must play to the end’ way, but I’m intrigued by the island and what it has to offer.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 6.5/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Dead Island Definitive Collection by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of a week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.