Dead Island: Definitive Edition Review

While the presence of pointless HD remasters for current gen consoles has certainly fizzled out, they’re nevertheless annoying for most. Even sites like Giant Bomb have had awards dedicated to pointing these trends out, calling out some of the more malicious examples like Prototype or Deadpool. So many would have the same gut reaction to a Dead Island collection, right? Or is this one of the first steps necessary to salvage the series after the dismissal of Techland, a disastrously bad last-gen spinoff and a troubled road of development to the upcoming sequel Dead Island 2? Either way, here’s our analysis of the good and the bad of the bulk of this remastered collection and whether some of this has been polished, or even taken out.

Gameplay:

Partners are much more helpful, but sometime’s it’s fun to take the lone way home

Part of the reason Dying Light was so well received was it’s differentiation in combat, contrasting Dead Island’s weighty jankiness that was divisive in it’s appreciation and enjoyment. After now playing both games so recently, it’s clear to see how a new coat of paint doesn’t fix all issues. Melee feels sputtering, and throwing projectiles at fleeting zombies is only so redeemable. Much of these issues fade away once the game starts to get deeper in it’s upgrade and crafting system, but I worry that many players would lose immediate patience.

Another aspect of Dead Island that I suspect many would find tedious is it’s sidequest system. There’s no real influx of good narratives and interesting objectives that’s now found in higher quality eight generation titles, (The Witcher 3, for example) and a majority of the time I completed these missions, it was only to make the game more satisfying in the long run. Once you get to that point, it is somewhat worth it, but I’d recommend playing with friends to make this go faster, or playing in One Punch Mode to give the game some more entertaining characteristics.

Sunny landscapes save the games enviroments from mediocrity

Story & Design:

There’s a variety of different characters, but none of them feel that physically different, a problem that continues into Riptide

Dead Island’s story is nothing to write home about in the clearest sense of that statement, and this mediocre sentiment continues with Riptide. Worst of all, the redeeming factors that could be present in a story sludge like this are non-existent (like interesting characters, story arcs and climaxes) lessening the overall experience to something that could only withstand the patience from the most patient of gamers.

Level design isn’t much better too, and can consist of fetch quests, fixing objects, and the occasional mini-boss/boss fight. Design traits like these wouldn’t be so criminal if Dead Island had personified features to write home about in the first place, but the most you’ll process of these qualities are nothing more than small remnants. These days, it’s just another zombie game on the market, and it’s age has certainly not shined through to lasting greatness.

In both games, there’s a lacking sense of horror, although Riptide’s levels convey this better through their shortly-lived containment

Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:

Zombies no longer look like the textured messes that can be found on previous and inferior versions

While Dead Island: Definitive Edition has a wide variety of problems far and wide, it’s graphics can be seen in a much kinder perspective. There’s no muddy textures or bad framerates, and the game actually looks pretty in some of the more tropical spots. Models don’t look as good, but it’s not a high price to play considering the overall fidelity.

Lastly, the game’s menu systems are remarkably good. The weapon wheel fits well with the amount of things you’ll collect while scavenging during quests, and other options/settings don’t get in the way of the gameplay. Voice acting isn’t half-bad either, with some clear, yet rare representations of what it’s like to live in such a nightmare.

The improved models look great, but not much else is done aesthetically

Conclusion:

Dead Island barely faded away from it’s initial reveal in 2011 with good marketing and a clear-cut emphasis on zombie killing, but all Definitive Edition does is stall the franchise from becoming infected into obscurity. It’s a game that’s partly pleasant with a companion, but not attentively tenacious alone, leading to a strong disconnect if you’re buddies are away. An added game Retro Revenge could have helped matters, but it’s just as half-baked and soulless as what’s come before it.

Dead Island: Definitive Edition gets a 5/10 (Flawed)

We’d like to thank Deep Silver for giving us a code!

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