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July 7th, 2012, 12:39
I have spent the latest days with Dead Island which is a mixed bag. The ambition of the game amazes me, yet it unfortunately falls short in "fun" compared to Borderlands which is the first game I would compare it to. But since there's just 2 games like this on the market I say Dead Island is worth it for those who already played Borderlands with friends and enjoyed it and crave something more despite some flaws.

The first thing to note is how detailed the maps are despite being a sandbox game. The areas are very detailed, every bit of the beach, every bungalow, every corner is handcrafted. It pays off to have an extra look at the in-game graphics rather than following the minimap as you can almost navigate by it.

Dead Island is a beat-em up rather than a shooter and is best played as such. You spend most of the time fighting zombies in melee and it's worth to practice combos with doubleswings, uppercuts, throwing your weapon and using the mighty foot. Zombies have different behavior and learning their pattern also gives you a hint on how to counter their attacks. Still, if you meet a group of the fast-running "Infected" you may be toast.

Being an action-rpg the game is packed with weapons that are also customizeable unlike Borderlands, so it's also valuable to collect a large amount of "trash" along the road, yet since the weapons break apart so fast you tend to have 4-5 weapons at a time that you replace all the time, so I never felt like I found special and loved "über items" like in other RPG's with randomized loot. In effect, new weapons rarely felt rewarding.

You gan levels but you do not level up as quickly as you do in other games and new levels rarely give you new stuff, just a tiny percentage boost to what you already got, so i rarely felt the pull to get just another level.

Another problem is that many of the quests feels like a waste of time. You run very long distances back-and-forth to do quests and some areas are both annoying and hard since you are overrun with infected all the time.

The effect is that you do not get that rinse-and-repeat feel you got in Borderlands, instead the game can end up frustrating and stressful in a bad way, like when you try to find the ladder up on a roof you need to get to while constantly attacked by screaming infected, dying 3-4 times while just trying to understand what to do.
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