Soon Dead Island’s sequel, Riptide, will be in the stores, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the hit zombie RPG game. The first time I played it, I was unconvinced, not really getting the hang of the weapon system and not enjoying the clumsy controls. This time around I actually quite enjoyed it and am currently storming through the game in a bloody rampage. However, some of the annoying flaws remain, dragging this game down, when it come have been one of the greatest horror survival games of all time.

I picked out three flaws that kept irritating me during my play through and am sharing them with you today. Fingers crossed that Riptide recognise these flaws and fix them in time for the sequel. If not, then we better look out for:


One of the best things about the zombie genre is that it really gives us some great character pieces. The Walking Dead focuses more on the people than the zombies and we are given some unique survivors to follow. Then how come Dead Island is full of lazily thrown-together characters. The four leads are just clichés stereotypes, barely managing to connect with the player. Hell, I feel I am closer to the Left For Dead characters, despite the complete lack of character arcs in that game.

Bane?! You're in the wrong game, buddy!

Bane?! You’re in the wrong game, buddy!

It’s not just the playable characters though. Nearly every character you encounter in the game (with maybe the exception of Sinamoi), is a clichéd, hollow character, only there to give the player a quest, which is most likely ‘go fetch’. In the resort, they are mostly whimpering girls. When you get to the city, however, the game just gets racist. Everyone you encounter is just a foreigner with one personality trait: the rude Frenchman, the scared Korean. I know they are not major parts of the game, but we need incentive to actually help them. I am not going to go and fetch a bottle of champagne if the person who asks me is an annoying drunk playboy bunny.

One other thing: there is no threat of death. You break into a bungalow in the resort to find a handful of survivors holding up a weak barricade against the undead. One of them will ask you to fetch her a teddy bear or something stupid. And you can take however long as you like. No matter how long you take, the same poorly defended survivors will be in the same shape. I know it would take massive amounts of memory, but how cool would it be if every character had a mini arc (going out to collect food, actually engaging the zombies in combat), and you had to find them again, rather than going back to a fixed point. And when a quest is finished with a character, it is possible for them to lose their fight and die. That way, when you come back looking for that character you vaguely remember, you could find them half-eaten on the floor of the bungalow, clutching that teddy bear you got them. I think that would add some emotion and character into the game.


The checkpoint system in this game is a little weird. When you die, you lose a couple of money, occasionally a weapon, and you are spawned a few meters away from where you died. The universe will continue, so basically that Suicider zombie that killed you is still dead. I am not entirely a fan of the system, but I guess it has helped me cheat my way past certain enemies, so that is not where my complaint lies.

No, I hate where you spawn. This problem is mainly in the city, but because the entire area is heavily infested, you are never spawned to a safe place. Once, when I opened the save file (I didn’t even die, I just started a new day of playing), I was spawned in between a group of punks. They just spun around and shot me down in a heartbeat. I lasted a single second. Cut down dead. And I lost one of my best weapons in the process.

The truth is there isn’t really anywhere safe to spawn your character in this game. In the city level, you are always a few roads away from a handful of Rams or Thugs, so dying can really screw you over (that phrase needs context). I hope the developers of the sequel come up with a new system. However, out of all the problems, this one I can live with. Admittedly, when you are spawned next to an exploding zombie is does get a few laughs out of the futility of the fight. No, the one thing I want the game to fix is…


Dead Island is meant to be a multiplayer game, like Left for Dead. You are meant to get three of your buddies and the four of you take on the game together. However, when you are a loner, like me, you end up playing by yourself. At first, it all seems pretty normal. It’s the same story, but you are on your own, and in all honesty, for a survival horror, that is the best way to play it. However, when it comes to its first cut-scene, suddenly these three other characters have materialised out of nowhere. They all know each other and act as if they’ve been fighting alongside each other for the entire game.

Now that's what you call multiplayer action.

Now that’s what you call multiplayer action.

This isn’t explained at all. It wasn’t until my little brother (who seems to do intensive research on every game we own), told me that the game was meant to be a co-op thing that it made sense. But how lazy a game do you have to be to not just tweak the occasional cut-scene. It’s not even as though it would change much. Most of the scenes involve you meeting a new enemy. Sure, it’s a little extra work, but without it, the game just seems like a quick thrown-together zombie action, when it should be a lot cleverer than that. Either that or you could have AI players fighting with you during gameplay, like Left for Dead. However, I just know the computer would be so awful at the game, that I definitely would never pick up this game again.

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