Dead island was a brilliant game, back in 2011 it was something I obsessed over a fair bit – completing the OG game in just over a weekend. So here we are almost 12 years on (managing 4 house moves and a divorce in the mean time!) with the sequel.
!! DISCLAIMER – it’s taken me a week to get around to writing this as it’s so much fun that I’d rather play it than write about it.
So when I came back to streaming and back to Lurkit after my break, and saw this offering – I couldn’t not apply!
Getting it on release day is just the best feeling in the world, although on reflection when the code came in at midnight I should have started downloading it then. A hefty (and for some reason painfully slow today) 50GB had me on tenterhooks as to whether or not I would even be able to go at the stream time I wanted… I later fixed it when I realised my PS5 had decided to downgrade itself to 2.5 GHz WIFI instead of 5 (separate rant for later)… so we were downloaded just in time and ready to rock.
I’ll be honest, the 12 year wait has left me hazy on the story of the last one but given the synopsis of the new one, this matters not! (Except for knowing who Sam is).
You had me at the intro, it felt like zombie mode GTA and I swear a beer bottle ever said ‘heist’.
This is a fucking beautifully polished, almost 100% bug free game and if a long wait is needed to make AAA titles this good from the get go with no release day patches – then we all need to learn to be more patient.
The character selection is brilliant, but I of course had no choice except to go with the sweary Irish gal that says ‘feck’ a lot (which is now back in my daily lexicon). One of the female picks also looks a lot like Meg from Dead by Daylight.
The controls are intuitive, it’s easy to pick up and get into. AND HAVE I MENTIONED HOW PRETTY IT IS??
Now as much as I said this is like GTA zombie, the physical layout of LA isn’t like the open world of GTA but instead split into areas (Bel Air, Beverly Hills, movie studio etc) and each has its own “tourist map” for navigation. A nice touch.
There are a few side missions (not loads and not too distracting from main story), but they are fun.
The variety of weapons is great and suits most play styles (and later on the variety of guns does the same). It’s very easy to get attached to certain weapons. I had way too much fun shouting “four” and clubbing zombie heads in with a golf club.
My only minor gripe with the weapons is that you can’t “lock” or “mark then as favourite” – which has accidentally meant I’ve sold/dismantled a couple I didn’t mean to. I mean it’s total end user error on my part but I think of Division &Destiny and how you could lock stuff and it would have been a nice feature.
Whilst I’m on the gripe front there are only a few more things that I’ve found irritating but not “for feck sake” outright annoying.
First – You can bowl, but you can’t play pool… and trust me I’ve tried, too much.
Second – when backing away from crushers, sometimes if you get far enough away to line up hazards etc they just appear in front you (like out of nowhere). Not a huge deal for characters like the fireman but I’m very squishy in my tiny Irish form.
Lastly – when backing up away from hoards or crushers I’ve found myself getting stuck on things but when I turn around there isn’t seemingly anything I should’ve gotten stuck on.
The variety of zombie types is awesome and seems to draw from all the zombie games that came before whilst also adding its own.
You got your walkers, shamblers, runners, electric types, fire types, spitters (they look like Left 4 Dead boomers), but types and screaming zombies that draw others to you… there are loads I haven’t met yet but you can see what you’ve unlocked and more about each type in the Zompedia. They all have their own vulnerabilities and resistances.
There’s also named zombies that drop keys for certain bits or areas (cable guy, coach, GOAT, postman etc). And despite how much you may clear an area on your first visit, every time you go back there is still more to unlock and do.
Fuses are your friend! There are so many locations that require fuses which you can buy from a dude at Emma’s house (max 2 at a time) and so far I haven’t unlocked how to make them but I’m sure you must be able to later on, I hope.
I certainly got overexcited when the guns got introduced, helpful for range dropped of certain types or to just get yourself out of the shit.
In terms of co-op, this has been tricker to test out. As I got the game way before any of my friends did (and I don’t trust randoms) I’ve gotten through a fair bit of the story and am level 13 before my other half picked up the game. He is currently racing to play catch up on both missions and level so he can join me. I was initially wondering if zombies would level to the host or highest player – but as the pre-requisites are level and mission progress being the same, that negates that. So you won’t be the one in your team being carried by higher levels, nor can you rapidly level someone up who’s lower than you by dragging them through with you. So I had to wait for him to catch up before we could play together…
Once we did get to co-op it was great fun, there didn’t seem to be more zombies which a lot of games do when you add additional players, but it was really helpful to have two people for crushers, and some of the puzzles in the sewers. It also meant we would mix and match throwables (I prefer the meat lure and pipe bomb, Duck prefers the throwing stars and incapacitation goo). Its also really good if one of you is close combat and another prefers guns. Honestly it seamless as two player and the option to res also means you don’t add to the death counter (except when I did twice.. currently on 29 now). It was also really good to see how well it performed on the PS4, the only real difference is that my PS5 loads in significantly faster (but that is to be somewhat expected).
Its also been great to see reviews from across all platforms praising the performance of the game. Its very clear the time taken to make this game was ultimately worth it.
5 paws out of 5
The rarest of full paws awards for a polished AAA game. Its refreshing to see a new AAA title out of the gate needing no updates and being flawless to play. Some minor niggles but they do not detract from the overall fun and gorgeousness of this game. Well worth the wait! Its fun, its well paced and its gorgeous!
See the first play for yourself: