This game...well, it's not bad, but it's not stellar either. Having given it quite a thorough run so far, I feel compelled to list a few details as well as some suggestions to it's improvement in future patches.
Firstoff, the best way to think of this game is to combine Fallout 3/NV with Borderlands and then take a few pieces off here and there and add in a touch of Left 4 Dead. The developers of the game (whose company name I've misplaced at this early juncture of the morning) were certainly swinging for the fences with their ambitions on this one. Sadly, they got a double base hit, possibly a triple if the shortstop's lollygagging. You get a choice of four characters, but they're rather bland so far. The little history detail you get at the selection screen shows a bit of class, but seems to have zilch effect on the story overall. They've divvied them up, like Borderlands, to be specialists at specific classes of weaponry; the white dude can throw stuff good, the Asian girl is good with blades (niiiiiinJA!), and the black girl does guns while the black dude hits stuff with hard weapons.
My only complaint about that is that the gunslinger is going to be pretty painful to use as her specializations won't really be worth much til the second act when guns ACTIVELY start dropping in chests. Also, I feel compelled to note that the Asian girl is doing the entire game, running and jumping and kicking in *high goddamned heels*. Yes, you read that right. Somewhere, she decided to scurry about the island in PUMPS.
The gameplay's good and I have to give credit in that it's *really* immersive. There's lots of little things like camera sway and the driving that make you feel you're the hero character. The zombies differ between three classes (normals, speedy yet brittles, and slow, tough-as-shit brickhouses) just like Borderlands.
That being said...they REALLY dropped the ball with the launch and with the game's initial state. Trying to play with one of my best friends was nigh impossible thanks to that aforementioned ambitious idea: no matter where you are in the world, if someone else is playing the game and happens to be near you, you can join their game. It gets tedious and lends itself to severe lag and heinous grouping. L4D had it nowhere near this bad and even Borderlands was far easier to get a game going.
As well, there's some issue with customization with audio and mic controls. As in THERE ARE NONE. This is a grievous error in my opinion as the whole point of the game is to work together to solve the issues (removing zombie heads from necks) and text chat does NOT cut it. As well, my friend and I were talking on Skype while trying to play. He could hear me *twice* (through Skype and somehow in the game as well). I could find NO option to remedy this. None. Zero.
Plus, there are graphical and gameplay glitches galore. Questgivers sometimes give you quests that disappear from your log, they don't recognize that you've got enough items for the turn-in, and are not placed very well in the game. An early-on questgiver in the first chapter gave me a quest I wouldn't be able to finish until the end of the second. And when I got *there*, someone else gave me a quest that looks to take me far far out of the way of the story's natural progression for not NEARLY enough experience points.
Moreover, let's talk the actual gameplay itself. While fun and immersive, it can also be a real pain at times. Given that this is an FPS/RPG, there's natural XP and levels to be gained, with talent points to be allocated to boosting your skills. However, there's a problem here in that there's no option thus far to be able to respec your talent points to be of better use. Another grave error as Borderlands gave you this choice right from Level ONE. The talent trees themselves seem rather clunky and there's a big no-no in requiring the characters to spec down far enough to do something (lockpicking) but having the chests they could actually USE this talent on appear way before then.
Finally, weapon degradation. I can kind of understand what they were going for here in that in reality, if you bash enough zombie heads in, eventually your baseball bat will break. This, while logically true in reality, makes the game a bit of a hassle to remember where the workbenches are so you can repair them. It turns something that would be maybe tense and suspenseful and turns it into a chore. The weapon mods can make this a bit better, but the glitches run wild here too as modding a weapon can sometimes cause it to just flat out vanish without nary a trace or even an explanation of what happened to it. The item shop could use some work to remember your sales in the last five seconds if you happen to leave the immediate area and who in their right mind thought it'd be a good idea to have higher, non-immediate use weapons drop, but NO sort of storage/bank system to be able to store them? C'mon, guys, World of Warcraft gives us this and it makes the game play MUCH more suitable. Hell, even Resident Evil had a storage chest that would warp items from place to place and while that would break the *gritty realism* of this whole thing, it'd also be convenient and encouraging for players to save their big weapons.
Recommendations for the next big patch: - Bank Storage for weaponry, possibly between alternate characters - Make Respeccing available for a small fee (perhaps 15% of the character's current money) - Give options for microphone chat that don't suck balls - Have a few guns drop more than a piddly revolver with no ammo to encourage gameplay of the black girl - Talent trees need *serious* thought to how they're laid out and early levels should, up to say level 5 or 10, give 2 points per level to encourage real thought and character growth - FIX YOUR DAMNED BUGS WITH MULTIPLAYER - An option to turn off the "would you like to join Buggy McBugshit's party now? Press J to Join!" popup. *Please.* I'm begging you on this if it's set to single player, let me be able to turn that off. - More fast travel and better zombie layouts. - The ability to zoom out while driving. Yes, it'd fracture the immersion, but I REALLY do not care when I'm forced to drive a right-side steering car and have to look through the character's eyes. - Fire. It needs to be able to be seen on the lowest graphical settings. How did you miss this? - Waypoint system is nice, but the quests need more clear indications of where you are supposed to go - FIX YOUR QUEST GIVERS. - FIX FUCKING MULTIPLAYER!!!
Jesus, I can't state that last one enough. This game wants you to play with others, but is pissy about making that actually happen. The game feels rushed out the door much the same way Cataclysm did (thanks in no small part to Activision shoving it out the door to the schoolbus without it's lunch money) in that there's stuff that needs polishing and could've been grabbed with much much MUCH more game-testing. The characters talk in that creepy Fallout/Oblivion way, moving their lips somewhat but showing no real humanity otherwise. It lends itself to the WoW method of taking a quest without reading about why you're doing it, but unfortunately, doing so here cripples you as they tend to mention things but give you no idea where they are.
*sighs a bit* I know I said to someone earlier today that the game is awesome. It is, but it has so many initial release problems that need a patch to fix them badly. Rushing a product is never a good idea and while cooking it til it's done may lend to delays, giving the consumers a wholly FINISHED game is faaaaar preferable to one that isn't. That being said, waiting forever without setting a release date isn't going to help gamers either.
Looking at you, Guild Wars 2. Get on the ball, grow a pair, figure a date out, and set it already.
I'm going to play this to the end and I really hope that some of my ideas actually end up in a patch or two somewhere down the line. I doubt any developer with half a heterosexual braincell would look at my page (EEWWW, CUBSEX), but I can hope that it's solved because this game has real potential. It's just mired in idiocy from a very clearly rushed release.
Kind of like knowing better than to only take one pair of underwear on a long trip, but doing so anyways out of some misguided sense of "Yes I Can" only to find yourself with stinky clothes halfway through.
Wow. I'm not really sure if that metaphor made any sense at ALL.
Bottom Line: Dead Island is a game that needs it's crinkles ironed out before it can be called stellar. I REALLY hope that the 360/PS3 versions were more put together than this because if not, fuuuuuuuuuuuck.