Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.

User Rating: 8 | Dead Island PC

One of the few things that I dreaded was that this game would quickly become repetitive and boring. Luckily, the combat delivers.

I'll make this a short and sloppy review for once.

The negatives

1. The lip sync of NPCs is nonexistent.

2. No DX10 or very high video settings for the PC version.

3. Not entirely an open-world game, not the first Act at least. The map is shrewdly designed to give the impression that you can go anywhere. The cleverly confined coastal areas and the cleverly confined inland areas (with mountains on each side, ahem ahem Red Faction Guerrilla, ahem ahem, Far Cry 2, ahem ahem Lost Planet 2....) prevent you from going where ever you want. However there are large areas that can be traversed in almost any direction. Also, when you venture too far out it says "You are leaving the playable area" which gives you several seconds to get back before you die, for whatever reason. You also cannot swim so when you go into the deep water you just start walking on the bottom without being able to see anything, chances are, you will die from going too far out instead of dying from drowning.

4. The zombies do not have to die from the blows or trauma to the head. You can just beat them to their second permanent death.

5. The enemy and friendly NPC's are not that numerous.

6. The only dramatic moment in the game is when that family gets slaughtered...in that trailer...for the game.

7. You cannot turn off the cross-hair, so if you plan on playing in 3D that cross-hair will mess up your 3D effect.

8. No save feature. You can't always re-enter the game if you press alt-tab. This will cause you to end the game through the task manager and start from the last checkpoint.

9. The enemy bodies disappear within a minute or so when you turn around.

10. The stamina bar does not pop into the middle of the screen all the time and stay there for a protracted period of time. Just put it on the side.

The positives:

1. You cast a shadow, you can see your legs and you have a personality. (THANK YOU)

2. The AI. This is one time when no one can complain about the crappy AI. The zombie AI is doing exactly what it is supposed to doing, being zombie. Plus there are some zombies with different social behavior. Some remain dormant only to wake up when you are next to them, some charge, some are hard to kill and some jump at you when you open a door. I wish there were some zombies that were peaceful though, just for fun.

3. Great battle system, reminiscent of The Dark Messiah. You get to kick and you get to slash. Not sure if parrying or blocking the attacks is going to be available for upgrade later. However, you cannot hack and slash all the time, because your stamina runs out. And even though the stamina runs out pretty slowly sometimes you have to time your hits. Greater incentive is also given towards aiming for the head since your weapons will deteriorate with each wasted blow. The auto-aim will do the job for you though. At first I felt insulted that yet another console driven game was shoving auto-aim in my face but I got used to it. Not only that, the auto-aim is enabled even when you stand above a dead zombie. You can still hack their particular body parts to pieces.

4. For the maximum immersion, you can turn off the enemy health pop ups, experience points pop ups, the auto-aim as well as the enemy level indicator.

5. The motion blur is always welcome.

6. Plenty of upgrades for your character your weapons and other miscellaneous things. Unlike in Borderlands, you CAN take on some enemies above your level and manage to kill them.

7. Plenty of scavenging is involved, sometimes you get to find rare items that cost a lot of $.

8. The driving of the rare few vehicles is smooth.

9. Some decent use of environments.

10. The cover system reminiscent of the Killzone franchise is very lovable and realistic.

11. Co-op is fun as advertised.

On another note, it turns out that the best non-modded melee weapon so far is the cleaver. One slash and the head comes off. What I also liked is that every kill feels like you are actually killing someone or something, unlike in Left4Dead where the simple mowing down of hundreds of zombies in the matter of minutes stays fun but quickly turns generic

The bottom line is that the game itself does not really play as a survival horror game but as an arcade beat'em up with some new elements. Take that for what it is worth.

That is all.

Updated. 9-9-11.

I found myself enjoying the game more by playing alone rather than co-op. Your co-op buddies tend to either lag behind or run too far out ahead. I prefer playing alone at night with the headset on, the immersion and tension is thus amplified.