Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dead Island PC Impressions

So, there has been a small patch and now my Dead Island works. I've been able to get about eight hours of gameplay with Dead Island and underneath all of it's problems, there is still an enjoyable zombie game underneath. Don't know anything about Dead Island? Take a look at our earlier E3 preview. I love zombie games and I wanted to love Dead Island, but the first day of trying to play it was so painful for many owners of the game that I fear that it may not recover. It has been getting press reviews anywhere from 3/10 to 9/10, so it's very mixed market. I took a bit of video from the first area of the game, the beach, the bungalows and the life guard tower.
Dead Island does exemplify the use of melee gameplay, I didn't even get a gun till level 11 and I still have no bullets for it, but melee gameplay works very well. Most of the time the hit detection for melee is pretty dead on and that's a job well done when you have so many different melee weapons, especially when they have to make each feel like it's hitting correctly. Melee weapons break down into blunt or sharp weapons and depending on which of the four characters you choose, you will may have bonuses to sharp or blunt. The character I chose has bonuses to sharp weapons and it's not a passive bonus that you start out with, you have skills that you choose each time you level up and most of her skills are centered on sharp melee weapons. Running around with a sickle and slicing off zombies limbs is really enjoyable. Even better, when fighting Brutes (large zombies that knock you when they hit you) it is a great feeling to cut off all their limbs and watch them become useless, although they can still head butt you even without arms. Blunt weapons don't cut off limbs, but they do break them, making zombies slow and less effective. Blunt weapons are also exceptional tools for ending zombies while they are knocked down. I've found one of the most important tools to be the kick, every character starts with the kick ability and you use it to knock zombies away from you, or you can knock them down with a kick. It seems to be a majorly important ability to fighting normal zombies, but with Brutes it doesn't do anything.

VG Dead Island Early Gameplay

The world, so far, is pretty expansive and a lot of fun to explore, but even after the first mini patch, there are still graphical glitches here and there. One of the most annoying glitches has to do with bathroom stairs, you can go down them easy enough but when you try to come back up it's as if you are trying to run up a slide and you have to work around the glitch, by jumping or crouching, to get through it. I've got to a bit of driving in the game so far and that was actually really fun. Driving through zombies is awesome of course, but what makes it interesting is that your car breaks pretty quickly, a truck can take maybe only 15 zombies before it breaks down. So, you cannot just use vehicles to rule the world, they will break and the zombies will swarm you. There is also a crafting system in place and it's pretty standard. You collect various items from around the world, thankfully items that stack and don't take up inventory space, and you can use those items to make weapons from blueprints that you can find or earn through quests.
The environment of Dead Island was pretty scary at first, but unfortunately due to all of it's problems I kind of lost that feeling, at least for now. There are a lot of bugs and glitches around the world, but it's very easy to get through them and there is a large patching coming sometime in the near future. I'm not making excuses for Techland though, they did release a very buggy and messed up game, but the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are supposed to be fine. I have hope that sometime Dead Island will get patched up and working great, and then, it may be possible to give a non-negative review of the game, because there is a good game in there somewhere. I must say, even fairly broken, the game is still addicting, especially with all the quests and rpg mechanics pushing you to keep going. Thanks for reading and here is my set up, for anyone wondering how it may run for them.

-Ran on High Settings, Maxed FOV, 1920 x 1080 resolution, online mode off (apparently online mode tanks FPS).
-FPS: Between 40-80 (probably an average of 50-60) Hard to determine FPS, since it's such a wide range. Used Fraps to monitor FPS.

GFX Card: GTX 460
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
RAM: 8 Gigs of Ram
Processor: Phenom II X6 1090 T 3.2 ghz

-Written by Sean Cargle


  1. Kage_No_ShiSep 9, 2011 05:36 AM
    This game is great! Terrible launch to be sure, but the game is very fun to play.

    I notice performance hiccups on rare occasions. Before the patch it would freeze for a second every 20 or 30 seconds, but now it rarely happens (like once every 5 or 10 minutes at most).

    Running on a dual GTX 570 Core i7 950 rig myself.

    Just FYI, but the 3D vision mode is pretty mediocre.
  2. LokaiSep 9, 2011 12:05 PM
    Yeah, I used to use 3d vision, but then I disabled it because I realized how useless it was. After the newest patch, the big one yesterday, it's been very smooth and I haven't seen any bugs, but I'm sure they are still there. Still crashes on me a little bit though.