Bugs and a poor single-player experience mean that Dead Island is definitely a game for two or more players
- Strong online co-op mode
- Good combat system
- Free roaming allows players to go at their own pace
- Single-player gameplay is disappointing
- Controls can be clunky at times
- No split-screen co-op
Dead Island is clearly made with online co-op in mind. If you’re looking to play the game alone, you may find yourself disappointed. Play it with friends to unlock the game's full potential.
Further into the game, cut-scenes would feature all four playable characters. The first time I saw one of those cut-scenes in singleplayer mode was a jarring experience. I actually thought that this was another bug, since from the beginning I was under the impression I was doing everything alone. Unlike Left 4 Dead's AI help, Dead Island lets you fend off hordes of zombies alone. I thought it was normal up until the first group cut-scene, which then made me feel cheated.
Another let down was the lack of split-screen co-op multiplayer. I understand the RPG aspects of the game would make the split-screen action I was looking for difficult, but it was still a disappointment to see it completely omitted. Despite all my complaints, the game's online co-op experience is incredibly enjoyable.
You can easily drop in and out of other people’s games through Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network. By doing so, you can also pick up new quests. If you have friends with the game as well, that’s even better. Being able to play with friends is the saving grace of Dead Island; nothing beats mowing down a horde of zombies with a speeding truck with your friends in tow.
Playing Dead Island with a full team of four brings a whole new dynamic to the game. Taking down special enemies becomes exciting and Dead Island becomes much more fast paced, which I preferred much more than my painfully cautious single-player campaign.
Dead Island wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it is by no means a game that should be written off. Yes, the single-player mode has some shortcomings and the numerous bugs are irritating, but a solid online co-op mode makes it an awfully fun zombie game. Dead Island won’t change your life but who can argue with mass zombie decapitation?
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