Each of these characters is fun to play and they can all be levelled up to 50 (which is the max level so far). Our favourites so far have been Sam B and Purna, who make excellent team-based characters and can really swing a battle in a group's favour.
Zombies in the game are generated procedurally and they will respawn after a time, so you're never able to clear out an area for too long. This also means you can earn XP constantly and you're never short of feeling overwhelmed out there on your own. It also means that you never quite know what you're going to get as you come around a corner, is that body dead? Or is it undead? Cut the head off just to be sure!
With a large island full of secrets, a big main quest and tons of side missions, this game isn't going to take a few hours to finish. There's also a New Game+ mode too.
The game uses checkpoint saves and after the patch, these seem to be far more frequent and many of the previous bugs have been fixed. 37 issues and more have been fixed in the recent patch which is now live for the Xbox 360.
There are still some issues that can prevent a good time being had by all, but Techland are already at work fixing those. Luckily so far, we haven't hit any of the reported big bugs that prevent the game from continuing.
The game also keeps pace with your level, adding in tougher zombies and more frequent waves as you level up. It usually gives you the loot you need to deal with them as well as allowing you to purchase weapons and so on via shops. You'll never find a level 1 zombie if you're level 25 for instance, but you'll find a level 23 or 26.
If you die, you lose cash, ala Borderlands.Graphics
There are some issues with pop up and texture loads, but for the most part Dead Island is a gorgeously zombie soaked atmospheric game. With the Island of Banoi looking the part and the zombies taking centre stage, these really are some disgusting undead and they're procedural, so their injuries and how they died are all different, as well as the colour of their skin and many other factors. The rest of the graphics are decent and the various characters all have quite a lot of personality to them.
The game also has a layered damage system that lets you see the visual effects of blunt trauma as well as fire, it's all pretty gory and it's all part of the zombie genre aesthetic. I think Romero would be proud. The effects of Dead Island are pretty decent and the fire effect has a nice flicker to it. Our favourite and my favourite has to be the crackles from a shock based weapon.Animations
There are a few issues with the animations from time to time, but for the most part they're really good. Again, the zombies are really well animated and they have a great sense of movement to them, especially the shambling hordes as they come trundling towards you only to stagger and rush forwards arms outstretched, hungry for your skin. Combat animations are great and you can dismember your foes, break their limbs and generally cut them down to size.Physics
Weapons have a force to them, so the physics system is tied into the animation system in that regard. So as previously mentioned it's possible to break limbs, sever limbs and generally cause the undead some serious trauma. Explosions are meaty and some of the bigger undead can knock you over onto your backside so you need to spend precious seconds getting back up. Precious seconds that an infected can use to rip out your throat and eat your brain, you have been warned!AI
There's different levels of zombie AI in Dead Island, it simulates the range at which some walkers or infected can detect you, how they move around the area and of course, how they attack. Some zombies are intelligent enough to hurl projectiles at you; some are more brute force and like to get up close. Some are so sneaky they ignore you as you pass them and play possum, unless you cut off their heads!
The AI is good enough to keep you on your toes and provide a fun experience.
Survivor escort AI is pretty ok; there aren't many path-finding issues and if they're armed with weapons, they know how to use them.