Back to Banoi.
As we wade our way through the vast number of remakes and remasters that seem to be part of the weekly releases for the current generation of consoles, it is inevitable that some titles will float to the top, becoming classics once again, while others sink to the bottom, never to be mentioned again. Then there are the remastered games that divided the gaming audience on their original release, and manage to achieve nothing more in their remastered form. Deep Silver and Techland’s Dead Island Definitive Edition is one of those dividing games.
The original Dead Island launched back in 2011 to mixed reception. The game was announced with an incredible trailer, but the reality of slaying Zombies on a tropical island for some proved never to live up to the trailer-driven hype. However, for every person who found the story dull and badly written, there was another gamer who relished the tropical open world. For every player who lamented the technical issues, another found themselves engrossed in the excellent weapon crafting system. For every player who couldn’t stand the bad voice acting or gave up due to the wonky collision detection, yet more enjoyed the co-op gameplay and the chance to kill loads of Zombies. You get the idea.
The Dead Island Definitive Edition has, understandably, made a few changes to the two core games from the series that are included in the bundle. These changes are mostly cosmetic however, so anyone who played the games originally and couldn’t get on with the mechanics will likely find themselves in the same situation here. Aside from the cosmetic changes, the real draw with this collection is the amount of content. In this bundle, players will get not only the newly remastered Dead Island game, along with all of the available DLC, but also a remastering of the semi-sequel Dead Island Riptide. Open world games are generally known for having an abundance of content, and these two titles, along with DLC, are no different. It is possible to buy each of these remastered games individually, but then the buyer will miss out on the bonus that is included in the full package – Dead Island Retro Revenge. It’s great that the developer’s have dropped an new game into the package, which happens to be a 2D side-scrolling endless runner style arcade title. The bad news is that the game doesn’t actually appear to launch until August for Xbox One, so until then it is just an icon in the library to stare at.
For those who never ventured into Banoi or the setting for Riptide, and it is these people who this bundle is aimed at, get set for an open world, tropical, Zombie-slaying adventure. Dead Island gives the player a choice of different characters to play as, each with their own specialties and skills which can be leveled up and improved upon through experience. The RPG system which allows the player to level up will also supply them with multiple different missions as they explore the island. These missions are not always the most exciting, tending towards various fetch quests or escort missions and the like, but they give the player a chance to fully explore the island and the different environments found there, from the beautiful tropical resort to the more mundane laboratories that manage to sneak into almost every Zombie game.
The combat is not particularly elegant or clever, but one of the real highlights is the abundance of weapons and the way they can be modified. Melee weapons can be found almost anywhere and come in all different shapes and sizes. These weapons degrade through use, so players will find themselves always stockpiling spares in case they lose their favorite method of bashing Zombie brains in the middle of a fight. Players can also scavenge for parts and, with a work bench and the appropriate blueprint, can use these parts to modify their weapons, such as the simple addition of nails to a plank of wood, or the more exotic combination of electricity with a crowbar. Watch the sparks fly!
Dead Island Riptide moved the action to another island, and dropped in a few new features including what is basically a tower defense element and some boats. Otherwise, it is business as usual and Zombies need to be killed.
One of the big draws for both of these titles is the ability to play with friends. Co-op play for up to four players is still available, and changes the way the game is played. Playing alone, both Dead Island games are about surviving in a tense situation, requiring caution at every turn and a slower pace. Drop in a few buddies and things become much more chaotic and silly, and a whole lot easier.
The main differences between the original games and these newly remastered offerings are visual. The remasters are now 1080p and run happily at 30 frames per second, and it is noticeable. Dead Island and its sequel were not especially pretty games before, but now they look nice, and include new lighting effects and textures to round the visual package out. There are still places where the game remains quite ugly, but who wants pretty Zombies?
The visual improvements are great and make the game feel quite comfortable on the current consoles, but the real appeal with the Dead Island Definitive Edition is the huge amount of content included. Two massive open world games, complete with DLC, and an additional arcade title, all for a very low price. The Dead Island games are certainly not for everyone, but if you enjoyed the titles before, or fancy slaying some Zombies in a tropical setting, then this collection is well worth checking out.