Mixed or average reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 75
  2. Negative: 1 out of 75
Buy On
  1. Sep 6, 2011
    An open-world zombie game has far more potential than what Techland is putting on display. There's certainly a lot of fun to be had on Dead Island, but don't be surprised if tedium sets in once you've murdered a zombie in every way imaginable (estimated time: 20 hours).
  2. Sep 19, 2011
    There are plenty of flaws, such as the iffy aiming, average graphics and poor story, but Dead Island still claws back ground with the variety of weapons, the scope and the pleasant progression path. Zombie aficionados won't be wowed, but they could also do a lot worse.
  3. 72
    The RPG twist on the genre is fairly cool, and does result in an experience that is longer than you might expect, but the game's utter lack of story and reliance on pre-established genre conventions make it a pretty big missed opportunity.
  4. 65
    Missions generally consist of bludgeoning your way from A to B; sometimes you'll have to retrieve an item, sometimes you'll have to flick a switch. Take away the specifics though and it boils down to walking across an island of hungry corpses and back again nine times out of ten.
  5. Sep 22, 2011
    Playing Dead Island is similar to going on holiday – it's nice to try something a bit exotic and different, but after a while you begin to yearn for home.
  6. Sep 8, 2011
    It's not good enough, frankly. The fun zombie-bashing can't sustain itself, and the plot, characters and setting aren't good or memorable enough to justify wading through the 20 odd hours it'll take to finish.
  7. Sep 5, 2011
    It's inspired, but turgid. Brilliant, but flawed. Fun, but infuriating. Like the living dead itself, Dead Island is a contradiction from beginning to end. However, I feel you need to play it, because despite copying so much from infinitely smoother games, there's nothing quite like it on the market. That, itself, is yet another contradiction in the confused, conflicted, often completely beautiful mess that is Dead Island.
  8. Sep 8, 2011
    The game lacks the sophistication of other zombie games such as Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil, and has enough design gaffes to sink a battleship. But as long as you have a bit of patience and don't expect a true survival horror experience, you will have oodles of guilt-free fun mashing away at zombies on this twisted beach paradise.
  9. Sep 5, 2011
    Much like gnawing on human flesh, Dead Island's clumsy horror-action role-player is the definition of an acquired taste.
  10. Sep 14, 2011
    Even with bugs and many things that should have been polished, Techland's latest effort is quite fun and not just another typical zombie game.
  11. Sep 25, 2011
    It's the kind of game where it becomes good if you don't stop and think about its lack of polish at every turn. But really, it's an enjoyable romp through zombie land, as long as you have friends to back you up.
  12. Sep 5, 2011
    Indeed less memorable than the CG trailer that skyrocketed the buzz around its name, Dead Island still differentiates itself from the rest of the action/horror games thanks to a singular atmosphere. It's a shame its story is forgettable, its close range combat is sometimes confusing and its production values lag behind today's average, because the Banoi Island does have its charms. The survival feeling is there, and the bright sun rays won't dissipate the fear lurking around. Its RPG side with skills and weapons upgrades, online cooperative gameplay and clear identity make Dead Island a nice summer steam-venting action title.
  13. Sep 6, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  14. Sep 9, 2011
    Dead Island's teaser trailer made it look as if the game was going to be one to actually bring the emotional conflict to the forefront, something they almost achieve in once instance out of many. Instead, the game's released as but another vehicle for insipid violence.
  15. Sep 9, 2011
    Do you love zombies? Then you can live out your fantasy on this tropical island, bashing their faces in and cutting their bodies with baseball bats, knives and guns. But that's all there is to do in Dead Island. The different genres that are combined here don't gel together so well and the game has no story whatsoever. Dead Island doesn't deliver on its premise, but hey, it does have thousands of zombies, and that makes it somewhat fun.
  16. 70
    There's a lot to do on this zombie-infested island from hell. With some more varied missions and better melee combat, the final score would have been shimmering.
  17. Sep 15, 2011
    Dead Island is a mixed bag. Everything it does right is done incredibly well, but the things it does wrong tend to negate the positives.
  18. Sep 5, 2011
    As with Dead Rising before it, the complaints cannot come close to outweighing the sheer anarchic fun to be had, the instant gratification Dead Island offers, or the amount that Techland has managed to achieve here despite punching well above its weight.
  19. Sep 6, 2011
    If you don't step off the boat expecting a taut horror experience, a masterful gun game, or compelling characters, you'll have a bloody good time.
  20. Sep 5, 2011
    The game's foundation is utterly unique, hypnotically compelling, and seriously scary in weird ways horror games don't normally pull off, and if it had been more polished I would have given it a higher score. It really is an unfinished game, though, and its problems are not minor annoyances. I really, really enjoyed playing the game for most of its humongous play time, but it also brought spectacular bouts of frustration.
  21. Sep 7, 2011
    An injection of human drama could have brought the game's reality into line with our expectations, which were so cruelly raised by that teaser trailer mere months ago.
  22. Sep 12, 2011
    Think of Dead Island as a B-game and you'll be fine. It seems like a bit of an insult to reel off the old cliché of "if you can ignore the bad stuff and only look at the good," but for Dead Island that line actually rings true.
  23. Sep 5, 2011
    Probably the most realistic recreation of the inevitable and oncoming zombie apocalypse in video game history. It's typified by desperation, sacrifice, frustration, terror and the overbearing sense of hopelessness. But there's a catch. Though the zombie apocalypse may occasionally be grimly satisfying or fleetingly triumphant when you survive another night, there's one thing it almost certainly won't be...Fun.
  24. Sep 30, 2011
    Ambitious zombie outbreak that should have been in development a couple of more months.
  25. Sep 7, 2011
    Unfortunately their goal of creating an epic, apocalyptic first-person zombie survival gameends up cracking under the weight of their own ambition. A smaller scale and some more time in development and Dead Island could have been the zombie game we've always wanted.
  26. Sep 21, 2011
    Its multi-player options will appeal to the hardcore co-op zombie crowd and its disaggregated gameplay elements set it apart from its peers. If you're addicted to zombie titles, and you want something with a little more depth, then it might be worth a rental. But unfortunately it just doesn't live up to its own hype.
  27. There's loads wrong with Dead Island. It's as riddled with holes as the festering flesh of its primary antagonists. Every element of the game you can conceive of is infected with issues that would ordinarily be terminal. By all rights it should fall flat like a faceplanting undead shuffler. But just like those persistent, putrefied corpses, Dead Island keeps trundling on, somehow remaining shambolically entertaining throughout.
  28. Sep 7, 2011
    Dead Island is filled with good concepts and potential, but it can't stick the landing. As it stands today, sadly,
  29. Sep 28, 2011
    In short bursts or with a group of friends, there's certainly a lot of fun to be had, but it's the sort of mindless, arcade-style fun you'd find in Zombies Ate My Neighbours. Players looking for a complete package had best look elsewhere.
  30. Sep 9, 2011
    It's all a bit laboured, a bit tedious, and it's the kind of co-op game that's more fun based on who you're playing with, than on what you're playing. It sits in this awkward middle ground between Borderlands and Left 4 Dead, never remotely matching either but never quite crossing into the territory where you should be avoiding it.
  31. Sep 12, 2011
    Narratively, Dead Island is unambitious. There's no attempt at satire, commentary, or quirk. The plot, mostly communicated through quest-givers, is straight-faced as a straight-to-cable horror flick, but like the rest of the game, it's serviceable.
  32. Sep 28, 2011
    Dead Island is a really big game and gamers who enjoy open world titles with a ton of missions should really have fun here.
  33. Sep 9, 2011
    Basic crafting, unlockable abilities, exploration, and shootouts with looters all provide some structural complexities. But unfortunately, still hidden underneath that crust is an astonishingly boring apocalypse.
  34. Sep 13, 2011
    Even as an open-world RPG, Dead Island had a great deal more to offer on the drawing board than it delivered in the final game. The game masquerades as a unique marriage of several genres and gameplay types. Rather, it's a box of dusty old spare parts tacked together into an experience unsatisfying on every level.
  35. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Sep 19, 2011
    A mix of highs and lows that shows flashes of brilliance but needs more variety, more polish and a genuinely open game world. [Issue#76, p.82]
  36. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Dec 2, 2011
    A wasted opportunity - frustrating to play and too ugly to love. [Dec 2011, p.98]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 636 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Sep 6, 2011
    So...first off, I am definitely blown away. While I was excited about this game, I was a bit worried as to what the final product would beSo...first off, I am definitely blown away. While I was excited about this game, I was a bit worried as to what the final product would be like and I can honestly say it turned out quite amazing. From the beautiful visuals to the blood curdling screams of the zombies, the island feels alive. It really comes alive though when you're allowed to explore at you're leisure. Taking on side quests can be a bit overwhelming as there are many to take on at any given safe zone, but they all do a great job at wrapping you up in the world and the affairs of it.

    The game isn't without flaws, but fortunately, they are only minor. I experienced a respawn bug when playing a session with my buddy and a couple other texture loading bugs but these are things the developers have said would be fixed in a day one patch so those shouldn't be of concern. In the end, the game's a lot fun. The weapons really feel like you connect when you're beating down a zombie and the degradation of weapons makes each common oar or plank feel like a brand new weapon you're stockpiling to fight with. Playing with a buddy (or 3) is great and even though they're not a whole lot of tutorial pop ups to help you with everything, you learn pretty quickly how everything works and can easily get connected to the game. It's the largest scale zombie rpg I've seen yet and, to me, it definitely doesn't disappoint. I love the realistic touches and the added difficulty some of it presents and I for one will be having fun with this game for a long time
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 6, 2011
    You take the role of one of four playable characters who survived the first wave of a zombie outbreak at the luxury Royal Palms resort on theYou take the role of one of four playable characters who survived the first wave of a zombie outbreak at the luxury Royal Palms resort on the holiday island of Banoi. What caused this outbreak, as well as why you are immune to the zombie infection, is just one of the mysteries in a grindhouse â Full Review »
  3. Sep 7, 2011
    I really, really, REALLY wanted to like Dead Island. 15 hours later, I can tell you that I don't at all. 5 1/2 years of development gave themI really, really, REALLY wanted to like Dead Island. 15 hours later, I can tell you that I don't at all. 5 1/2 years of development gave them enough time to "borrow" elements of game play from other (far superior) games in an attempt to emulate the glory of these titles. Whether you're talking about the the Co-op of Left 4 Dead (Dead Island started development as a single player game), the inventory of Borderlands (500 different pistols with barely discernible stat differences and names), or the crafting of Dead Rising 2 (get a blueprint, collect pieces, assemble at a workbench), Dead Island tries and resoundingly fails to utilize these in any way that does justice to the titles it lifted them from. (PROS)
    30+ hours of gameplay.
    Ambient audio and soundtrack are both surprisingly top notch.

    Beating a zombie to death rarely looks as satisfyingly devastating as it does in this game. (CONS)
    Matchmaking is broken on Xbox LIVE at the time of this writing. You are not able to join into games with people who are not on your friends list. Even if you are friends with someone it is more than likely that you will be unable to invite them to your game (or vice versa); regardless as to whether or not you are in the same Chapter/Area/Level Range.
    30+ hours of fetch quests. The vast majority of the missions (at least in the first 15 hours of play) involve an NPC telling you they need something (or 5 of something) and that they expect you to fetch it. This is fun for the first hour or so, but it's novelty wears off very quickly. Especially considering the amount of time that you will spend backtracking through familiar and well trod areas to turn in quests. A narrative that does not immerse you in the world. You stumble across an NPC that is dying of thirst. They ask you to fetch some water from across the island. You scratch your head and wonder what is wrong with the six cans of "Energy Drink" at their feet (or, for that matter, the bottles of water across the room). The game is rife with idiosyncratic narrative elements that absolutely destroy and suspension of disbelief. Game mechanics that depend on you feeling as though you're low on resources to make any sense at all. All the items that you can pick up in the game, be they weapons, money, healthpacks, crafting components etc respawn very rapidly. When your weapon takes damage over time (which is does very rapidly) You don't have to be concerned as You have more than enough money to repair it, a new weapon to replace it with and enough snack bars and energy drinks lying around to make it very hard to find yourself in a situation with any tension related to the "Survival horror".

    Enemies that respawn in exactly the same number/location/configuration every time you pass through an area. Since you'll spend a lot of your time on the island backtracking to places you've already been it won't take long for you to know which bodies are dead and which are zombies, where the super zombies spawn, and how many times you need to fight the exact same three zombies before you're ready to turn your makeshift club on yourself. Inconsistent graphical presentation. The Chrome engine that Techland employs in this title is terrible at rendering shadows and vegetation. This makes it especially terrible at rendering tropical locales. When you combine this with the overabundant bloom, inconsistent texture resolutions, and last gen environmental effects it makes for a game that is at times pretty; and at other times so ugly that I would gnaw my own arm off to escape were I to wake up next to it in the morning after a night of heavy drinking.
    Terrible, stilted animations. While not readily apparent on the zombies (as they are supposed to look unnatural when they move) this becomes quite atrocious when watching any NPC perform any animation whatsoever. I would be surprised if motion capture technology was used at all in this games animation process. Broken collision detection. For a game where the primary focus is beating zombies to death you figure that they would have spent more time refining this core element of gameplay. Sometimes your swinging weapon will decapitate a zombie that was clearly out of range of your attack and other times it will pass right through a zombie torso (allowing them to close the distance and attack). Lots of frustrating combat missteps as result of this.
    (Final Thought)
    In closing, I would like to say that a certain kind of gamer will love this. It is a mindless open world beat 'em up and a lot of people don't play games for style or substance. If you were expecting a AAA title in line with some of the other releases this coming this fall, you'd be better served not playing it, renting it, or waiting the month it will take for this to find it's way into the bargain bin.
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