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. Mar 1, 2012
    Dead Island is a hell of a ride from start to (near) finish and is a zombie game that stands out from the rest of the pack.
  2. Sep 6, 2011
    Dead Island joins the ranks of other zombie games like Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead as one of the best experiences in the genre. While the melee combat and first-person perspective will take some time to get used it, the experience is absolutely rewarding, especially if you can gather up a group of fine zombie killers to come with you for the ride in co-op.
  3. Sep 6, 2011
    It really just manages to suck you in and deliver a good time. I love the co-op, the atmosphere and so much else that all I can think about right now is diving back into the game.
  4. Sep 5, 2011
    Did I enjoy this game? Absolutely. Did it scare the crap out of me at times? 100%. Was there a real feeling of survival horror (as opposed to just jumping-scares) that has been sadly lacking from other contemporary zombie games? You bet.
  5. Sep 28, 2011
    To be fair, when Dead Island shipped, it did have a fair share of issues, and to be honest some of them were game breaking, however most, if not all of the issues, have been resolved and Dead Island is shaping up to be a sleeper hit of 2011.
  6. Nov 23, 2011
    I admit that I was not expecting much from Dead Island, given the oversaturated subject matter and the delayed development time. And while the game definitely has its share of weaknesses, it is pleasantly surprising in its own right.
  7. Sep 9, 2011
    Dead Island is a brilliant game and if you want to take this game one step further, the cooperative mode online truly transcends the single-player experience.
  8. Sep 5, 2011
    New games featuring the walking dead have trouble standing out from the horde, but Techland's first-person, open-world, action/RPG entry Dead Island distinguishes itself. After kicking and slashing my way through the infected island of Banoi, I can say the game has tons to offer.
  9. Sep 5, 2011
    Soloists might enjoy a long weekend on Dead Island, but this isn't a game for the "separate vacations" crowd. The combination of twitch action with an MMO's girth minus the grind cements the game as co-op classic. There's some brain-dead repetition as you down brain eaters, but the rising challenge and resource management means you'll always be mindful of your tasks.
  10. Oct 24, 2011
    Dead Island surprised us by being a tightly crafted experience, full of interesting locales and intriguing missions. It can lose its way at times, but you will find yourself coming back for one more go time and time again, as crippling zombies and saving bikini clad females never gets dull. Losing yourself on Banoi will feel like the vacation from hell, but you'll love it.
  11. Sep 5, 2011
    Dead Island is in many ways what fans of zombie horror films and RPG-Action games have waited for. A gory and exhilarating game.
  12. Sep 6, 2011
    Although a bit too ambitious if we compare the expectations and the final result, Dead Island is still a great game, with a lot of hours of fun, a great ambiance and a good combat system which provides a lot of little pleasures when killing zombies. Its cooperative mode and lenghtly story make it a recommended buy.
  13. Sep 5, 2011
    As a fan of all-things zombie, I went in with high expectations and found that the game ticked a lot of the right boxes. Throw seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op into the mix so all of this can be enjoyed with friends or randoms and the appeal is a whole lot stronger, particularly considering the clever variations between quests.
  14. Oct 17, 2011
    I thought the game fell apart in the final moments, which is unfortunate only because it clouds my memory of the opening where the vibe and horror clung to me like a wet Hawaiian shirt.
  15. Sep 29, 2011
    Dead Island is one of the most ambitious games I have seen in a long time and while I didn't have any high expectations for this game it managed to blow me away and provide hours of fun from start to finish.
  16. Sep 14, 2011
    Its rough edges will distract and annoy you, but Dead Island's quest-based zombie slay-a-thon is still loads of fun. There's tons to do, plenty of toys, and the chance to pick up and play with buddies is always appreciated.
  17. Sep 12, 2011
    It's also got some of the most hard-hitting first-person melee combat in any game I can remember, and an optional cooperative element that really broadens its appeal. Dead Island constantly runs the danger of collapsing under its own weird, esoteric technical quirks, but when it's running at full tilt its charms are hard to resist.
  18. Sep 12, 2011
    If you value polish and smoothness in your games above all else, you'd be best advised to steer clear of Dead Island. But if you crave wickedly satisfying zombie-dismemberment, a full, deliciously time-wasting RPG experience and a depiction of a zombie infestation which rings surprisingly true, Dead Island should float your boat.
  19. 80
    The first few hours can be a little slow, but once Dead Island gets going, it's hard to put down. It's blend of genres ensures that it's not just another zombie game, and the excellent co-op support is the icing on the cake.
  20. Sep 7, 2011
    Dead Island offers something unique, combining RPG elements with a survival horror setting. Despite a few bugs it is definitely a game you should try if you're a zombie addict like us.
  21. Sep 6, 2011
    It's completely different from what the teaser trailers suggested, the narrative is missing, the atmosphere is quite basic, characters are just silly. Yet, Dead Island is a funny action/adventure with small RPG influence, delivering fast paced and visceral combat, best served with friends. Consider it if you're looking for a not-so-compelling, light co-op fun.
  22. Sep 6, 2011
    Dead Island probably won't redefine the survival-horror genre, but it's putting a fresh spin on things by demonstrating how online multiplayer can be used to make a fantasy world really feel inhabited by those with a common goal: survival. And the freedom to explore, exist, and eviscerate the undead the way you want is what makes Dead Island worthwhile.
  23. 80
    The game's also surprisingly scary at times: in dark spaces, we found ourselves flinching at disembodied moans, and being rushed by Infested (fast, growling zombies reminiscent of 28 Days Later) freaked us out more than once.
  24. Sep 5, 2011
    Dead Island is an interesting hybrid with elements of FPS and RPG with a survival horror mood that draws inspiration from many other games, but it succeeds in creating something new. With its gigantic island freely explorable, tons of quests and permanent sense of fear it's more an open world RPG than an action game and it certainly has some flaws. But it's quite unique and a very good cooperative experience for 4 players.
  25. Sep 5, 2011
    Dead Island is a great game. It has many flaws in its visuals, and the first-person gameplay is hard to understand at first. But Dead Island delivers a big open world RPG game, with 4 player coop and many things to do on the island. Horror movie lovers and RPG lovers should give it a try.
  26. Sep 4, 2011
    Presentation doesn't make a game, experiences do. And they are packed into Dead Island.
  27. Games Master UK
    Sep 25, 2011
    Rough round the edges and not overly varied, but it's still a great homage to the zombie genre. [Nov 2011, p.76]
  28. Sep 19, 2011
    If you liked Left 4 Dead and you love multiplayer, you will have Zombie-slaying fun on Dead Island.
  29. Sep 21, 2011
    If you are a fan of the genre, definitely give it a spin. You will no doubt get your money's worth.
  30. Sep 28, 2011
    Dead Island is a mixed bag. While the game is filled with debilitating bugs and frustrating glitches, its addicting gameplay and immersive world keeps you coming back again and again despite those flaws. If given the proper post-release support from the developers, this game could easily be an A+ title and be in contention to be considered one of the best games of the year.
  31. Sep 28, 2011
    Dead Island caters to a variety of play styles. Those after a quick, tense singleplayer campaign can race through it, or alternatively players can take their time and explore the expansive island of Banoi. Either way, the zombie horde will occasionally prove overwhelming and the game includes more than a few frights, but the best way to play the game is co-op with friends.
  32. Sep 22, 2011
    Dead Island is so close to greatness that it's frustrating. Sure, it's not exactly an original concept and the story is such a pointless, clichéd mess that I forgot to mention it in the review, but the core gameplay is so stunningly well-executed that I'm able to forgive most of its flaws.
  33. Sep 16, 2011
    Using ideas from Borderlands & Dead Rising and creating a unique setting, Techland's latest game delivers a solid experience, but not without its share of problems.
  34. Sep 15, 2011
    All in all, Dead Island doesn't do anything new as far as the first person RPG is concerned. If you've played Borderlands or Fallout, you have seen it before. This is not to say that there's anything wrong. It's still vastly immersive, just not essentially unique gameplay wise.
  35. Sep 15, 2011
    There's a great game under all the rubbish, but you have to be willing to shrug off a bunch of annoyances to get there.
  36. Sep 13, 2011
    Dead Island is an entertaining game, with interesting locations and a good RPG component, even if sometimes too cumbersome. Its main problems reside in a disappointing technical production and annoying bugs that sometime prevent us from completing a mission, forcing us to reload the last save. It's a very good game concept, but too unpolished.
  37. Sep 12, 2011
    While Dead Island isn't a flawless experience, I still had a lot of fun with it. It's pretty much the zombie game I had been hoping for, and I'm glad that somebody tackled this open world setting for this particular horror sub-genre.
  38. Sep 9, 2011
    Dead Island already divided reviewers into two camps. One thinks it's a mediocre, unfinished game, while others see it as a well-produced game - not perfect but deserving your attention because of the amount of work put into it and a few sparks of genius. We tend to prefer the latter camp - you won't feel cheated after buying a ticket to Banoi.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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]
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. Sep 7, 2011
    Dead Island is filled with good concepts and potential, but it can't stick the landing. As it stands today, sadly,
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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).
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Sep 30, 2011
    Ambitious zombie outbreak that should have been in development a couple of more months.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. Sep 5, 2011
    Much like gnawing on human flesh, Dead Island's clumsy horror-action role-player is the definition of an acquired taste.
  70. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Dec 2, 2011
    A wasted opportunity - frustrating to play and too ugly to love. [Dec 2011, p.98]
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. Sep 6, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  75. Sep 6, 2011
    The world doesn't have the charm to warrant forgiveness, and progress-halting bugs prevent it anyway. With regular AI freezes and vanishing items, a mistimed autosave can prove fatal. Ultimately it all invites the refashioning of another line from Romero. When there's no more room in development hell, the dead losses will walk the Earth.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 640 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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