“Deep Silver are bringing the iconic bone crunching, skull smashing, limb breaking, blood drenching fan loved Dead Island and Dead: Island Riptide to the next generation! Featuring fully remastered and greatly improved versions of both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide set to deliver the ultimate Dead Island experience ever.”
– Official Deep Silver website (https://www.deepsilver.com/news/newsdetails/article/dead-island-definitive-collection-1/)
– You get to play definitive edition of two under-rated games –
I’m not ashamed to admit that I liked Dead Island when it initially released. Sure, it had its issues, but behind the flaws was an enjoyable open world title that let you kill zombies with a wide array of crazy weapons. This new definitive edition allows newcomers to play the most impressive edition of game, whilst those returning to the series can just enjoy exploring the deadly tropical island of Banoi all over again.
Dead Island casts you as one of four characters that each have their own specific weapon class that they specialise in. If you prefer fighting with guns then you might want to go for firearms specialist Purna, but if you’re more of a sword user then blade expert Xian Mei would be your go-to girl. Whatever speciality you go for gives you access to the relevant special ‘Fury’ abilities – each character’s ‘Fury’ abilities are different and allow you to be more efficient with your specialist weapon for a short period. You can still use any weapon in the game regardless of your chosen weapon class though.
The bulk of the game sees you exploring the beautiful paradise island of Banoi that has been, you guessed it, overrun with zombies. Those beautiful beaches, hotels and swimming pools are still full to the brim with holidaymakers – they just happen to be undead with a strong desire to eat your flesh. Fortunately your character is immune to the zombie virus. Of course, this also means you’re the one tasked with taking the zombies out and assisting all of the survivors of the catastrophe.
Luckily for you your character can improve their skill set through the use of three skill trees. The skill trees are ‘Fury’, ‘Combat’ and ‘Survival’. Each one covers a different aspect of your skill set – ‘Fury’ improves your specialist abilities, ‘Combat’ improves your fighting skills, whilst ‘Survival’ improves attributes such as your health. You level up in-game by completing quests and killing zombies, though the game is pretty generous with its XP rewards.
Besides levelling up your character you’ll have a ton of fun with the game’s looting and crafting system. You can grab almost anything from anywhere, though some things might be rarer than others. The most enjoyable thing about looting is what you’re able to create – Dead Island has some of the most insane weapons I’ve seen in any video game.
Whilst you have standard weapons you might find lying around such as guns, baseball bats, crowbars, frying pans or knives, you can also create your own monstrosities of weapons thanks to the many mods you can find in-game. There’s weapons like the ‘saw disc axe’, the electrifying ‘bloody mary’ baton or even the ‘meat bait’ grenade that lures zombies to their death thanks to the combination of flesh and gunpowder. There are plenty of weapon customisations on offer in the game so it’s up to you to discover what you can create.
You’ll need these weapons too, given the countless zombies that are out to eat your flesh and brains. They’ll attack in large groups and there’s such a variety of them around that you’ll often have to figure out different ways to take them out. They’re not too clever though, so they’ll never cause you too much stress.
The follow up title Dead Island: Riptide is also included in the definitive edition and whilst it is considered a separate game to the original, it’s really more of an expansion pack. The gameplay feels the same and it continues directly from the end of Dead Island – there are just some new locations, weapons, enemies and an additional character to use. You can also carry over your pre-existing character from Dead Island, allowing you to carry over all the skills you earned previously.
When Dead Island was originally released it was condemned for being incredibly glitchy – there are so many horror stories of the game not progressing or save files getting lost. Thankfully they all seem to be fixed here. Whilst there’s the occasional glitch here and there, there’s nothing that’ll ruin the game for you – this really is the best way to experience the Dead Island games.
– The improvement in visuals is impressive –
Given that this is the definitive edition of the game you can expect plenty of visual improvements. Developers Techland have really delivered too – the lighting in the game looks fantastic, character models have been improved whilst the environment around you has never looked so good. Everything runs in a slick 1080p too, providing the most beautiful version of Dead Island you’re ever going to see.
It’s certainly a vast improvement over the original 2011 release with the improvements actually making the game look just like a modern title. Whilst previous remastered editions of games have resorted to simply up-scaling the graphics, Dead Island: Definitive Collection really sees some significant improvements by rebuilding things from the ground up.
– Multiplayer is great fun –
The most enjoyable feature of the Dead Island games is the online multiplayer. You and up to three other friends can take on the game’s zombies together, offering you one of the most enjoyable co-operative experiences in gaming.
You can play through the whole campaign together or casually drop in and out of multiplayer games as you please. However you choose to play, you’ll definitely have a fun time smashing and slicing zombies apart with friends.
– Dead Island: Retro Revenge is addictive and good fun –
Apart from Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, the newest addition to the series Dead Island: Retro Revenge is also included in the package. Now I’ll admit, when I first started playing the game I didn’t think it was for me. I’ve never been a fan of these endless runners and I kept dying constantly. I stuck at it though and I didn’t look back – seriously, Dead Island: Retro Revenge really hooks you in.
It’s an endless runner that tasks you with progressing through a series of levels as you try to find the main character’s missing cat. Of course, there are countless zombies trying to stop you achieving this goal. Thankfully you have access to plenty of weapons (including some of the more insane ones you find in the main game) so the odds are in your favour – you’ll be blasting zombies apart on your quest to find you little missing kitty.
The gameplay is incredibly simple but so addictive. I was constantly trying to beat my high scores and keep progressing through the game’s many levels, each failure being met with that ‘one more time’ thought that quickly sees twenty minutes of your time turn into hours. It’s a neat little game and charmingly nostalgic with its 16-bit retro aesthetic.
– The abundance of fetch quests –
Dead Island features an absolute ton of quests for you to complete, but unfortunately they mainly consist of repetitive fetch quests. Let’s face it; this isn’t something they could fix with any definitive edition.
NPCs will constantly ask you to head to a specific location to try and find them a particular item. Whilst this type of quest is common in gaming, there are simply too many of them in Dead Island. You do get other objectives to complete in-game with the main missions, it’s just a shame that there’s such a lack of variety with the side quests.
– No 60fps on consoles –
Given that the game originally released in 2011 I was hoping that there’d be 60fps gameplay across all platforms – unfortunately that isn’t the case. Whilst I can appreciate the game has seen vast improvements since its original release, it’s a real shame that it’s not possible to enjoy these improvements in 60fps on consoles. There are actually moments in the game when it creeps below the 30fps mark too, though it never reaches unplayable levels.
PC users don’t have to worry though – provided your PC is powerful enough you should easily hit the 60fps mark and higher.
I was a fan of Dead Island when it originally released back in 2011, so playing through the game again in its new and improved definitive form has been nothing but a treat for me. The graphics have been given a fantastic overhaul, most bugs and glitches have been ironed out and the collection includes both the follow-up Dead Island: Riptide and nostalgic endless runner Dead Island: Retro Revenge too – what more could you want, especially at such a great price…
There are still some issues with the game that’ll never go away, but Dead Island: Definitive Collection provides both a perfect introduction to the series for newcomers and a worthy excuse to re-visit Banoi Island for those returning to the game too.
Developer: Techland (www.techland.pl)
Publisher: Deep Silver (www.deepsilver.com)
Release Date: 31/05/2016
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC