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Quickie: Dead Island (Multi)

Dead Island is one of my favorite games this year, which is funny when it comes from the same developers [Techland] of one of my most hated games all year: Call of Juarez: The Cartel. I would rather smuggle drugs for the cartel by placing countless bags of coke in an extremely uncomfortable place—no, not a Volkswagen—than play The Cartel. Dead Island could, without question, use some polish, but it has the kind of hooks capable of addicting me in the same way coke hooks a cokehead.

The hooks I speak of are a leveling system with numerous upgrades and an open-world that actually feels open. A well-implemented leveling system—which The Cartel does not have—is enough for me to play the absolute worst games, but that's not to say Dead Island is a bad game. The leveling system featured in Dead Island is similar to games like Borderlands, with three columns of differing themes, leaving many choices, many hard choices. Each level feels earned and I was addicted to getting experience points in whatever way possible. The game also manages to have a environment that feels completely open despite that being false. It may be due to the island setting, but for the most part, I never felt like I wasn't free, except the moment I was being warned about leaving the game area.

The game also features a crafting system that leaves many throwing comparisons between Dead Island and Dead Rising 2. I understand the comparison, but the crafting in Dead Island is a bit more practical. There aren't crazy chainsaw-paddles or wolverine boxing gloves; for example, there are weapons full of nails or covered in burning cloth, nothing too ridiculous. It makes sense in Dead Island's more realistic world and it's nice that all crafting materials are not part of the character's inventory—there is no limit on how many crafting items one can hold at a time, so go loot like a Londoner. As far as the zombies go, they range from slow walkers to Olympic sprinters to giant flailing idiots. It's nice to have the variety and the ability to break or cut limbs is never not amusing.

Another big hook Dead Island has going for it is co-op, but that is something I sadly missed. I only rented the game and plan to buy it once it has the ever-common sale after a week or two, but I did want to jot down some thoughts. The game is buggy and could have used some extra time or potentially some outside help, but I never experienced anything that really took me out of was what one would call a "game-killer." If you even just a little interested, rent the game and see if it's up your alley—which may be a euphemism for that extremely uncomfortable place mentioned earlier. If you had fun with the likes of Fallout 3, Borderlands, or Far Cry 2, there's a good chance you'll find something to like in Dead Island.

Dead Island Fun Facts:

  • Dead Island has the thirstiest woman in the world. How she hasn't died from drowning is beyond my comprehension.
  • Women on the island love to stay in swimsuits regardless of place, leaving so many female zombies dead with their ass up in the air, saying "hello world" with its firmness.
  • Boxes of apples contain only one edible apple. In the extremely rare situation, they contain two edible apples.
  • Dialogue is sometimes as great as this: "Thanks mate, I was losing hope. This is just what I was hoping for."

Reader Comments (6)

Thanks for the postcard last month. I love Dead Island. Not only is that one woman crazy thirsty... but I love the guy who is planning on bogartting all the canned food you can find. All the while he is holed up with about a dozen other survivors. HA! Survival of the fittest.... more like survival of the most conniving!
September 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermackslappy
It's a true to life story, showing that the ones who survive are the ones who look out only for themselves.
September 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc Kusnierz
Reminds me of this fun but unrealistic book, "Can you Survive the Zombie Apocalypse." It was a choose your own adventure book for adults. The game is great in my mind but the book was ridiculous. If you ran from the zombies you seemed to always die, if you fought the zombies you always seemed to be okay. (in real life I plan to run as much as I can.) Maybe not every time but really haphazard in execution. Throwing common sense out the window was often the best course. Heck there was even one course of action that when decided upon within the first couple of choices in the book would inevitably lead to your demise no matter what you tried over the next 20 to 30 choices. Always death! Ha! Anyway great site and keep the sketches coming....Peace!
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermackslappy
I resent your comment, sir! Every choose your own adventure book is for adults! And every CYOA book features a death within just a few choices.

P.S. Your name makes me want to slap you.
September 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc Kusnierz
I apologize for my offense. I should have put quotation marks around "adult" as I too enjoyed the classic choose your own adventure books. I am glad to hear that they are officially returning. One creator has retained the rights to use the name "choose your own adventure" while the other creator has been given the rights to re-publish the classics. "adult" referred to the fact that it is uber violent, has waitresses flashing their breasts on cell phone cameras, as well as you sleeping with a high school crush in the backyard, and so on. Trust me if these things were in the classics from the 80s maybe more kids would have read more often. Also in the classics you could easily see your mistake and try again with a different choice. In the book in questions every choice on one track leads to your demise.... there is no escaping your fate. (Wow.... kinda deep thought!)

Also I am sorry my name offends. Mama Slappy gave it to me when I was but a little gamer playing adventure on the atari 2600 and trying to wrap my fingers around the Intellivision's keypad overlay.

Glad you are back to reviewing indie games. Not enough sites bother with the indie genre lately.
September 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermackslappy
Uber violence and titty-flashing sounds like a teen-centric take, like American Pie Full of Knives. But I'm really just having fun with contradicting you no matter what. It's true about indies. I will be doing my best to have at least a few per week and I want to start up a shorter (30-minuntes max), focused podcast about indie crap in general, but I won't promise anything yet as I may be super busy with the 200+ pages of writing for school among other nonsense.

I have also been working on an extremely elaborate--probably too elaborate--CYOA for the site that will incorporate art, music, videos, and much more in what is already giant tree of deviations and decisions. If everything in my head comes to fruition, I think it will be something special.
September 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc Kusnierz

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