The history of Dead Island is weird. Originally announced as a Ubisoft title, the game disappeared for years and was eventually re-revealed as a Deep Silver title. It was a game that was seemingly more popular for the emotional and stunning trailer than the actual game itself but it was successful in its own right. Even though the team have went on to create the fantastic Dying Light which is essentially a spiritual successor to Dead Island, going back to the island was still an enjoyable romp.
Dead Island is a cumbersome, sometimes awkward feeling game but it has a charm that’s incredibly hard to replicate. I put 50+ hours into the original Dead Island as I reached max level and started playthroughs with new characters to see just how different they played and how their abilities affected combat.
The RPG elements were surprisingly deep and still feel deep and satisfying as your character learned new abilities. Couple that with the fact that you have multiple characters to choose between and each one has different strengths and weaknesses, Dead Island had enough content to keep you occupied for dozens of hours. Then when you factor in the fact that Dead Island can be played with friends online, the length of that playtime could increase drastically.
There’s something so enjoyable about playing with a friend online and experimenting with the impressive physics on the enemies. It never got old knocking down enemies and watching the impressive ragdoll take over. I cried laughing multiple times playing this game in the past and playing through it again was just as fun.
Being the Definitive Collection, expect a nice touch-up of the original games but don’t expect anything substantial. There was always a nice look to the Dead Island games, even if the textures on show weren’t great. A new lighting system though does breathe enough new life into the title to make it look pretty good.
Techland’s Dying Light is a much better game so for some this may be hard to jump back into the older, inferior contemporary but while Dying Light was an impressive title with refined mechanics, I can’t help but find the Dead Island games consistently fun.
While Dead Island was fun alone, and sometimes incredible with friends, Dead Island Riptide was unfortunately a dull and repetitive experience. It very much felt like a game that was rushed out because of the success of the first game and the bulk of the game is the same set of activities repeated over and over again.
Dead Island Riptide does have its moments of fun but the game is just too repetitive. You spend a vast majority of the time collecting survivors, moving to a base-like area and building barricades to deal with an onslaught of enemies. It’s a tower-defence mechanic that never felt right so even after its first time, it never felt fun or impressive but the fact that its repeated throughout definitely makes this title wear thin much sooner than the original.
With friends, Dead Island Definitive Collection is always fun. For its price, you get a ton of content and it even includes a smaller new game called Retro Rampage. It’s an OK arcade title that offers something new to the package but it’s nothing worth writing home about. See it more of a distraction that an attraction. The Definitive Collection though offers easily 100 hours of content for a decent price and brings with it some of the roughest charm I’ve ever played.