Dead Island: Definitive Collection (XB1) Review

Ken McKown

You’ve got red on you.

The original Dead Island was a turning point for zombie video games. That first trailer got people hyped, then the game launched, and was unlike anything we had seen in the genre. First-person melee combat mixed with RPG elements in an open-world full of the undead. It was addicting, and it set a precedent going forward.

Fast forward to today and Dead Island: Definitive Edition is hitting shelves. On paper it sounds like a great idea to bring back this series for those that might have missed out on it, but after the evolution of the genre, and the fact that the “sequel” was little more than a rushed expansion, and this package feels extremely dated.

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MSRP: $39.99 ($19.99 per game)
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Multiplayer: Online up to four players
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

I loved Dead Island when it first released. It was corny, gory, and was great to play with friends. Getting a group together to mow down zombies, all while gaining XP and earning new abilities, was a blast. The best part about these games is that they never took themselves too seriously. From the goofy characters, to the paper-thin writing, the campy nature fit right alongside the goofy premise. Going back to these titles now though is tough, but that is not the game’s fault.

Techland, the original developers of the game, have perfected their craft. The recently released Dying Light is everything that Dead Island established, but perfected. Dead Island was a blueprint for a better game, and after playing that game, the mechanics found here feel dated.

That is not to say there is not fun to be had. Dead Island and Riptide provide hours of content. The original game alone probably sits at around 40 hours just to get through. This collection also includes all the DLC that was released for both games, as well as a very popular mod called Punch Mode, which is extremely satisfying. Be warned though Achievement/Trophy hunters, enabling this mode disables earning any of the virtual rewards.

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This package has also received some visual upgrades for the console versions. Higher quality textures, photorealistic lighting systems, and plenty more fancy words that translate to this game looking a heck of a lot better than it did on past machines. There are even updates that were not present in the PC releases. The game does look a lot better, and the frame rate tends to hold its own most of the time, but there are still some hilarious animations and visual hiccups. Of course, it wouldn’t feel as cheesy without them.

I loved Dead Island when it came out, but I wonder who this collection is for. The games included are not that old, and with Techland’s newest entry leaps and bounds above what these games did, it is hard to go back. Still for $40 for the pair one cannot argue the amount of value packed into this package. I wanted to discuss the Retro Revenge included, but our digital copy did not unlock, and now lists a release date of August, which is weird as I hear the game is on the physical discs. For those craving more open-world zombie madness it is hard to argue the value here, just remember that these games feel extremely dated.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Plenty of content
  • New visuals look great

Bad

  • Dated mechanics
  • Riptide just feels lackluster
6

Decent

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.
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