Revisited: Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition

Revisited: Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition


The first time Dead Island entered my radar was February last year. Along with the rest of the world, I saw the first cinematic trailer. Three minutes later I added Dead Island to my list of most-anticipated games. There it sat, in a clunky Excel-sheet alongside the likes of Skyrim and several dancing games, a genre that gets increasingly better in combination with large amounts of alcohol and a bunch of sluggish people who wouldn’t know their right foot from their left. Until eight months later, when the illusion of grandeur the original trailer cast, broke and left gamers with a mediocre game, neither deserving to be canned nor highly praised.

But that was back then, one year later we’re re-introduced to the zombie-filled tropical island by the likes of a Game of the Year-edition. Two additional single player DLC are included, Bloodbath Arena and Ryder White, and one weapon blueprint called The Ripper. But is it enough to warrant a lasting return to Dead Island?


Put bluntly, it isn’t, none of the additional content is actually worth much. Bloodbath Arena being exactly that which the name suggests, a closed off area where you’re up against unrelenting hordes of undead, the same thing that you’ve been doing the entire time. Ryder White, then, puts you in the shoes of army-antihero/evil bastard Ryder White, having you go through the motions once again just to learn a bit more about another character’s past.

Going out and buying Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition all boils down to asking yourself a few questions. “Did I enjoy the game enough to grab it a second time just to show my support? Am I even interested in murdering heaps of zombies for the umpteenth time?”Or in case you’ve never played the game before: “Do I really want to pay thirty euro for a game that’s mediocre at best, that’s probably cheaper when buying the DLC during a sale and that’ll get a (hopefully) superior sequel somewhere next year?”


Granted these are problems that go with every GOTY-release, regardless of the game. The biggest question however, is if Dead Island can still be accepted as a decent zombie slaying adventure. Since it was never great at what it set out to do in the first place. The first person combat felt clunky, the story was nowhere near the level the gaming community expected and bugs alongside a sloppy interface turned the game in one big mess that was only really enjoyable after plenty of patches.

Looking past the many flaws of the game itself, there’s yet another factor keeping this release from grabbing the spotlight. After all, the world has moved on since one year ago. Games like Telltale’s Walking Dead series have introduced proper storytelling to the genre, while DayZ and the soon to be released ZombieU look past cheap thrills, offering a serious challenge to survive instead.

That’s why it’s difficult to recommend Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition to anyone aside from collectors and diehard fans. Not because it’s an awful game, not even because of its many flaws, but because the time just isn’t right. The world does not need another re-release.

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