Managed to have a solid four-hour session on the game today. Unfortunately it’s going to be my last day in Banoi for a good few weeks – so I’m making this my semi-official review! I have to say, the melee combat is growing on me now that I’ve pumped some skill points into Combat and found some pretty brutal weapons like heavy brass knuckles and the wrench. The zombie encounters are also becoming more challenging with groups of up to 5 zombies attacking all at once – it becomes a bloody mix of kicking and slashing. And if you look to preserve your weapons a familiar pattern appears – slash, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. Dead. When at it’s best Dead Island really does shine – once you get access to the pickup truck and the open road the game finds it’s feet after what is a pretty unconvincing start (The first 30 mins of the game pretty much involves raiding suitcases for money and other seemingly useless crap). My favourite missions thus far have been those that utilise the truck and make you roam around for gasoline and orange juice. Some missions on the other hand are completely silly and make you wonder how many hours the designers spent playing Dead Rising – the most annoying of which has to be finding Anne Snider’s teddy bear. It just doesn’t fit and only serves to undermine the tone that the majority of the game strives for. There’s also the issue of doing this mission before discovering her sister further down the coastline with that annoying Russian bitch – that fact that you know Anne is fine and well (especially now she has her teddy-weddy) doesn’t stop her sister setting you the task of finding Anne and seeing if she is ok. Gah! And there’s more moments like this along the journey which is a shame because it detracts from the overall experience. Case in point – I helped Omar get back to the lifeguard base where he gave me a gun – or at least I think he did because I can’t find it in my inventory! These issues aside what we have here is a rough diamond. Those willing to look past the slight blemishes and invest time in exploring and building their character’s skill set will find much to enjoy – the game doesn’t have the same pull that Fallout 3 did but even after a few hours away from Banoi I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms…it must be infectious! See what I did there?! This game gets a thumbs up from me.