I played through the intro level and about half of the first level. Dead Island reminds me a 1st person Dead Rising, but slightly less polished. That pretty much sums it up.
The hand to hand combat is honestly pretty lame, no cool gore effects (well, a little blood and stuff, but not what you'd expect). The main gameplay is searching for loot, doing quests, and equipping yourself. It really does play like a 1st person Dead
Rising the way you find items and do quests, find survivors, etc. But not nearly as many zombies to fight.
The nice part about it is the rpg element, leveling up your skills (such as do more damage with blunt weapons, etc) and the amount of weapons you can hold is pretty cool. (only 2 weapons to start + your fists, as you level up you unlock more weapon slots,
similar to Obilivion with the shortcut wheel.)
I didn't get a chance to try multiplayer, but that may add quite a bit of fun. There is no split-screen of any kind, unfortunately.
For me, I'm not going to buy this, maybe used for under $20, but definitely not new.