Release Date: 09/09/11
Terror. Violence. Madness. Bedlam. A holiday paradise gone mad. A tropical island turns into total chaos after a mysterious zombie outbreak. Cut off from the rest of the world, the player’s only chance to survive is to fight to the death and find a way to escape from the island.
Dead Island combines first-person action with a heavy focus on melee combat, character development and customisation of a vast array of weapons. All of these gameplay features are presented in a dark story inspired by classic zombie movies with a gritty and engrossing campaign that can be played with up to four players in co-op mode.
Set in an open world tropical island, hordes of different festering zombies await players around every corner while they embark on a variety of thrilling missions through the holiday resort. With firearms and ammunition being scarce the player must rely on utilising found items as weapons for self-defence and fight off zombie hordes in intense melee combat. A diverse range of items can be collected and will later serve to transform the player’s ordinary makeshift weapons into serious instruments of destruction.
In addition to satisfying even the most bloodthirsty action fan’s fantasy, Dead Island also features role-playing elements which allow the player to develop one of the game’s unique character classes according to their preferences, all the while learning new skills and fresh tactics during their journey through the perilous environments of the island. What’s more, anytime during a game up to four players can seamlessly join together and experience the intense combat and immersive story with cooperative gameplay.
With the all-new Chrome Engine 5 powering Dead Island, the game will use the latest installment of Techland’s acclaimed proprietary game engine, allowing the player to experience the tropical island paradise in graphical splendour with diverse environments like lush forests and detailed city environments.
Since the “family” advert to the game I’ve been more than interested in this title from Deep Silver. As such when the letter box slammed shut with an unearthly clatter, I knew that it had arrived. So, after ripping open the packaging like a zombie at an all you can eat brain buffet. I decided to have a swift training montage to get myself fully in the mood. So after a few Romero’s, a zombie story or two and of course “Thriller”ing (and no I categorically refused to Pan’s People around the front room to Boris and the Crypt-kickers) I was ready to roll.
Let’s get things straight from the start, Dead Island is not big on story, it’s a game where you run around the island of Banoi, immune to zombie infection, battering, kicking as well as running the rotting undead over in various cars, doing missions for other survivors in order to help achieve everyone’s escape. It’s fun, it has some great effects and the character that you choose at the beginning effects your style of gameplay. Add to this the clever level up (where you can add various skills to your character in order to give them one up on the undead) and it’s a game that has all sorts of potential and differing options for each player’s personal style of play.
The other thing that you have to add to this game is that it’s a massive free roaming environment, so at times if you’re not making careful use of the map, you can find yourself all over only to kick yourself at having explored too far and have to slog your way back through hordes to get back to the proper location.
Whilst I’ve said that it’s not big on plot, the game play angle is quite wide and varied with a zombie level of the same as the character which will increase from one or two attacking you at the beginning to larger numbers the further you progress as well as hardened bully boys that will give you a little trouble until you learn a good few tricks. (Personally I’m a huge fan of the trumped up Sickle for lopping off arms and heads, although a good wrench is also a solid back up for caving in some undead skulls.)
Finally add to the whole thing, various weapons with upgrade options, as well as the chance to make your own weapons from bits and pieces found around the island, and you know that the player will have a whale of a time in this zombie, blood, guts and brain smashing mash up which will last upwards of 30 hours (around 50 if you complete all the side missions.) Although if you’re looking for a complex plot such as Resident Evil you will be disappointed. Personally I’d say that this game will appeal to film fans of Dario Argento as well as George Romero and book fans of David Moody as well as Jonathan Maberry especially if you want lots of action and a good amount of splatter. A nice bit of fun all in and a title that I’ll be playing through a number of times to see the other characters skills in action.