Dead Island – Review
There are a few routines that I have to go through when looking around a prospective house, some of them conventional, some would say not so; but that really depends on your mind set. After checking to see how much space there is in the fridge, the pressure of the shower and the bedroom size, it then comes to the most important part of my viewing and brings about the ultimate question. Is this house defensible if there is a Zombie apocalypse?
I know that I am not alone in this mindset – as Leicester Council recently found out when they were invaded by a flesh hungry mob earlier this year. So what would it be like if there was a zombie residency in a local area? Well that’s exactly the premise behind Dead Island.
Banoi, a once lively beach resort is our home away from home whilst playing Dead Island; A tropical paradise that has been turned into a nightmare that you have woken up into after a drunken stupor the previous night. After rubbing the sleep from your eyes and dirt from your fingernails, Dead Island thrusts you face first into a zombie apocalypse, the likes one of us Brits will only experience if a JLS concert happens at Butlins.
Dead Island was originally thought to have died a death of its own, as it was originally slated for a 2008 release but was delayed. It was only when the stunning trailer came out earlier this year that the world stood up and took notice. After basically starting again (the original was not so survival based, it was more of an FPS), Techland decided to throw out their game and instead draw heavily from the RPG genre, a decision that I believe has benefited them as comparisons to Left for Dead would have been great in number otherwise; A point that leads us directly to talking about the gameplay.
Starting off with only your fists and a looterish mentality, Dead Island paces itself perfectly whilst you are walking around the hotel with groans and creaks soundtracking your escape attempts. However, this suspense is destroyed as soon as you put your fist or foot to the face of your first zombie. This is a shame as the zombies do look pretty scary, don’t even get me started on the Thugs or the Rams, who make the zombie nurses in Resident 5 look like poodles. However their initial shock disappears after mushing them in a few times with the edge of an oar as the shock is replaced by panic due to the sheer number of opponents that can appear on screen. A fact that D. I. likes to make sure you are aware of when you are least expecting it. Being rushed by 5 blood hungry enemies whilst trying to find juice, to replenish your health, is not a situation you want to be found in; unless you have a baseball bat modified with nails.
So, let’s talk about the weapons. Before you get carried away and expect to have a 12 gauge shotgun handed to you from the off, the weapons in Dead Island consist of what you can find. An oar paddle starts off as your best friend for crushing skulls but as you work your way up the ranks, you find yourself being able to control weapons that inflict greater damage including the awe inspiring ‘ripper’; an adapted baseball bat with a buzzsaw on the end. It would be easy to draw comparison here between Dead Rising 2’s weapon adaptation mode but Dead Island likes to play its weapon hand close to the more realism route, only slightly though. You can only repair and upgrade your weapons at designated workbench areas, a sort of “death B&Q”. These work benches pop up all over the game map when you have cleared out certain areas, and end up being quite sparse but everywhere can be accessed faster in Dead Island when you are driving; And nothing quite beats the satisfaction of clearing zombie muck off your windshield.
Driving is crucial to the game as everywhere outside of the safe location is no mans land, however on opening up new areas, you have the ability to fast travel; A crucial feature when the scale of the game is considered. Stretching from the resort to the far reaches of the jungle, Techland have really gone all out on creating a large and well populated world. Graphically the game holds up on the PS3, bar the slight bit of motion blur that you get when moving your character too fast but that can be forgiven as soon as you get a glimpse of the graphical water that surrounds the island.