Our Premature Evaluation of Dead Island

First announced back in 2007, Dead Island’s unique take on the all too familiar scenario of us versus hordes zombie made it instantly stand out. Then, suddenly, the game went quiet, and we didn’t hear from it again for a couple of years. It even made our list of the most anticipated horror games that needed to see the light of day. On a side note, from the 17 games on that list, Dead Island is the only game that’s since shown up, if you don’t count a third Resident Evil: Outbreak game (Operation Raccoon City sort of counts).

Now that we know a lot about the game it’s time we take a look at it and decide whether or not this game is going to be the mind-blowing open-world zombie game it’s jaw-dropping trailer made it out to be. How will Dead Island perform during our premature evaluation? Let’s find out.

The Visuals

Adam: From the dozens of screenshots that have been steadily pouring out and the trailers that show actual gameplay, I think it’s safe to say that this game is looking good. I fucking love the idea of fighting hordes of zombies in a beautiful, tropical paradise, because when it comes to zombie games they tend to take place in burning cities, and usually at night. This looks like a nice change, and my delicate eyeballs are thankful for that new scenery.

TJ: I’ll second that, I actually didn’t think about it that way until you said it. The cliche zombie games are just that, cliche. An island is a perfect place for a zombie game. And I really have to give it to Deep Silver, so far the game is looking very good, and very realistic.

The Gameplay

Adam: This is the one area where I’m still a little concerned. I’ve had people that have had some hands-on time with the game (the lucky bastards) tell me that it doesn’t play great. Obviously, there’s still plenty of time for them to fix whatever problems there might be with the gameplay, but it’s something that’s made me just a little nervous. The issue is, this game is pretty ambitious, they’re trying to accomplish a lot with the co-op, RPG elements, and open-world environment. I just hope they can make all these things mesh well.

TJ: Yeah this is one of the non concrete sounding aspects of the game. Gameplay really is everything. If they can’t really pull it together the game is going to sink faster than a dead body. Well, you know what I mean. Games of similar nature (Borderlands, Fallout) really nailed the gameplay. Even though Fallout 3/New Vegas are glitchy and aren’t the best looking games, I still love to play them.

Adam: Dead bodies float – maybe a corpse that’s sunk with a little concrete, mafia style? And to me, Borderlands didn’t have the best gunplay, it was a little wonky and inaccurate, but the metric fuck ton of loot and four-player co-op more than made up for the minor issues I had with the combat. Hopefully this game won’t release with a bunch of glitches because that would suck.

TJ: I was thinking about it hard, and I was wondering if dead bodies ever sunk without concrete tied to their feet. I would poke a couple holes in it like when I’m heating up a hot dog in the microwave. I didn’t have much trouble with the Borderlands controls, maybe I was playing Duke Nukem Forever before that…..

Adam: Ugh, Duke Nukem Forever. That harshed my buzz.

The Multiplayer

Adam: This is obviously the game’s biggest selling point and with the recent boom in cooperative zombie games (Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising 2, Resident Evil 5) is any indication, Dead Island has a bunch of great games to take tips from. Over everything, I hope it’s easy to play with my friends. I want to be able to share items, help them when they’re in need (and vice versa), and above all it has to be balanced. With Dead Island, the multiplayer alone is the thing that can make it a huge hit or sink it real fast.

TJ: Exactly. They can take all the elements from previous multiplayer gems for guidance. But it’s all a matter of will they implement them, and do it well. Most multiplayer games, have several elements, but none of them have everything. Now is Deep Silvers chance to really shine.

Adam: And shine they shall, like the glassy eyes of that dead little girl!

TJ: Too soon.

The Story

Adam: So long as the game doesn’t pull a “Left 4 Dead” and offer us absolutely zilch regarding what happened to start the zombie apocalypse, I’ll be happy. The characters, for the most part, seem like interesting folks (though I’m not sure about the fairly stereotypical Sam character) and the many hours worth of side quests gives people like me who enjoy wringing every last ounce of content out of their games a little more to do outside of the main story. They’re striving for realism though, so I really hope they’re able to give us a story that’s as captivating as the game’s debut trailer was.

TJ: That trailer was a mega hype machine. EVERYONE is talking about Dead Island. But after so many years of nothing, dropping a bomb like that was a good and bad idea. Because now they have a lot to live up to. I am a little weary of the characters, but I also like that they didn’t get cliche with them. As much as I like a smoking hot blonde with mega cans (and this is the game to hit that character right out of the park) it’s incredibly unrealistic that she could survive on the island herself. So I’m glad the blonde is dead by the pool instead of at the control of my twitchy fingers where she would probably be killed anyhow. I’m excited to see how the story unfolds in general, and for all the characters involved.

Adam: “I’m glad the blonde is dead by the pool” – slap that shit on the back of the Dead Island case! Really, with all of the other zombie games out there and it’s too-long silence Dead Island had to show debut with a stellar trailer, otherwise no one would’ve cared. I’m liking the hotel staff member Xian Mei the best so far, so she might end up being the class I go with when I get my sweaty hands on this game. Another thing I’m uber excited about is how they’re going to explain the zombie types, or if they even will. I hope they’ll explain why some zombies mutated into the special creatures, like the boil-covered Suicider and the Ram (that big dude wearing the strait-jacket).

TJ: Yes, I am super excited about the zombie types. I just wish they would show us the goods already!

Adam: Like, flash their rotten genitalia, or are you talking about other goods? I’d totally stare at zombie junk.

Final Thoughts

Adam: I’m a huge fan of zombie games, I could play them all day every day if I had the time (or a decent enough selection of good zombie games). Because of that, even if Dead Island fails to blow our minds, it’ll still be a day one purchase for me. There aren’t very many games like this that let me play with my friends, and the ones that do either aren’t that good (Dead Rising 2) or I’ve already played the ever living hell out of them (Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil 5). Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this game, and I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be fantastic.

TJ: I think so long as they make sure the gameplay is a bit tighter, this game is going to kick some major ass. I can’t tell you how excited I am for a Borderlands/Fallout type of game thatis centered around zombies. And with the RPG elements, sidequests, DLC and the like, I couldn’t be more excited.

 
Source: Dead Pixels Video Game News for Those Who Can Foretell the Future