We managed to get a sneak peak at the new upcoming game, Dead Island, with the developers from Techland. Dead Island is a first person horror action adventure game that takes place on a zombie-infested island where players have to survive using only items available on the island. Developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows platform, will this game be better than the current zombie titles such as Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising series? Continue reading for more information about the game.
A full cooperative demo game for the Xbox 360 was available for us to play. The demo took place in a building with survivors standing around and our goal was to complete a quest obtained by one of the NPCs. As the demo progressed, the developer explained to us that players would be able to choose from the four main characters: Xian Mei, Logan, Sam B, and Purna. Each of the main characters will have their own unique special abilities and skill trees. With the limited amount of time on the game, we weren't able to check out the character’s special abilities or skill trees.
Compared to Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising series, the game felt like a mash-up of both worlds. There were noticeable features that were inspired by both games. The style of game play was very similar to Dead Rising with a presence of Left 4 Dead series. In Dead Island, players are able to use any weapon from the environment while completing missions from survivors, which is identical to Dead Rising. Players can join with up to three other players with an item swap feature and a variety of zombies, very much alike to Left 4 Dead series. Even with all the similarities, this game has its own unique features that aren't found in any of the current zombie titles. I'll touch on that subject later on.
Visually, the game is gorgeous. The details on the zombies are almost realistic. On each zombie, the meat and muscles are rendered with multiple layers. Attacking a zombie using a melee weapon, players will see real-time injuries inflicted on the zombie. The overall environment is also detailed very well from the walls of buildings to wreckage. Throughout the demo, every building or scenery looked different from the next.
The battle system for Dead Island gives off a sense of realism. If people are ever stranded on a zombie-infested island, it doesn't make sense for players to have abundance in ammo. Ammo should be scarce and that’s what Dead Island is all about. Weapons are almost anything the player can stumble across off the ground such as baseball bats, knives, wooden sticks, etc. Occasionally, guns and ammo can be discovered, but ammo is the rarest of all. Throughout the demo, I found myself using a melee weapon most of the time. Any ammo found was hoarded unless I desperately needed to use it. But be careful, using the same melee weapon over a period of time will weaken the weapon and eventually it will break. Once it’s broken, it’s gone.
One of the interesting features about this game is the RPG elements it incorporates. The game uses a repair and upgrade system for weapons. Every weapon in the game can be repaired and upgraded to increase stats and/or add enhancements as long as it’s done on a workbench. Luckily, workbenches are scattered everywhere on the island and they are easily noticeable and accessible. Repairing and upgrading weapons costs money, but money is easy to come across; they can be scavenged off of zombie corpses or miscellaneous boxes. When upgrading modifications to a weapon, two criteria must be met. First of all, a blueprint for any modification must be found beforehand, which are typically hidden. Lastly, the players must have all the required materials listed in the blueprint to successfully create the modification to the weapon. Basically, explore the hell out of all the levels to find all the usable parts and hidden items.
Dead Island is one of the games that I am personally looking forward to playing especially when the game, including story and side missions, is expected to take 25-30 hours to complete. That’s pretty long and not to mention that there are other characters to try out too. The concept of the game along with the feeling of realism really puts the players into the game. Compared to Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising series, Dead Island incorporates features from both games, but adds their own features on top of them. Gamers who enjoy killing zombies should definitely check out this game when it’s released on September 6th in North America and available worldwide on September 9th.