|System: Xbox 360, PC, PS3|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: August 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Zombie outbreaks are a bit like the Spanish Inquisition. No one ever expects them. You could be just strolling through the park, minding your own business, and then WHAM! Zombies are coming from the swing sets to gnaw on your flesh. Constant vigilance is required, if you are to survive any and all zombie apocalypse scenarios that might come your way. Unfortunately for four vacationing tourists, someone fell asleep at the switch, and their tropical paradise haven has turned into a zombie free-for-all. What's a hapless party of tourists to do?
Well, if you are the four main characters of Dead Island, you are going to fight back. Naturally. Now I know what you're thinking. Four survivors, a deserted landscape, and countless opportunities to work together to fight the zombie horde sounds like little familiar setup. But stand down, cynical gamer. Dead Island has been in development long before that OTHER zombie shooter ever appeared, and truthfully, they don't really have a lot in common other than their stick-together-to-survive premise.
First off, Dead Island has an open world structure, which will allow you to move through different areas of the island resort to uncover the truth about what happened there, and of course, survive and find rescue. And since the game takes place on an island, don't expect to find many guns laying around. Sure, there will be the occasional firearm strapped to a zombie-fied security guard, but on the whole you will have to get up close and personal with the zombies using melee weapons you can find around the island. Improvisation will be a big factor here, and though you can't really combine melee weapons the way you could in yet another well-known zombie series, it looks like the people behind Dead Island are going for a "realistic" take on the zombie genre, which could be a refreshing take on a genre that's, quite literally, been done to death.
In addition to focusing on melee weapons, Dead Island will also use visuals to lend some realism to the game. Instead of hacking and slashing your way through countless bodies and seeing the occasional blood spurt fly, Dead Island's zombies will be made of flesh, bone, and muscle, all of which will be visible as you take them out piece by piece. Although the recent cinematic trailer was full of pre-rendered footage, the in-game damage system will be similar to what was shown in the trailer. Zombies will have a real-time damage system that will act uniquely to different weapon and strength combinations. This game definitely won't be one for the faint of heart.
Though there will be plenty of carnage to be had in Dead Island, developer Techland has said that, at its heart, Dead Island is going to be a story-based experience. The game will probably be best played in a co-op setting, but if you decide to go it alone, your experience won't suffer for it. This is in great contrast to titles like Left 4 Dead, which can barely even be played in a single-player setting. Though not much is actually known about the game's plot at this point, it is being billed as a focal point of the game, so here's hoping it includes more than the usual "evil corporation" trope that has plagued the zombie genre since the original Resident Evil.
It's hard to look at games like Dead Island in a fishbowl, as the zombie genre is so saturated. However, this isn't necessarily a negative thing. If Dead Island can manage to combine all the best aspects of series we have already come to know and love with some fresh ideas and a great story, then this will certainly be a vacation worth taking. Dead Island currently does not have a firm release date, but should be arriving sometime this fall. Are you ready to cast away?
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer