E3: Dead Island

E3: Dead Island

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Dead Island's zombie apocalypse provides an unlikely pairing of serene environments and brutal encounters with the undead.

Ever since its teaser trailer, people have been wondering just exactly what type of game Dead Island would be. The brief demo on the show floor didn't unveil all of the game's secrets, but we've played enough to know it's something special. In short, it's Dead Rising meets Fallout 3 on a scenic island. You take on missions (some optional, some required), savage items scattered about and beat the living hell out of zombies along your way. It's the game's tone and attention to detail that sets it apart, however.

The combat and focus on melee weapons is similar to Dead Rising. You pick up paddles, cleavers and other items you come across in the game's world and use them to defend yourself. You can kick zombies, as well as attack directly or by throwing your weapon (which you then have to retrieve). From the first encounter on, the fights against the game's undead are horrifying. The way they latch on you to made me squirm. They grab a hold and nibble on you, until you shake them off with the triggers. They occasionally knock you down with a heavy attack, giving an opportunity for more zombies to gather round. Instead of running through hordes and knowing them down, I often chose to evade and fight strategically. This was partly out of fear, but the game's fatigue system also factored in the decision.

Running and fighting drains your energy, which slowly replenishes. This is one of the key decisions that makes Dead Island a game based around exploration; this isn't purely a zombie hack-n-slash. As I made my way to an objective, I would often evade idle zombies as I prepared to face a group ahead. Even deciding to rescue a human character locked in a jeep was an uneasy call to make.

The island's open environment occasionally offers multiple paths to get to a location. The scale is more reminiscent of Far Cry than Fallout 3, but there is plenty of fun to be had by exploring and seeing what you can get away with in the game world. The game's excellent mini-map keeps the player from feeling lost in Dead Island's large and dangerous world. It curves and redirects you to your objective, as you explore and walk along new paths.

The demo was short and sweet, but everything from the score that sounds like John Carpenter playing Caribbean tunes to the intense opening sequence has me excited for the full game. Dead Island might be the first zombie game to make me feel like I am truly in danger, as the player - even despite the clear blue sky and gorgeous beach surrounding the mayhem.

Players will be able to find out for themsleves if this open-world zombie title lives up to the hype when it is released September 6 for all HD platforms (including OnLive).

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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September 6 can't come fast enough....

I dunno, from the game play trailers the whole LIGHTNING SWORD! Totally killed it for me, as did the number spam, you loose al elements of fear when you have fun/silly weapons and numbers pop up each kill.

I WILL either rent of get a demo at least but I hesitate to pre-order just yet.

Hm. Well makes me more interested in it for sure. From the trailer I though "oh, Dead Rising on an island..." and I do not care for Dead Rising. It was fun for all of 60 minutes...

But Fallout meets Dead Rising? Ok, that might be good.

Still playing the wait and see game but... sounds neat.

Far Cry with Zombies? I want

Looks more like if Left 4 Dead tried to give you an open world, not necessarily a bad thing but not quite what I was expecting from early clips and teasers. I'm more a fan of the create your class than the Borderlands styled 4 class system.

I'll buy it, I just hope it's good.

I'm pretty excited. Now, I do have a couple of questions though. I was going to get it on PC considering that's how I like my first person games, but if the combat is like Dead Rising, should I get it on a console? I loved the hardcore, visceral feeling of the melee combat in Condemned, and trust me vibrate makes a huge difference. So is the melee combat as good as Condemned's? Or at least good enough to justify buying the console version? Or is it more like Left 4 Dead where it's still in-your-face, but not as realistic?

And another thing... I've heard so many different things about the release dates for the different versions. GameStop's website says the PC version comes out August 1st while the console versions come out September 6th, this website says they all come out at the same time, and Steam just says 2011. Can I get some clarification?

I just want my Diving Knife of Havok.

Seriously, the weapon ideas/names for this game are badass. Lightning machete? Got it! C4 Knife? ALSO GOT IT!

I was holding back all expectations due to the original trailer shedding no light and the gameplay and the whole company response that it's "not at all" like the trailer implied. This restored my faith in it. My appetite is whetted...FOR ZOMBIE BLOOD! Heehee :)

Just a few peeves aside, this game is looking mighty interesting. It's weird cause all the peeves are such tiny things and don't normally nitpick. Like the way the character was walking in the gameplay demo. Or the One-liners. Or little inconsistencies in the quality of the voice work....

I will stay posted on this one, it's been a while since I played a good game

So much for the first serious zombie game...
I'm sure it'll still be good, just not what I expected though.

vrbtny:
September 6 can't come fast enough....

Second. I try not to get too excited on new releases I'm initially intrigued by, no matter how much positive press it gets, but being a confused fan of Zombie games (Confused in the sense when I stop to think why I'm so obsessed with Zombie games, I just can't figure out why I'll give possibly terrible games a shot simply due to Zombie content. It... Perplexes me) But I'm counting the days until Dead island is released.

Sincerely hoping the stamina mechanic doesn't end up as a bothersome hindrance to gameplay (I still think a stamina system limiting your running in L4D would be a neat idea for if nothing else, a new Mutation). Not saying it needs to be capable of Dead rising series level 50 horde slaughter or endless marathon running of Left 4 dead, just saying I hope it isn't like the low level stamina you got in Blade of Darkness, where if you swung a weapon more than three times a minute you would nearly pass out from fatigue unless you weren't of high enough level.

Hmm...

I was interested in this when I first saw that sad piano first trailer, but I'm still gonna reserve all judgement until I play it. Or until nearer the time.

I thought this was going to be a more serious zombie game with actual fear of the zombies but when you have a lightning-machete and points popping up on the screen when you kill them, that kind of saddens me. :(

What I don't like about this game is the first trailer doesn't correlate with the gameplay. It sounds massively fun, but I almost...didn't want it to be? Like I'm enjoying myself in survival horror games, but not in the same way as I am in Left 4 Dead.

I wanted a dramatic sort of immersion, and maybe not less exploration based, but more story driven. And I hope the main story isn't co-op.

Surely everyone who saw the trailer and liked it is thinking this isn't what they expected? I'm not writing it off yet, but still.

My only question is how single-player focused is it. Definitely a wait for the review game, not a first-round buy.

September 6th? Really?

That's sooner than I though. I'll have to start saving up money for this.

you can never have too many zombie games, i'l be mighty glad to put this one in my collection. hate to be a fan-boy, but i'v been wanting this since i saw that first trailer.
so far all the news/trailers iv seen have only made me want it more

The electrified Machete may be a bit much, but for all intents and purposes I'm sure this is meant to be a serious Zombie game, as Cousin It said:

Cousin_IT:
Far Cry with Zombies? I want

looks really nice. hope it will be as good as it looks. left 4 dead is already amusing but this might be fun.
have to wait. there are few games this year i am interested in.

So, another game with sterile zombies that don't infect the player. Another silly game with lightning machetes, point pop-ups, and elbowing zombies. Lame, we don't need Left 4 Dead in a sandbox.

Inkidu:
My only question is how single-player focused is it. Definitely a wait for the review game, not a first-round buy.

I'm pretty sure it's more focused on Co-op.

allistairp:

...the score that sounds like John Carpenter playing Caribbean tunes...

Nice. Very nice.

A fatigue bar, eh? Well that could make things very interesting... If the player is forced to play strategically and this isn't just a shoot em up zombie game, I am most definitely interested.

vrbtny:
September 6 can't come fast enough....

*Uses any type of mystical mojo he can get his hands on to speed time*

This game looks EPIC.

-4 Player Co-op
-Free-roam Open-world
-Lots of loot
-Guns, but not nearly as many as melee weapons
-Large, diverse skill trees
-Challenging combat

I think this game might take the world by storm >:O

McCa:
I dunno, from the game play trailers the whole LIGHTNING SWORD! Totally killed it for me, as did the number spam, you loose al elements of fear when you have fun/silly weapons and numbers pop up each kill.

I WILL either rent of get a demo at least but I hesitate to pre-order just yet.

Yea I noticed a few wierd things in the gameplay footage i've seen, odd RPG-esque weapon names like the "brittle baseball bat of padding" seemed very at odds with the atmosphere they're trying to create.

That said, I'm very excited about this. May even warrant booking a day off work for it.

[quote="allistairp" post="6.290468.11521655"]E3: Dead Island

Even deciding to rescue a human character locked in a jeep was an uneasy call to make.

i would throw myself at them. they all gonna pay! On another note, this game looks amazing. cant wait to be a level one sandwich in a level 20 world!

Cousin_IT:
Far Cry with Zombies? I want

See, this is exactly where I think this game (and most current entries into the current zombie craze) miss the point.

The whole deal with zombies is what they represent, not the actual fighting and killing of them. Unless you die at the end and are transformed into an inhuman husk, then all they've done is re-skinned the monsters from pretty much any alien invasion story. The zombie survival genre needs to end with your death and becoming a zombie, or it's not being true to itself. But that's a horribly depressing story to play through, so I don't really see it happening in a full-length game.

It's the dehumanisation that makes the zombie concept terrifying, but it also limits what you can do with it, story-wise. Boss fights don't make sense in a zombie context: bosses are necessarily differentiated from the horde in a way that zombies shouldn't be.

 

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