Dead Island: A Klepto’s Delight
I had tracked this game early on like Dog The Bounty Hunter tracks…well anything. Its creative announcement trailer that was revealed some handful of months prior to the release of the game had the gaming community buzzing. In an already cluttered market for zombie games, this left-field developer from Poland, Techland, looked to bring a fresh spin on things and two things in particular caught my eye: Setting and Possibilities. The setting, of course, is a resort island that must have had some crazy crap in its jello shots because what was once a sprawling, booty bumpin’ night club, quickly turned into a vicious undead disco. The possibilities began to open with not only the unique backdrop, but with the infection itself. Watch the teaser below:
As the trailer eludes to, the infection looks to release its captured vessel once the sweet release of death is put to their wild and wacky antics. Something that I have never seen in a zombie game and it really seemed to add a human element to these… things. The game begins with you waking up in your hotel room (I played as Purna) and quickly realizing you are surrounded by people moaning and slurring through the corridors of the building; not unlike any college dorm on a Sunday morning. You are immune to the outbreak but can still die from injury or by getting slapped silly by an undead Thug. Strewn about the hotel and resort are numerous bags, backpacks, and luggage for you to look through; for money and random items. Now, it isn’t necessary that you look through these but I quickly found myself scavenging through loads of these things, even when I knew slower zombies were edging themselves closer to my non-bloodied sexiness. I’m not sure what it was, but I wanted to look through EVERYTHING. Closets, drawers, lockers, you name it. Not only did I find out that a lot of people bring knives with them on vacation but they also keep odd amounts of dollar bills in their wallets. This reminds me: No one on the island believes in luggage locks and for that, I am very grateful.
The game itself is a nice romp through tropical resort scenery and the similarities with Fallout 3 that are almost always mentioned in reviews does hold true. Albeit in a primitive manner, but one that certainly makes it fun to level up and wander off into the
wastelands vast beachfront property. The story develops over a number of fetch missions where you are to get/find/return/repeat your way through various hordes of reappearing undead along the way. I only have a few quibbles with the game as far as mechanics go. My character walked with a wonky fluidity, my vehicle could not traverse over a sand castle on the beach, and apparently the only reason I am stealing money from luggage and dead people is to overcharge myself in order to make or repair my own weapons. Some of the glitches made for some fun times though, like this one here:
I played up until I reached Level 11 and then I wrote about it here on this blog. I certainly hope it opens up a bit more with missions, because I am sure the story starts to unravel a bit more with the plane crash, radio antenna, and The Voice that occasionally pops in to give you new instructions. Coming from someone who really does not care too much for zombie games, I found this one to be quite fun. I sat down with the lights off, surround sound on, and ready to solve this outbreak mystery with a sharp object in my hands at all times. Yes, it did kill the mood a bit to find that it never seems to be nighttime on the island (major oversight?) but it was always satisfying to throw an object at a charging foe or mow them down with a beat up truck. If this ever REALLY happened, I would find a UPS or ice cream truck, stock up at Walmart, wear the clothes of my fallen enemies, and learn how to hunt /set boobie traps / properly cook a zombie dolphin. Perhaps these options will never make it into Dead Island 2, but one can always hope. I wish Techland nothing but success in their growth and (hopefully) revisiting of this intriguing setting. Dead Island is Massacre Martini with a little, purple umbrella on top.
So what did you think of Dead Island? What would you like to see in the next one?