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 vanity license plate was just a coincidence.

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:

His head went through the wall. Where is a pair of moose ears when you need them?

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?

9 Responses to “Dead Island: A Klepto’s Delight”
  1. James says:

    Wait till you move into the city and have to contend with looters and their guns. I hate those guys!

  2. Ricky says:

    I’m gonna preface this by explaining that I didn’t finish the whole thing. Haha, nice glitch pic. He looks like he is an outlaw locked up in the old west. Just need to put his hands through there too and he is a grade A public menace!

    I’m gonna get the negative out of the way first. I agree with you on the pointlessness of the money. I’d like to not need to upgrade my weapons with Uncle Sam’s Federal Reserve Note. It just doesn’t make any sense.
    Also, you’ve probably already heard this, but the marketing team needs to talk with the dev team a little bit better. It seems from the looks of the trailer, they weren’t really on the same page with what the game was going to be about. Many got excited for the drama with the family from the trailer, but it turns out the island is not a family destination at all. It’s a crappy night club. I feel like it would be much easier to grow an emotional attachment to the family.

    So, other things. I like that melee in first person is still a difficult thing to do well (thank you elder scrolls for teaching me this particular grief), and most zombie games are about survival horror with limited movement. I get that. It works to make me freak out more. Although, something I’d like to see tried is a 3rd person view where you have better mobility. I’d even go as far to say experimenting with Assassin’s Creed or Batman: Arkham Asylum type combat would be fun. Might have to make the zombies a little better at attacking then. Maybe that would be a game breaker. I don’t know. It would need an incredible amount of testing. But, learning to be skilled at severing limbs and fancy kills would be really rewarding.

    Overall, I found it to be quite fun which is odd, because I don’t consider it to be a very well polished game. They got the fun part down, imho, though. If thats what they were going for, they could’ve done worse.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah. The family would have been a nice angle or even some undead children to mix things up a bit. Being a small company, I almost excused the fact that it wasn’t ad polished as something like Fallout or other AAA titles.

      I did have fun and a third person perspective would have been tough to land a throwing object, but combat could certainly have more options. Co Op was okay, until the random peeps that dropped in started throwing Molotov cocktails at me. That’s when the fun ended.

    • James says:

      While I do agree that there are some rough edges, stick with it. The whole game isn’t set at the resort. That’s just the start. The city and jungle offer a whole new experience and require you to change up your tatics. As for a more emotional feel to the quest, you get that a little more later on, like killing a man’s family in his home to release his wife and kids from torment to help a Korean immigrant find his lost twin brother. Plus the impending tsunami really causes fear since it.renders you blind. As for the family from the trailer, as an Easter egg you can find their room when you first explore the hotel.

  3. Nick says:

    create-a-character cmooooon!

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