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Dead Island December 13, 2012

Posted by vubetube in Games Craziness, Just For Fun, Opinion.
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dead islandbannerDead Island has elements of various genres but do they blend seamlessly or do you encounter dreaded invisible walls and glitches everywhere? It features a first person perspective, four player cooperative throughout the campaign, a multitude of weapons and zombies.  Also RPG elements and an “Open-World.”

My experience with this game is limited to the Playstation 3′s Game of the Year Edition, so your experience might be different on another console though in general the cooperative aspect was fun when it worked but in general one of the two systems (as I was only playing with one friend) would freeze at some point and it’d go back and forth from there. It felt like the game only had really light testing done and major issues came about as progress was made in the story where one person would advance while the other wouldn’t, along with other things such as trouble joining games from time to time or the length of time you could play with your friends before the freeze. The first person perspective tries to immerse you into this world but the random slow downs (which often had me worried about a freeze coming up a head more than being impressed) tended to break that quickly.

The zombies themselves can be rather interesting (namely the types called Walkers and Infected as their appearances change depending on where you are which is a nice touch, while most of the others don’t change, Thugs do change but in general they’re much taller versions of Walkers/Infected.) The basic run down of Zombie Types are Walkers (as mentioned above, their appearance changes depending on your location) they’re supposedly the slow but steady kind though I’ve seen walkers run like Infected and vice versa . The Infected (same as above with appearance) are the fast chasing kind of zombie, they’re more than willing to sprint at you while making random noises. Thugs (they tend to share similar appearances to the Walkers/Infected of the area but are much taller/bulkier) are the large, somewhat slow heavy hitter zombies of the area and they can knock you down costing you precious seconds while others nibble at your health bar. The Suicider (they all generally look the same, before and after they explode), a somewhat grotesque zombie that looks like tumors have been growing on tumors but they will explode and generally you have to kill them at distance though I have heard them say or at least imitate the sound of “save me.” The Ram (They generally look the same, really tall zombies in straight jackets), as the name might imply they try to ram you by running into you but they also can kick you and generally do quite a bit of damage. The Floaters (Their appearance tends to be quite uniform) they are rather pudgy zombies that rely heavily on throwing up on you though if you do get close enough and the moon is out they might try to swing their underused arms to get some distance. Finally,

butcher

One is not like the others, can you guess which one it is?

Shao Tsung or The Butcher (their appearances don’t really change unless you’re playing Mortal Kombat but that aside), they exist? I personally never really had much trouble with them probably because they tend to stay away from groups of zombies and go for a near one to one battle when I played alone.

Now that we got through the zombie types (minus the lass boss) we can move onto our “protagonists” starting with everyone’s favorite one-hit rap artist Sam B.

SamB

Probably the most likable of the entire group.

With his fame on the line, he tries to rekindle his chances of becoming popular again by rapping his hit song “What do you Voodoo?” He is the team’s blunt weapon specialist while being called “The Tank” and also starts with the highest statistical points (stats as many RPG fans might call them these days.)  For my first and only play through of the game, I didn’t get to see him outside of the cut scenes but he often went off about trust and trusting da crew. Following the Rap star, we’ll throw in Former cop turned freelance body guard Purna.

Purna

She leads like I post on a blog, few and far between.

After killing a child molester with connections, she is removed from the force and becomes a freelancing bodyguard. She is the team’s Firearms specialist while being called “The Leader”. And I don’t know why she isn’t holding a firearm in the image. Though most of my first and only play through I had very little interaction with this character but when she was there she was often chewing out the male characters for one reason or another. Following her would be the man who had a bright future brought down by his own reckless actions Logan.

Logan

Even if it’s not a football, he’ll still throw it at you.

A rising Football Star who took on a Street race that ended with his passenger (a young woman) and  fracturing his knee which ended his sport career. He is the “jack of all trades” while specializing in throwing weapons. For my first and only play through of the game he started with what seemed like a leader-like role (which lead me to be confused by the titles in the manual) but around the half-way point he started to fall in and took orders as long it involved action of some kind. Following the fallen Football star we have the “Chinese Employee” Xian Mei.

She likes the pointy weapons.

She likes the pointy weapons.

Born and raised in China, she took on an assignment to see the outside world though few know what her intentions are. She is called an assassin and specializes in sharp weapons. I played through the game as this character thinking I’d make it through the entire game with my friend (who used Logan) and that balance of melee and ranged would help us though in the end I ended having to play most of the game alone and though most of the game she seems dead set on “doing the right thing.” Now for the other nonsensical characters starting with Jin, an NPC whom you meet early on and will act as storage for your excess items along the trip.

Jin

If it was only up to her, then I would have said Dead Island has a hint of Captain Planet and Jin would be Ma-ti.

The young naive Jin is akin to Xian Mei in trying “to do the right thing” though her nativity leads her into a situation from which you have to save her from and it’s after this point you’ll notice character’s personalities changing wildly as if you missed some major event. To spoil the fun and surprise of it all, she goes off to try to help all parties in the city including the third gang members who took over the police station though she is captured and you must free her and when you do, implied rape and the like to which Xian Mei and Purna will kick out the male characters for the sake of comfort or something. After this point she’ll jump between somewhat uninterested in things around her, wanting to do her own thing, complaining and the common desire to leave the island behind. Also she kills her zombified father. Following the wake of that, we have Ope the Shaman? of the local natives.

Ope

Why wouldn’t you trust this guy?

Ope seems like a trust worthy guy after you have to fight zombie warriors for his trust and some native blood. I don’t have much to say as he vaguely ties into the next character, Yerema.

Yerema

The game went there. Who says games don’t touch touchy subjects?

When you think a game wouldn’t touch on topics like this, she is the daughter of Ope who was given away to pay off debts and stuff happens. You probably already guessed what I would have said and why but the less I linger on this the faster I can go get dinner.

So we’ve assembled a mighty crew and seen an equal foe, how did the game go. Overall the game starts off really promising (Act 1 is probably the best part of the game and generally where I spent the most time in Cooperative with my friend, also there are 4 acts in the campaign with each slightly raising the difficult from the last) with bright environments and generally a sense of freedom to go as you will (which will fade away in act 2 and this trend will continue as the story progresses.) The more I played the game, the more I wanted it to be more Act 1 than the rest and to have custom characters rather than the ones we had while having well developed/developing NPCs near us. As the story progresses you encounter more zombie types Walkers/Infected, then Thugs, then Suiciders, then Rams, then floaters and then Shao Tsung/Butchers. After their introduction they’ll be seen roaming around the landscape. The game itself has a pretty solid understanding of what it wanted to be and it shows from time to time but technical issues (bugs, freezes, connection issues, etc) keep it from realizing what it could have been.  I didn’t have many issues with the controls, it was more or less what was happening that was the issue such as the many times when I’d be hitting an enemy when they’d suddenly force me into a nonsensical grapple for realism? Also gun wavering only seems to apply when you’re aiming down the iron sights for some reason (for those who are going to play, ranged attacks can work Rams despite the often 1 damage you’ll be doing, you just have to aim for the head and hope it doesn’t move.)

Most of the vehicles you’ll be allowed to drive seem to be trucks (though you will see other vehicle types on the roads but most of the time when you have to drive from point A to B in a car, they mean use the truck.)  Unlike in the United States the driver side is on the right side (we’re more accustom to having the driver set on the left.) Driving vehicles can be a challenge though it does help cut down on time spent going the distance along with the ability to run over zombies (though sometimes you’ll need to hit them multiple times.)

Weapons generally scale to around your level (usually ± 3 levels) and come in a variety of flavors though finding one you’ll stick with is the challenge of the game. Melee weapons have a durability limitation (so you can’t wildly hack and slash your way through zombie waves with just one knife, you’ll need to get the kitchen set for that.) most hits take off a small amount, but it adds up fast with zombie hordes. My friend says that throwing the weapon at the enemy doesn’t affect the weapon’s durability though I haven’t really checked that out for myself. Firearms don’t have durability, rather they are limited by ammunition instead. It can be fun to see what nonsensical mods the developers left in the game for us to toy with, I rather enjoyed the shock-related mods.

The Story swings from side to side, showing some promise and thought then jumps the boat and I go through flash backs of a lot of random “Survival-Horror” games namely Resident Evil. You might be able to salvage something out of this though my experience has been largely a confused one where I seemingly jump ahead in the plot leaving me baffled such as the end game when you’re racing Colonel Ryder White to get “to da Choppa” and your team decides to split itself into two groups, one group will go through zombie infected path that’s shorter and the other will go the longer way with less zombies. I reach the end, I get teleported to the roof, there’s suddenly a gun fight and I’m baffled about what’s happened and right before the show down with the good old Colonel and his crazy ways there’s a cut scene of characters I didn’t see before this moment leaving me in a state of “Did I press the skip button?” Then the last battle ensues, the ending starts rolling and the standard “There will be a sequel” stuff at the end which is confirmed now by Dead Island: Riptide.

In the end, there can be fun to be had with some friends though technical issues and worries can detour most people from going all the way through the entire game with their friends like myself but it showed promise. As for Dead Island: Riptide, who can say what lays ahead for this franchise though if it says “This time we worked out the bugs” then I might get interested in this series again. Also I don’t know why the trailer showed us these characters…

mystery family

Have fun, and remember it’s only a terrible game if it isn’t able to accomplish what it set out to do.

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