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Dead Island Preview


Dead Island took the world by storm by creating a bit controversy a few months back with it’s debut trailer for the game.  Since then, it’s been a quite a ride for the upcoming first person zombie slaying survival game.  Deep Silver had the game on display in playable form at E3 2011 and it was impressive to say the least.  The genre is a crowded one, with seemingly everyone trying to cash in on this craze for killing zombies in video games.  So how does Deep Silver plan to stand out against all of the other apocalyptic titles, the answer is quite simple actually, they built a great game.

Dead Island is an ambitious project.  It’s one that dares to take all of the things that fans of these types of games would be interested in, or may have been lacking from other titles, and mash them into one giant zombie killing extravaganza.  You’ll swear that you’ve been down this road before no doubt.  You’re stranded on an island and wake up to find that your vacation has been cut short by a sudden zombie infestation, that you’ll need to navigate to survive.  Though where Dead Island really seperates itself from the crowd, is in it’s non-linear gameplay.  The Royal Palms Resort is your open world, with different hubs for quests that will push you towards your ultimate goal of surviving the outbreak.

You’ll choose between four characters in the game who all have different backstories and reasons for being at the Royal Palms resort.  The character selection will play a large role in how you play Dead Island.  Each character has skills that give them better attributes in different situations.  Not all of the characters have been revealed at the time of this preview, but with the four-player drop-in drop-out cooperative play that is coming for the game, you can bet that you’ll find each class useful in their own way.  At it’s core, Dead Island is a first person combat game that is focused on melee combat, but also features gun-play.  Using any number of items that are found throughout the Royal Palms to aid you in staying alive is paramount.  In fact, Dead Island is as much about scavenging your surroundings for useful items as it is on using those items.

When you do make use of the wide assortment of zombie slaying goodies found on the island, you’ll notice that the combat is of a much more visceral nature than any zombie game that has preceeded Dead Island.  The combat is intense and bloody, with detailed character models that show the affects of your attacks.   Dead Island also tips its hat to the role playing genre as well.  The game incorporates experience for killing zombies, and character leveling that will have you spending points to obtain any number of different skill sets for your character depending on your play-style.  With the incorporation of skill-tree there are many possible outcomes for your character’s skill set on any one playthrough.  Deep Silver has also included a crafting mechnanic in the game that will allow weapons to be modified for better damage attributes.  Similar to that of Dead Rising you’ll scavenge blueprints to alter weapons to your benefit.

In action, the game looks fantastic.  It definitely stands out among a very crowded lineup of zombie titles from the past few years. The game’s unique setting and inclusion of so many different gameplay mechanics make it extremely ambitious and certainly one game to have on your radar if zombies are your thing.  Of course we’ll reserve judgement on the title for when we get the genuine artifact in our hands, but from what we’ve seen so far it’s another game that is getting added to the heaping pile of to-plays in fall 2011.

Dead Island launches this September on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

- This article was updated on:December 3rd, 2017

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