I was in a curious quandary when I found this game at the Square Enix booth. I quickly surmised that Dead Island was not developed by Square Enix which makes Square Enix the publisher for this game. Techland is the company that is developing this wonky multiplayer zombie game.
So the idea behind this game is the stark contrast between hell and heaven. The setting of Dead Island takes place at a luxurious resort. All is fine and well, until a zombie infestation breaks out. Yeah, don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to enjoy yourself and suddenly zombies come from nowhere? Yeah, it’s pretty inconvenient.
Since sex sells, you get all these lurid images of zombies in bikini’s, thus creating a new sort of perverted necrophilia. The idea of a zombie breakout occurring in and island resort is a very interesting one. It’s too bad I can’t say the same thing of the gameplay.
My expectations consisted of fighting through hordes of zombies in glorious, over-the-top fashion. What I got quickly stymied my alacrity. The game plays like an MMO… Which is very, very lame. Supposedly, this game has an actual story but the narrative suffers an ignominious beat down with quests such as “Kill these many zombies” and “Go to this point and find this NPC.” Sure, you get to pick up various weapons and chuck them at zombies, but at its core, it’s an action MMO that features zombies.
There are different characters to choose from (you only get one character in the demo) which represents a class. Some characters are good at throwing weapons, some are good at tanking damage, etc… Each character has a talent tree in which you can learn/upgrade abilities.
Instead of a frenetic fracas of zombies, this game will offer you agonizing grinding that you would do in any MMO. Each zombie you fight has a level so think of it sort of like Borderlands; you obviously will get owned if you fight mobs much higher level than you.
Another odd aspect of the demo is that it stops abruptly after five minutes have elapsed. This is one of those games where I have this sort of reaction: If I wanted to play an MMO, I would buy and play an MMO. If you want to play a true multiplayer zombie game, you’re better off trying out Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. There are different classes in Operation Raccoon City, but there’s no insipid grinding and fetch quests involved.
But if zombie games with MMO elements are your sort of thing, then you can begin your long grind sometime in 2011. Dead Island will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.