Touted as an action RPG, E3’s show floor demo for Dead Island proves otherwise as it focuses more on the game’s First-Person combat system. Dead Island really is an RPG. It is just that Square Enix and Deep Silver chose not to show it at the show floor’s demo.
The demo begins just as a drunken man loses his way at a rap concert in a night club. Another man attempts to help him get back to his hotel room, but was unfortunately attacked by zombies. Eventually the drunken man wanders into the ladies washroom to find the character Xian Mei kneeling beside a woman who was presumed to be killed by a zombie. Now assuming the role as Xian Mei, the player is prompted to explore the cabin filled with survivors. It is only after the player has picked up a weapon, a boat paddle, that the character is given a choice to leave the cabin.
Outside the cabin is a beach filled with dead bodies and zombies. It is here that the player can get a sense of the vastness of Dead Island’s maps. The player is free to go wherever they wish in the demo. However they can also choose do a quest. The amount of distance, in meters, between the character and the quest location is clearly marked on the screen. Throughout the beach are zombies ready to attack. They will run, walk, and sneak up from behind. There are several ways for a player to attack the zombies. They can hit it with the weapon the character is holding, with fists, or by kicking them. Each weapon has a specific level of durability. If the weapon gets worn down, it will eventually break. While the player is fighting, a stamina gauge will appear on the screen. Each attack uses a portion of stamina. The player can easily refill the stamina gauge by taking a few steps away from the zombies after attacking. Additionally, the stamina gauge will decrease when the character is running.
As a fan of zombie games, I feel that there is a lot of potential for Dead Island. However I cannot help but feel that it is a conglomeration of all the other zombie games out there. The first-person melee combat seemed reminiscent to the first-person shooter game play of the Left4Dead series. The setting of the game also seemed a bit troubling for me because the idea of a vast but yet confined area of Banoi in Dead Island felt a lot like the setting in the Dead Rising series. For instance, in one of the opening movies in Dead Rising 2 is of a commercial that portrays a couple enjoying the luxuries of Fortune City. Although Dead Rising 2 is not about a person who enjoys their vacation at Fortune City, the idea of a vacation paradise gone wrong is the central idea behind the setting of the game. This theme seems to have carried over into the setting of Banoi for Dead Island as it is set on an island resort. Despite my scepticism for the game, I will l likely pick it up when it is released. That is, only because there are zombies in it.