This year we will see the release of Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3 and many, many more. Despite this, the game I am most looking forward to getting my hands on is in the form of another zombie game: the mysterious Dead Island.
Now I know we’re all sick to (un)death of fighting off the same old virus infected brain munchers, but I’ve got a feeling that this one is going to be a little different. Here are 4 reasons why I am convinced that Dead Island will make us fall in love with the living dead all over again.
It’s the closest we’ve got to an open-world Zombie RPG so far
We’ve all sat there and thought about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse game where the main objective was simply to survive. Collecting supplies, searching for shelter, trying to find other survivors: no campy humour or playing dress-up, just balls-to-the-wall terror and isolation.
Dead Island is the closest we’ve come to that so far, and even though its tone may not be as serious as its incredible debut trailer hinted towards, developers Techland have assured us that we will be able to experience the world how we see fit and, with inclusions like a stamina bar and a skill tree, it’s got the potential to be the sandbox zombie RPG that we’ve all been waiting for.
Its seamless co-operative multiplayer experience
Those of you who have been drawing similarities between Dead Island and Left 4 Dead should stop making that list right after you reach “4-player co-op”. Even though both games feature zombies and the aforementioned co-operative gameplay, Dead Island seems geared more towards atmosphere and immersion rather than the pick-up-and-play style of Valve’s L4D series.
Techland has boasted that it will feature a cool drop in/drop out system, where players will be able to enter and exit their friends playing sessions and interact with their world without necessarily interacting with their friends directly. This adds to the realism that separates it from other zombie games on the market, and will allow each and every gamer to have a unique playing experience depending on who they decide to bring along with them for the ride.
Its lush paradise setting
Even though the sunshine ‘n’ sandy beach setting has been done before in games like Crysis, Far Cry and Just Cause, it’s still refreshing to see in an industry that is overly reliant on the same grey/brown colour palette.
While you may feel more comfortable burying your machete in the neck of the undead in a more familiar, murky city surrounding, the fictional Palms Resort setting will at least provide you with more eye candy than the usual array of burning buildings and broken glass.
Although the extent of the sun and seas’ impact on gameplay is largely unknown at this point, I think I speak for us all when I say that it would be improved approximately 100% if Techland were to include sharks. Preferably great white sharks. Zombie great white sharks.
It’s not a sequel!
In a world where the consumer can only be excited by being reacquainted with the familiar, it’s nice to see a new IP like Dead Island clawing its way out of the hype machine. For all those saying that its trailer is misleading, yes, you’re probably right, but when it is competing against Licensed Game #201 and Inanimate Call of Duty Title #72 something drastic has to happen in marketing for any game other than a sequel in an established franchise to get a break.
A cursory glance through the list of releases for this year will indicate that yes, our taste in games is worryingly bland and no, we aren’t big fans of that little word “innovation”, that now only seems to appear in taglines for motion controllers.
While I’m as excited as the next man for both Nathan Drake and Batman’s next outing, I’m just as excited to see the gaming community’s take on Dead Island as the first real new big title of the year. If this flops, I think it’s safe to say that we will all lose hope in originality in the 21st century, and will be doomed to an eternity of shooting faceless enemies in monochrome corridors with AK40-somethings. No pressure, Techland.