Dead Island


 

Initally seen in an article of game informer while reading about Collabo Diner’s cocktail & pizza tribute to Catherine (キャサリン), I was immediatley drawn in by the promotional posters of Banoi island. But who knew I would be lucky enough to borrow a copy from my uncle a week ago and test out my post-apocalyptic skills on the undead created by Techland developers.  Filled with bandit soldiers as dead set on survival as they are on killing you, energy drinks galour, armored trucks, pyschotic straightjacket liner backer infected on steriods, loads of special mini boses [thugs, infected, the butcher], thick Jungle and gorgeous beach scenery Dead island has it all. Including an extensive system of upgrades, skills trees and weapon mods allowing for a completely unique and strategic experience. Techland created parameters of realism without making gameplay too limiting (stamina bar, weapons that breakdown after repeated use and having to break doors down), though I am constantly grabbed by the fact that no matter what sort of damage you have taken, energy drinks, fruit and snack bars cure everything 🙂 I was highly impressed by the wide variety of playable characters and an equal balance of men and women, all with unique but deadly talents throwing gender stereotypes and over sexualization out the window. I feel development was brought full-circle from the island, lush textures, interactive enviornments, combat, experience & weapons system, to npc models, in-game easter eggs, scripting/dialogue and of course the protagonists biographies, one-liners and personalities.But I would at least like to go more in-depth with our four heroes:

In-depth


Logan Carter

Once a pro football player, voted most handsome texan in 2004 and in line for greater pursuits until he crashed at high speeds during a drag race. Killing the young woman he was driving with in the process, he also fractured his knee, a career ending injury. Forced to live in faded glory and life long guilt he decided to retreat to Banoi and forget. Being a footbal star Logan’s stats are reflective of this with a proficiency in projectiles, high health bar and 100 percentage stamina ratio. Despite being inactive from playing sports, Logan has remained fit over the years and could be considered in peak physical condition. He sports a mohawk and two large tatoos on both arms. Personality wise he exhibits jock behaviors and while he appears to have regret over the accident, heard during the character bio at the beginning of the game he deflects his responsibility in the matter, still focused focused on being considered “great.”

Purna

A Sidney, Australia Vice detective for twelve years, Purna has faced much adversity at the hands of her colleagues and superiors. Convinced on seeing justice served, a wealthy man was alledged of molesting his 14 year old daughter, but because of his political influence could not be charged or convicted; in the following months she committed suicide, but when confronted by Purna laughed, even going so far as to draw a gun on her claiming “I could  blow your bleeding head off right now no one would care, because you’re nothing, a nobody an Abo b****.” Out of aggravation, self-defense and vigilante action she shot him, though not fatally. In all definitions of the word Purna is an absolute spitefire. As revealed in her lines, she is of Aboriginal heritage.

Sam B

Once a man of pride and distinction he wrote lyrics true to himself and low & behold it would become a one hit wonder known as “Who do you voodoo b****.” But soon it became his only commercial success and before long was all he was recognized for. Despite trying to pitch other music it never perked the interest of the industry leaving him to perform for late night show who were only interested in hearing his only single. Truly tired of being a starving artist he set hopes for record label executives and producers being present at Banoi giving him an oppurtunity to break away from his catch 22. A shame the mass outbreak prevented Sam from getting his 2nd big break.

Xian Mei

Trained in lethal and defensive martial arts, Xian Mei belongs to an elite female anti-organized crime squad, but as Xian quotes “I worked hard, I did my best. But the men in charge never intended to put us on the front lines.” In addition to not being taken seriously by her department (Hong Kong Police) and those who helped condition them, she is sent to Banoi to be an informant, gathering information on rich Western tourists. Thankfully out of all the survivors Xian Mei’s training prepared her for fighting the undead. In all focus Xian wanted desperately to follow a honorable path and make her late father proud, former chief of police. Of all the members in the group Xian seems to be the most empathic and morally guided. Often times her comments, in addition to cutscene behaviors suggests her gentleness and altruism. Oddly enough for a character as straight forward, her personality is weak at best. Their are certain times when she gains strength in conviction, but may it be she is just a calm, quiet person.

Gameplay and enemies are not unlike elements we have seen in titles such as left for dead & Resident evil in terms of basic enemies and “special infected” or mini bosses. But am impressed by how consistent zombies attack methods, power, speed and strength go according to their physical make-up or unique way they have been effected by the virus  (i.e. the butcher, the floater, infected, thugs & the ram). There are countless items scattered all over in uncommon places, but all serve modding purposes. Which can be highly invaluable when a player is low on money. Perhaps a great attestement to this is the pistol ammo mod, if only you could make bullets out of metal scrap and detergent 😀 An interesting easter egg I found while looking on the ground in the Church was a book titled: “Dead island a true story.” And later encountered several other copies in the Golden District Bungalows and the life guard station. This may be one of many runnings gags, but it makes me proud that I may have been the one to notice it first. Either way this game recieves high praises from me. There was way too much gore for my taste and while I appreciate such an experience, I wish developers would release less violent games for the xbox with local-coop. In addition there were one or two game glitches which affected my gameplay, but detracting from those criticisms it was well put together, rich, scenic, intricate and thoughtful. So, if life ever seems to harsh take a plane or cruise liner to the lovely Island of Banoi where you can stay forever.

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