|System: PC, PS3*, Xbox 360|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: November 18, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
The gameplay of i>Escape Dead Island is… odd. It features regenerating health, a lot like a modern FPS, but you can increase your max health with pickups. The game isn’t primarily a shooter though, it’s an action melee style game. There are guns in the game and they are powerful, but there’s never a sense of gunplay. Instead, these are just the crazy overpowered weapons you use when the chips are down. Otherwise it’s strictly melee.
But that’s actually a problem with the game overall, as melee animations are slow and sluggish. Add to this the fact that zombies can kill you quickly, especially when you are being mobbed, and melee encounters end up being un-fun. In fact, it felt like I triumphed most of the time by exploiting the game rather than playing it well. You can easily run out of a zombie’s “zone” by backtracking or hopping up onto or down off of objects, and then you end up at least relatively safe. There are also stealth kill options, or I should say stealth kill option, in the singular, as you can sneak up behind zombies and stab them in the neck. But the stealth kill animation takes so long that other zombies tend to see you and mob you before you are done, making these attacks mostly ineffective.
Speaking of backtracking, there is a lot of it in this game, but it never feels meaningful. Instead it feels more like padding. You’ll encounter yet more enemies as you go from one side of the island to the other, retracing your steps to get a little bit farther. But in the end these sections are just roadblocks and they feel meaningless. You frequently find yourself groaning and waiting to get to the next important story element, and that’s not even that great of a payoff.
I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t finished Escape Dead Island yet. I just can’t bring myself to. The game plods along at a snail’s pace and just never hooks you. It’s certainly not the worst game I have ever played, but it’s bland and generic and feels rushed and unfocused. It’s obvious that Deep Silver’s efforts are all going into Dead Island 2 right now, and that this game got only a portion of the attention. You might want to keep up with all the Dead Island games, and if so pick this one up I guess, but outside of being yet another title with the words “Dead Island” in the title, I can’t honestly recommend it.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: November 19, 2014