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Dead Island has been released on 360 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"in my world, today (or, more accurately, tonight) is Hallowe'en, although in yours it could be anywhere from a day to many weeks after that. isn't time fascinating? no? well if you're fairly non-plussed by time and have lots of it to waste, then allow me to introduce Dead Island..."
- Tired Gamer (Tue, 29 Nov 2011)
"Dead Island shocks by depicting a young girl and her family coming to a sticky end. Far sadder than the character's demise though, is how far games need to come to be able to deal convincingly with scenes like these..."
- Family Gamer (Wed, 07 Sep 2011)
"Dead Island 360/PS3 offers more game than I could swing a bat at. While played alone this can get a little monotonous, with friends this is a solid multiplayer experience..."
- Multiplayer Gamer (Thu, 01 Sep 2011)
Dead Island may have enjoyed an internet viral hit with its emotive, cinematic first trailer, but its the gameplay that will need to impress if Dead Island is to standout in the over crowded zombie genre.
Dead Island received a lot of attention earlier this year for its artfully constructed Announcement Trailer, which used non-linear editing to show a family's demise during a zombie outbreak at an island holiday resort, and the death and zombification of the family's daughter.
While the trailer certainly put Dead Island on a lot of gamers' radars, it was contentious not just for its shocking content, but for the fact that it wasn't created by the game's developers and that the family in the trailer were nothing to do with Dead Island's actual story beyond the resort setting - in fact, Dead Island doesn't feature child protagonists, zombified or otherwise.
Although the popularity of movies, TV shows and of course games about zombies doesn't seem to be waning just yet, the ubiquity of the shambling undead means that Dead Island still has to persuade gamers that it is an essential addition to the genre. Splashy viral videos get attention, but very few consumers cough up the price of a new game because they've seen one cinematic, regardless of how good it is.
Thankfully, Dead Island sounds extremely intriguing: a first person action game with predominantly melee based combat. The game will have RPG elements that allow you to level your initially weak character into a stronger, faster zombie killer, while weapons are equally customisable. Online co-op will be available for up to four players, and the island itself is a fully open world.
For Dead Island to become an essential purchase the disparate mechanics will need to gel properly, while being supported by a strong central story and mission structure. At this stage, it certainly seems to have substance beneath its stylish marketing.
Dead Island is released later in 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: