Escape Dead Island: What is dead may never die - Games Weekly

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Escape Dead Island: What is dead may never die

Deep Silver sure knows how to flog an undead horse. But with Techland already stretched paper thin flogging its zombie success story in its own ways (those being the former Dead Island mode that was turned into its own game, Hellraid, and the former Dead Island 2 that became a new IP so it could be sold to another publisher, Dying Light), the lash has been passed to an entirely new developer for an entirely different twist on the property.

Escape Dead Island is being billed by Deep Silver as “a survival mystery adventure” and judging by what we’ve seen, the biggest mystery is trying to decrypt the publisher’s latest made-up genre name (following its labelling of Dead Island: Epidemic, the PC MOBA, as a “ZOMBA” (zombie online multiplayer battle arena) and its description of Sacred 3’s competitive co-op gameplay mode as “co-opetition”).

The third-person actioner seems to be part the descent into madness of Apocalypse Now, mixed with the splintered reality of Assassin’s Creed Revelations, combined with the melee combat and cel-shaded madness of Lollipop Chainsaw meets Mad World. So where does the “mystery” part come in, you ask? Because the game, set between Dead Island and Dead Island 2, will reveal the origin of the zombie outbreak.

You take the role of porn star sounding Cliff Calo, a gilet wearing muscle man who sets sail for Banoi to document the unexplained events of the original game but instead winds up on Narapela part of the same archipelago but separate enough for Deep Silver to do a Jurassic Park  (think Isla Sorna and “Site B”) and lump a load of extra/extraneous  origin plot onto the series without tripping over the facts as explained in the first game.

The nature of reality plays a big part in Escape Dead Island as Calo will be “haunted by deja-vus” and “have to make sense of it all throughout the entire game again and again.” Oh no… not more timed, Dead Rising esque Groundhog Day gameplay, we hope. Either way he will be facing a “struggle against insanity”  something we’re currently facing in the form of the oversaturation of what has so far been a one-hit wonder IP.

It’s highly appropriate that we referenced an Assassin’s Creed game earlier, because Deep Silver is rapidly doing an Ubisoft with the brand; five games in four years, two of them spin-offs and only one of them truly justified (that being the direct sequel). The original Dead Island was a solid game, but does it REALLY merit being spun out more than even Assassin’s bleedin’ Creed?

Maybe we’re being too harsh. In all fairness, Escape Dead Island does look quite intriguing but at  the same time, it doesn’t look like a game that’s worth its £39.99 RRP.

As a Live Arcade and PlayStation Network digital game, it might hold its own. But at full price and coming from the same studio that made the horrid Bionic Commando Rearmed 2? Maybe it’s time for a well placed bullet in the brain.


If you just can’t enough Dead Island sequels and spin-offs that aren’t even made by the original studio, you might be interested in Dead Island: Epidemic the aforementioned free-to-play PC MOBA. It pits three teams of twelve players against one another in an unholy battle of “deadly umbrellas, flaming trumpets, shark tornados and legions of gruesome zombies”. Yes, really.

Here’s what Deep Silver has to say about it: “You have direct control over your hero. No Last Hitting, mouse click to move nonsense here it’s you, good ol’ WASD, and your trigger finger, making it easy to hop in, no muss, no fuss. No idea what any of that means? No problem. All you need to know is that you need to point your crosshairs towards anyone and anything not on your team!”

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