E3 2011 Quickies: Hands-On: Dead Island

I’ve decided to start a thing called ‘E3 Quickies’ for all of the games that I was only given a short time with. Please keep in mind all of these opinions are based on very brief hands-on time with the title and the judgements will be very rash, and based mostly on quick observations and assumptions.

Dead Island

The team behind Dead Island really know how to nail down a cinematic. The first trailer for the game made huge waves in the community with its frightening slow motion teaser played in reverse with a haunting piano theme reminiscent of TV’s Lost playing throughout. If obtaining buzz was their goal, they definitely accomplished it.

I was expecting a little more buzz around the game at E3, but the two times I had made my way over there, the six stations it was being demoed on didn’t seem to be getting the attention I was hoping for. Though in its defense, Square Enix had a solid lineup of games for people to check out. Nearby was a huge screen showing off some new story footage of the game, and as always it was done exquisitely. Like I said before, they really know how to nail a cinematic. But the big question remained, would the game be any good?

My extremely brief time with the game was quite a let-down in comparison to the attention the story and promotional videos was receiving. It felt like a slightly more realistic take on Left 4 Dead. Again, my time with it was super brief. The game allowed for a 5 minute play-through, and I began mine near the end of someone else’s slot. In my time with the game I was surrounded by a group of 3-4 zombies slowly cornering me as I tried to take them out melee style with a wrench (I think). I swung until my eventual death. To be honest, I don’t feel good passing any judgement on how the game will turn out based on my short time with it, but I can confidently say the feel of Dead Island did strike me too similarly to the way Left 4 Dead did the first time I played it. But I do have faith that there’s more to it than what I saw, and that the main story could hopefully be compelling enough to give it a fresh edge.

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