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SDCC 2014 Impressions: Escape Dead Island

SDCC 2014 Impressions: Escape Dead Island

Escape Dead Island

While At SDCC I Got To See Escape Dead Island In A More Intimate Setting Than Just The Trailer. Here’s My Take On It

It seems like I should have had to wait a bit longer to get a look at Escape Dead Island as it was only announced a month ago but I’ll take it none the less. Especially since Escape Dead Island seems to be taking the amazing universe and changing a lot of the mechanics that we are used to and changing them or removing them to fit this new take on Dead Island. Without any further gilding the lily here, let’s dig right in.

For those not familiar with Escape Dead Island it is sort of an in-between-quel from Dead Island: Riptide and Dead Island 2; although all you really need to know are the basics of the universe’s story to be able to hop on in. You take on the role of Cliff Calo who is the rich spoiled brat of a Media Mogul. To be honest, the basics of the character’s story can be summed up in the Green Hornet film with Cliff being Seth Rogen’s character except that Cliff has a sister who gets the media empire. That doesn’t sit well with Cliff and he sets out to prove his worth by uncovering what has become the latest internet sensation; the events on Banoi. He gathers a crew and set out for the island but only gets close enough via another island where he finds things are real and that his crew and himself are not as safe as the immune from the other titles in the series.

This brings us to the first interesting bit for the Escape Dead Island, you are playing someone who can be bit and die. This turns the whole running into a crowd of zombies to murder them all into an interesting stealth game in an undead paradise. I’ll admit it seemed a bit iffy to me when first given the spiel but then I saw it in motion and it played out much like Hitman: Absolution‘s stealth/distract mechanics. Cliff was able to use the surroundings to lure and move zombies or herds of zombies to clear a path to move along. There were even portions were there was no real progression path and the player needs to try multiple tactics to get through as one bite and it is game over of sorts.

I am a fan of realism in my games and it makes perfect sense that one bite should end you in Escape Dead Island but that would sound for a difficult path to the end. Luckily that is only at the beginning of Escape Dead Island as you can get a few upgrades along the way to further survive but I think the better aspect is that there was virtually no load times to “respawn”. In fact during my demo the developer who was playing through the game died and before the death animation was finished playing the world had shifted and placed Cliff back at the last check point. So don’t read into the whole one hit kill as some kind of “Insane Mode” for Escape Dead Island but more of a realistic feature for a non-immune.

So we have stealth and we have the consequences for not being stealthy but can we defend ourselves? Of course we can. That and there is also the removal of weapon downgrading that was rampant in all of the other major titles in the franchise. That is not to say that you have no items that are limited use in Escape Dead Island but the weapons shown in the demo did not break (why would a screwdriver break after 3 uses?). Part of this was based on the type of game Escape Dead Island is as well as how the items are being used. All of your kills should be stealth kills after all so there should be no crazy swinging for the stars that could break things. Also it would make Escape Dead Island a billion times more difficult if you had to scavenge around for weapons while being stealthy the whole time.

That is not to say that there is no scavenging around in Escape Dead Island mind you. It was only mentioned and not shown in the demo but the crazy weapons we can build will be back in Escape Dead Island so we will have to find the parts for that as we go. Also, as Cliff is there to get the story of the decades, we will have to move about the island “scavenging” pictures to bring back home to break the story. This gameplay feature looked a lot like the camera play in Dead Rising and BioShock where we need to get the perfect image and we are graded on what we are able to capture. Some are humorous and some are just down right horrific. None the less it will have us scavenging the island as we try to Escape Dead Island.

There was one bit I was hoping to see more of from Escape Dead Island, the “insanity” bit, but that was again teased just as it was in the announcement trailer for the game. In fact, in the demo I saw Cliff woke up after all the craziness of wandering the island and still had all of the bloody gear but all of his friends swore he was passed out where he was for a day or two. So either his friends are crazy or Cliff can pull some crazy Nightmare On Elm Street awesomeness by pulling his dreams into reality. Like I said, I wish there was more on all of that but as the demo concluded I was told that we would have to wait to find out more.

After seeing all that I did for Escape Dead Island I had more and more questions that I wanted to have answered. I also walked away with more excitement for Escape Dead Island to release this fall. I think that what Fatshark and Deep Silver have going on here will be the perfect hold over to Dead Island 2 and I wish I had my hands on Escape Dead Island now. Gods I want to know who is crazy in the game and what the hell is going on. Hopefully we also get another awesome song like Who Do You Voodoo Bitch out of it too. I’ll be happy with just the game though.