We were given ten minutes to kill as many zombies as possible in an open environment, with my character wielding a fire axe and a rifle of some sort. Early on it was a bit disorientating to get back into the stamina based combat that Dead Island sported, though I soon got into the swing of things. The gun had probably more ammunition in it than it will ever see in the final product and there was no degradation for the axe, but it’s likely this is for demo purposes.
Also for demo purposes, something the developers were open about, was the fact that the ten minute arena time limit was created specifically for the demo and that the side objectives we had are not representative of the final product. In the demo, completing the side missions of collecting 200 of a fire-based upgrade or electric-based upgrade would automatically apply said upgrade to your arsenal. In the final product, they’re anticipating it to work more like the original Dead Island with the crafting mechanic, though crafting can now be done anywhere for convenience.
While it doesn’t play any differently to previous Dead Island titles, it’s important to point out that it is at this time more visually complex than visually appealing. Certain enemies will have different skins depending on location. Suiciders found next to a gas station for example will look like gas attendants, while Thugs in the hardware store will look like clerks.
Their reason for this ties in with the fact the action now takes place in Los Angeles as opposed to the fictional “paradise” Banoi Island, so they wanted the game to have that immersive feel. It’s a strong addition to the mix, though we hope there are some new and interesting additions to the roster of enemies.
My concerns though are that by playing it somewhat safe, the game will feel like a glorified expansion to many. Having eight players at one time is a nice touch, but it certainly didn’t feel like a visual step up. I would have forgiven it had it sported a higher frame rate to make the first person combat feel fluid, but frankly I didn’t get that impression.
Maybe there’s more to the final version mechanically that they’re not ready to show, which is the case for many games at EGX this year. In the meantime, the foundations are there in full show and are a good indication that the franchise is at least in safe hands.