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access_time September 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM in Features by AJ Dellinger

Dead Island Extravaganza (PAX Preview + Trailer)

Update: Dead Island is being published by Deep Silver, not Square Enix. The article has been edited to reflect this.

If you’re a fan of zombie games, Dead Island has been on your radar for quite some time now. Techland, along with Deep Silver, is bringing its open world of the undead to the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC and if you’re in North America, then you’ve only got 5 days left to wait. While the game drops September 6, if you don’t know anything about it yet, you’re going to want to read this. After all, it’s going to be pretty embarrassing if you aren’t aware of one of the most anticipated zombie games in years. Plus, you’re just in time for a new trailer for the game. Aren’t you lucky to get all this information at once? Now, lets educate you so your friends don’t hate you.

Dead Island takes place at a island resort off the coast of Papua New Guinea and features four main characters, all of which will be playable: Xian Mei, an employee at the resort who recently moved from her home of China, is a smart, athletic character; Sam B. is a one-hit wonder of a rapper who is on the island to perform his famous song at a party and is now faced with the poor decisions of his past that bring his self-confidence into question; Logan is a former NFL player who’s career was ended by a street racing injury that destroyed his knee and killed his female passenger. He’s on the island to get away from it all, but is now faced with his demons and zombies; Purna is a former police officer who killed a child molester who she felt got off too easy. She’s attractive and strong with a talented shot.

Once you hop into the game, it’s an all out bloodbath. Zombies are running amuck and you’ll be using anything to stop them. Literally, anything. If you see a rake laying on the beach, pick it up and smack a zombie in the face with it. Really, do it. It’ll be rewarding. Pretty much everything in the environment of the game that you think you could kill zombies with, you can. Firearms will be more sparse and you’ll have to find them in places that they would make sense to be at, like on the body of a dead police officer. There will be weapon combination as well, as well as upgraded, improved, sharpened, or whatever needs to be done to keep killing corpses.

You’ll notice with ever blow to the brains of a zombie, you’ll gain some experience points. There’s an RPG leveling system built into the game that will track experience and allow you to improve skills along the way. Every time you level up, you’ll be able to add some points to your skill tree of choice. What better way to take a break from killing the undead than to improve your abilities in killing the undead? It just makes good sense.

There will be plenty of zombies to destroy to gain your experience, but aside from the normal infected with be some special classes that you’ll have to deal with as well. Some of those special types include a big baddie with boils on its body (there’s some alliteration for you), a zombie with no arms and just bones sticking out past its elbow, a straightjacket-clad, ramming zombie, a slime covered corpse with huge red eyes, and a big tough guy that will knock you on your ass every chance he gets.

All of these zombies will pop up through the game at different times of day and in different seasons as the in game environment is always changing. A lot of the events in game will happen real time in a sense. For example in the demo there is a part of the map where a man in a truck is being swarmed by zombies. If you take too long to get there, you’ll just see a busted open truck and a body that is about to be reanimated. If you don’t spend all your time decapitating everyone and get there in time, you’ll save him and he’ll take you into a shop where you can rebuild your arsenal to continue the fight.

If there is one thing the demo was, it was startling. You’ll kill a zombie as dead as possible, turn around to retool and pick up another weapon, and suddenly have it right on your ass again as it attempts to rip your face off. These zombies will not go quietly, and won’t warn you when they’re coming. They will sneak up on you, rush at you, knock you over, swarm you, do whatever it takes to eat your brains out and turn you into one ugly member of the undead.

If you’re feeling ready to fight some tropical zombies, you’ve still got a few more days. But here’s a trailer that should tide you over:

Get ready to tear up a tropical paradise on September 6.


  • Barnaby Jones September 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    That’s funny that they show the logo with the zombie hanging for the ‘North America’ trailer, being that they were required to change it for the NA release.

    Also, every time I hear either version of the theme song (the more subdued version and the more grandiose version) I can’t help but grin. Freakin’ love the theme song(s).

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