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access_time September 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM in Culture by Maggie Wiland

Dead Island & Being Hypercritical


I’m kind of poor, so I can’t played a lot of games until they’re 20 dollars or less. Because of this, I finally started playing Dead Island and, much to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be.

We are so hypercritical of things these days that one little thing sets us off and makes us call a product the “worst (blank) ever made”, when in actuality, 95% of the time the problem is our hypercritical view and not the product itself. I’ll grant you the serenity that there’s that 5% chance the product itself does suck (*ahem* read my Sonic 2006 rant, for example)  I honestly don’t know exactly what the problem people have with Dead Island have is. Now granted-to play devils advocate-I am playing it late, so I wasn’t subjected to the games launch bugs and all that. But it’s basically a longer, more drawn out L4D, which I’m fine with. The gameplay is decent enough, the quests are-sure, nowhere near as interesting as they are in say, Fallout 3 or something similar-entertaining enough to keep me playing and there’s no real story to keep track of so it’s all about gameplay WHICH IS WHAT VIDEO GAMES SHOULD BE TO BEGIN WITH…so where’s the problem lay exactly?

I examined a bit closer and reached a conclusion.

The trailer.

We were shown this absolutely incredible trailer that is still to this day one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen for a movie, game or whatever. BUT, because the trailer passed itself off as something it wasn’t, and everyone got so hyped for the product they were presented, when they finally played it they were let down and understandably so. It’s a production and a consumer problem. On one hand, the product misrepresented itself in the trailer, which has happened in movies before (look at Drive for instance) so people assumed they were getting one thing and instead got something entirely different. However, the consumer also is to blame here because in a case like Dead Island…how else DO you market a game like that? You go the opposite route and create a trailer that’s more interesting than the game, obviously, because they understand that’s what sells units. As morally wrong as it may be, it’s true. Often times, movies and games are remembered more for their trailers than the product themselves. Because of the trailer, people expected the game to be what basically The Walking Dead game ended up being. They expected a heart wrenching, dramatic story about a family during an island zombie breakout and instead were given a sandbox type RPG with zombies. So the problem really is with the trailer, as fantastic as it may be, because it lied to the consumer and forced people to read too much into something that ultimately wasn’t there.

But in the games case…totally fine game, honestly, and this is coming from someone who generally doesn’t like RPGS and is completely burnt out on zombies. I have had no real problems with it, and I generally have a problem with EVERYTHING. Is Dead Island bad? No, not really. Like all games and products it has its flaws and its weaknesses, sure, but it’s not by any means “bad”. Bad is generally a subjective term.

“One man’s trash is another mans treasure.”

Is it boring? Well, that depends on the player honestly, which is why games are so hard to write about and report on because gaming itself is so subjective and so much more than books or movies because it’s such an interactive medium. We each want our own unique experience out of it (because unlike books and movies, people do not usually play a game the same way, no matter how linear it ends up being) so it’s really hard to tell someone something is so great when you don’t know if they’ll think that themselves, especially if they haven’t tried it yet. Dead Island isn’t necessarily bad; it’s yet another game in a long line of “good enough” games that just has a sort of shitty reputation because of the hypercritical community gaming has created, where we whine about every damn little thing in the world, and send death threats to people who create shit for us. Go ahead, click that link. I guarantee you you’ll be ashamed of the gaming community.


Either way, Dead Island is fun, if you’re into either RPG’s or zombies or just a game to pass the time in. It plays well enough, it’s entertaining enough and it’s not as bad as it’s been made out to be.

The problem often isn’t the product.

The problem often is the person.


  • Ramon Aranda September 7, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Totally agree. I think sometimes a game gets so overhyped that when it fails to meet those expectations, it’s labeled a failure. Sure, Dead Island isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

  • FHYF September 7, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    That’s the gamers own stupidity if they watch a CGI trailer and think it’s actual game footage, the gaming industry has been doing this for years.. Even the PS4’s “Deep Down” trailer does this.

  • Conor Michael John Matthews September 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I agree… BUT… there are some very serious short comings.
    1. Characters and selections; From the beginning of the game, you must select a character to play as, effectively as part of a rag tag team of survivors. This is aided by the fact that stats are shown for each character, stuff like speed, strength, and endurance. This is made redundant when the concept of multiple weapon selections and modified weapons is introduced. As well as that, none of these skills are utilized. There’s no specific mission or task where only ONE of these four characters is capable of taking on the task, which has been a well established game mechanic in previous games such as Killzone or Resident Evil 4 (the Ada side story that helps Leon’s narrative). And that’s another thing. You are the ONLY character on these missions, yet cut scenes show the entire gang. Left 4 Dead had NPCs along with your characters, so this isn’t a new or untested concept. It’s kind of insulting to the player to pretend they had help during the game.

    2. Sinamoi; “God damn Sinamoi” became an insider joke with my brother while playing the game. It was this phrase that captured frustration. Sinamoi just became this joke character who was basically there to be the Token NPC who gave you missions. He was frustrating, busy, and annoying. I know I’m now giving out about a bunch of pixels on a screen, but it was amazing how unlikable this character was. And even after leaving him, you found him at the lighthouse, the church, and lab, and even in the prison, in the form of different characters. Sinamoi was this drag and drop mission dispenser, who robbed the character of really making any decisions that didn’t involve a cut scene.

    3. Maps: GTA San Andreas had maps down. Literally nearly every game since then had maps down to an art. Dead Island, was schizophrenic with the maps. You could be driving in one direction, on route to a map point, and the map would re-calibrate and want you to go in the opposite direction. The game couldn’t comprehend that you could drive to a spot, walk up a hill, and be at your destination, when there was a ten mile road you could take. As well as that, icons were blurred and undefined and small. There was practically no zoom feature. Setting destination points was literally rough approximations. GTA had detailed maps because you had to no how to escape the police and reach time sensitive missions. Surely a game about escaping zombies would not require you to be at the mercy of a faulty GPS.

    It’s not a bad game. In fact, it’s kind of good. But it is what it is; a rushed Left 4 Dead knock off that thought it’s original setting (a vacation island) was good enough on it’s own. If you like zombie’s you’ll like this. You won’t love it. No one will. It’s a game that you can play. It’s not a game I would recommend you play. It’s a game you’ll enjoy while playing it but will probably not rush to replay it after you complete it.

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