It may bear the Dead Island name, but Escape Dead Island is bursting away from Deep Silver’s zombie franchise with several big changes.
First of all, Escape swaps out the series’ signature first-person combat for a thirdperson take on zombie killing. Players can wield a combination of melee weapons and guns, with the former combining light and heavy button presses for skull-smashing action, rather than Dead Island’s analogstick control scheme.
Also out are the realistic visuals of previous entries in the Dead Island franchise, replaced by a bright-coloured cel-shaded scheme. Blood gushes out of lopped-off limbs in cherry-red plumes and undead spitters fire neon green globules of acid, all bordered with hard comic bookstyle black lines.
The title will serve as a bridge, both narratively and generationally. Escape is coming exclusively to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, with the sequel Dead Island 2 following on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC early next year. Both games are being written by Anne Toole, the Emmy Awardwinning writer behind US TV show The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, providing a narrative link between the titles, both of which tie into the main Dead Island storyline last visited in 2013’s Dead Island: Riptide.
The game tells the tale of Cliff Calo, a journalist attempting to document the horrific events on Banoi – the original Dead Island. Calo travels to the island of Narapela, part of the Banoi archipelago, with his companions Linda and Devan, to try and make sense of the initial outbreak. We will also discover how the infection makes it to Californian shores by the start of Dead Island 2.
But it’s not just the undead that Calo will have to do battle with – throughout the game he will suffer deja-vus, which will twist reality, flooding players’ screens with contorted images and hallucinogenic visions.
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From makeshift melee armaments like poles and modded fire axes to guns ranging from pistols to shotguns, Calo adds to his journalist’s camera a wide assortment of weapons to take down an equally varied selection of brain munchers.
He’ll also be able to finish off downed enemies with quick-time event execution moves – and hope that the gangs of standard walkers, claw-wielding jumping enemies and acid-lobbing spitters don’t take him down first.
The game should be able to satisfy Dead Island fans who haven’t yet made the jump to the latest generation of consoles, as well as satiating those who are awaiting Dead Island 2.