Trop­i­cal hol­i­day hell

DEAD IS­LAND RRP: $ 99.95 ( Re­viewed on PS3) ★★★★■

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - EGuide Tech - MIKE WIL­COX mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

CALL it in­ge­nious mar­ket­ing if you will, but be­fore this game was even re­leased, it shot to fame ear­lier this year through a com­pelling video trailer on YouTube that has since had more than seven mil­lion hits.

Wedged some­where in be­tween the other ma­jor zom­bie game fran­chises, which in­clude Left for Dead, Dead Ris­ing and Res­i­dent Evil, Dead Is­land man­ages to carve out its own niche through its unique trop­i­cal set­ting and role-play­ing game el­e­ments.

Set on a fic­tional is­land par­adise called Banoi, the story sees your char­ac­ter wak­ing up in a re­sort as an in­fec­tion is spread­ing and claim­ing new vic­tims. For­tu­nately for you, the grow­ing num­ber of walk­ing dead are not able to pass the virus on to you, how­ever, that’s not to say they aren’t still in­ter­ested in mak­ing a meal of you.

As in any zom­bie upris­ing, the main aim is to sur­vive and es­cape to safety. To do this, you need to seek out other sur­vivors who have their own fields of ex­per­tise that can help you achieve some of your goals.

The start of the game presents you with a choice of four game char­ac­ters, each with a slightly dif­fer­ent skill set.

This ini­tially of­fered hope that there would be some en­gag­ing char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment as you progress through the game. Un­for­tu­nately, the op­tions are lim­ited to gain­ing a few new skills and some weapon cus­tomi­sa­tion.

Sur­pris­ingly, Dead Is­land does of­fer a de­cent mul­ti­player mode. At any mo­ment if there is an­other online player who is nearby the same point in the story, you can drop into each other’s game, in fact up to four can play through the game to­gether.

This leaves you less open to sur­prise at­tacks and al­lows you to help each other when you fall or be­come in­jured.

De­spite a genre that is al­ready ooz­ing with choices, Dead Is­land shows there is al­ways room for more fresh scares and new sur­prises. But it is not with­out its flaws and the lack­lus­tre cast could have been more de­vel­oped. While zom­bie fans will none­the­less en­joy this hol­i­day in trop­i­cal hell, for the rest of us, it’s far from the per­fect get­away.

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