Some new gameplay was released today for the highly anticipated zombie game. Above is the new video which shows off some great aspects of the game.

Let me start off by saying that I was pleased by what I saw in the video. While the graphics were only average, you have to remember that this game is still months from release, and one would expect them to polish it up before distributing. Other than that though, the game looks fantastic. Going first person was definitely a great idea for this game, really allows the player to get up close and personal with the zombies. So right off the bat we’re told that the game has a fairly deep story, as it takes the interviewee a few moments to bring viewers up to speed via a brief synopsis. You notice that the player has Quests, Challenges, and Achievements that he has the option to complete. Quests are probably typical story advancers, you must complete them if you wish to finish the campaign (not to say there won’t be side quests though). Challenges are most likely in-game goals that may reward the player with things such as extra experience or perhaps a new weapon. Lastly, the achievements are probably just tallies to see how close you are to earning the achievements that will add to your gamerscore. You can also see from this video that you have a fairly simple HUD. It appears to me that players have a health bar, an experience bar, a fatigue bar, a compass, and what I think is a meter which demonstrates how much longer the current weapon can be used until it breaks.

It doesn’t take long (1:30 mark) for us to see some unique ideas that you don’t see in every game. What I’m talking about here is the workbench. In many games, if your weapon breaks, you’re usually shit out of luck and you have to go find a new one. Doesn’t appear to be that way in Dead Island. In this game, it looks like you will be able to repair broken weapons, or even upgrade them by adding things on to them (for example, in the video we see a baseball bat with nails sticking out of the top). Just over 2 minutes in we get to see our first zombie kills. The melee system looks amazing. You can actually aim for different parts of the body, which results in zombies taking different types of damage. Swing for the legs – the zombie can’t run at you anymore, hack off an arm – don’t have to worry about that weapon that was just in his hand, aim really high – decapitation. It all seems to be done quite well, including the slowing done effect that happens when you have a great kill on a zombie, or when you kill the last zombie near you (I’m not sure what triggers the slow motion, I just know it’s awesome). He also mentions that there are different types of zombies. Some of them are dumb and slow, some will actually run at you, some have weapons, some are strong enough to knock you to your feet, some will explode in an attempt to take you with them. Hopefully this is enough to keep the game fresh, unlike previous titles which had every zombie fight feel like the same thing over and over again. We also get to see that you can throw your weapons, and even have them interact with the environment (throws a weapon at a propane tank around the 2:45 mark, which causes it to blow up and kill the nearby zombie).

 

     Moving on, we enter the bungalow area, making me think that the island is huge if there are going to be multiple areas (remember, it is open world!).  Here he discusses the stamina of the player, and how they won’t be able to just endlessly swing away at zombies. If the player attempts to do so, he will become tired and won’t be able to fight back, possibly right in the middle of the fight. Clearly this would cause a problem, thus, players must go about their attacks a little bit more strategically then what they are accustomed to in zombie games. Around 3:45 we get to see vehicle transportation. It’s nothing over the top, fairly simple, but it does show that you can run over the zombies, and they can cause damage to your vehicle. We see a zombie cracks the windshield of the truck, and the character actually shatters it the rest of the way so they can see again. This is also when fast travel is brought up. Essentially, since the island is so big, instead of forcing players to waste time running around, the game allows you to teleport to areas you’ve already been to from maps at safe points.

In the next couple of minutes we see some more fighting, and hear more about the different types of zombies. And then the concept of character development comes up. Dead Island does bring in some RPG elements, so even though you and your friends might be at the same point in the game, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be playing the game exactly the same way. One of your characters might have increased stamina. The other one might be able to do more damage. I haven’t seen any skill trees yet, but I’m sure there will be enough to keep it varied. Also, as your players advances, they will become more confident when fighting. At the beginning they are timid and don’t say much, but later on in the game they will be more vocal and actually instigating fights with the zombies.

We also get a chance to see some menus. The one looks like a simple weapon selection wheel. Bring it up, aim it towards your tool of destruction, your character whips out the selected machete, bat, etc. The other menu looks like a typical inventory menu. See what your character is hauling around, maybe take something that gives you more health, or what items should you keep to bring back to a safe point. A little bit after the 7 minute mark, the viewers get a look at a special skill. When it’s activated, you have the ability to slash through multiple zombies very quickly. It’s similar to a heightened stage of rage. And around 7:30 you get to see how the weather changes throughout the game and how it may affect your playing. In the rest of the video we see another sample quest and what looks like possibly a boss. Guns are also confirmed for the game, but it’s stated that you won’t see much of them since the focus is melee weapons. Explosive weapons will also make an appearance in Dead Island. Right before the end of the video, we’re told that there will be somewhere around 25-30 hours of gameplay, and there will also be 4 player co-op. Also, there are 4 different characters and 4 different character classes (that’s news to me). It’s also confirmed that they will be showing more at this year’s E3, so make sure to catch that June 7-9.

 

     With all of that being said, I can’t wait to see more from Dead Island! This looks like it has some serious potential, and could really breakthrough as the first great zombie game on the Xbox 360 and PS3. It will also be coming out for PC. Keep checking out The Rotten Cartridge as we continue to follow Dead Island, and don’t forget to leave your comments about the video and game below!

6/11/11 – New trailer released! Article can be found here.