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Escape Dead Island Review


Escape Dead Island is a very brave move by Deep Silver, taking their well known series and handing it over to another developer (Fat Shark) and trying something a little different and for the most part, they pull it off.

Escape Dead Island is pitched as a survival horror but this is not the best description, its more of an adventure game with a smattering if stealth and fighting thrown in. Events start off with an action heavy prologue, giving us a glimpse of the initial outbreak as you play as as super spy/ninja Kilo Two, taking out zombies with ease with his katana and trying to assassinate a mole before we the start the game proper, moving some six months ahead and joining up with a small group of wannabe journalists in the hope of breaking a huge news story, what really happened on Banoi Island. We play as Cliff, the son of a multimillionaire who is out to prove himself, borrowing his fathers yacht to get close to Banoi though before arriving the group decide to get some b-roll footage from a neighbouring island, but all does not appear as it seems on Narapela Island, this previously thought safe haven also suffering the zombie outbreak in full effect.

Whilst a separate spin-off story, Escape Dead Island does occasionally dip into what came before, offering new bits of information to add more depth to the previous games events and even though personally I have not played the original games there were no real requirements to have played them and it also piqued my interest enough into picking them up.



Played as a third person adventure game, Escape Dead Island does try to push some stealth elements, having you sneak around zombies to enable you to take them out with a screwdriver to the head however this is very risky, with the eagle eyed zombies more often than not detecting you all too easily resulting in after a few attempts just relying on the offensive weapons available to you like the pistol which is noisy but good enough to take out at least one troublesome zombie before you are overrun or utilising the many barrels located all over the place, ripe for an explosion however shooting one alerts the zombies, running away from the damaging fallout of the exploding barrel so more often than not its down to use the melee weapons, which are also a little cumbersome are near impossible to get a clean kill,I think what I am trying to say here is that the action is not that great.

The story in Escape Dead Island will generally have you running around the island, uncovering new locations and hunting down specific items, slowly unfolding what happened before the outbreak and also dipping into Cliff apparently losing his mind by way of some clever hallucinations. The actual gameplay is very basic, but it is fun enough to keep you entertained by adding a few extra elements, with plenty of tapes to locate that extend the story and to keep in line with the characters journalistic dreams, Cliff is also able to take snap shops of the island, letting you wander around in a sort of treasure hunter style, trying to locate points of interest through the cameras viewpoint.

To create the appearance of a larger world the game has taken a Metroidvania school of thought, with new paths opening up as you collect items, with ropes, grappling hooks and even axes to smash through blockages unlocking new areas and handy torches to light otherwise impassable darkened rooms, though do not go expecting a multi-pathed adventure as it is not as deep as other games that use this element.

For all of its faults, of which there are plenty Escape Dead Island has managed to keep me coming back and actually enjoying it, be it the story with Cliff slowly losing his mind or the great art direction, focusing on a more cel-shaded animated comic visual approach that even has the written sound effects popping as you cave in another zombie head, yes they are a little rough around the edges but there are moments where it truly shines.

Once stripped down Escape Dead Island is very basic, not offering the depth of the titles that came before it and the constant retreading of routes does get tiresome, but there is always that little trickle of intrigue that keeps pushing you through, ignoring the games many bad points and taking it for what it is, a budget spinoff; this game was never going to get rave reviews and high scores but at its soul it does manage the key basics and entertains from start to finish.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ Great comic style visuals
+ Learn more about the Banoi Island incident

Cons

- The weapon mechanics can be infuriating

Edited On 09 Dec, 2014

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