Now that’s some solid advice…
Escape Dead Island is a terrible excuse for a videogame. Relying heavily on good will brought about by the first two titles in the series, this iteration arrives hoping to win over the same audience on name value alone. In short, don’t be fooled. Loosely fitting in to the plot set by the first Dead Island, you’re given the opportunity to take control of Cliff Calo. a genuine pillock of a human being whose personality and attitude grate from the offset – ‘Let him die’ will be a constant thought process that infects your brain. It’s not hard to understand why either: the man whines constantly from the off. ruining any chance there may be something appealing about him. Fatshark, it seems, is attempting to play off the long-running concept of a disenfranchised and obnoxious youth who finds himself through a traumatic experience, but the writing never reaches such lofty heights. Instead, he’s a nightmare of an individual tasked with slicing his way through a horde of zombies.
You’d at the very least imagine that when the undead appear Escape Dead Island would live up to some sort of expectation: even without former developer Techland at the helm, enough groundwork has been laid to produce a decent romp. Think again. Be it the aimless and, frankly, dull combat, the lack of inventive or varied weaponry – which was also high on Dead Island’s list of positives – or the erratic zombies you’re asked to face, there’s nothing here (poor cel-shading aside) that even hints you’re playing an extension of that which come before.
Admittedly there’s an argument to be had that as the enemy you’re smacking in the face are the undead, intelligence shouldn’t be of any great importance. It is, however, when a fair share of encounters you have are painfully lacking in both challenge and diversity. Even when Fatshark remembers it needs to change proceedings up slightly – say. with a different kind of zombie – you’ll soon be given the tools you need 😮 do away with them rather easily. After a few hours it turns every fight into a laborious chore
It doesn’t help that you barely come up against what could be considered a horde of the creatures either. Often taunted with little more than a handful, it often feels like you’re cleaning up the last remnants of an outbreak rather than being knee-deep in it. That’s almost insulting, and while technical limitations need to be taken into account, we’ve seen better elsewhere on the 360, namely in the two games that came before this one. Saying this is a huge step back is being kind.
Events dip once more when you start to realise Escape Dead Island has a tendency to rely on. or at least push you towards, stealth. A difficult angle to pull off even when an entire experience is dedicated to such a goal, it fails miserably here because what are you sneaking up on? Moronic skeletons who would still be disinterested if you ran straight up to them and clattered their skull with a frying pan. Frustratingly, on occasion – and for no real reason – they do spring to life, annoyed you’ve dared enter their personal space. There’s never any coherency, though, meaning it’s a constant roller coaster. The sensation of a satisfying kill is never apparent.
This disappointment intensifies as soon as you realise none of Dead Island’s signature tropes have made it across the void. The aforementioned weaponry is a huge misstep. and the idea of crafting has. for one reason or another, been done away with too. That means there’s little to no point in ever leaving the beaten path and exploring your surroundings. At best you’ll find a collectable – eurgh – but the only reason to recommend such an endeavour is if you’re desperate for achievements. But even then, is it really worth it?
Just to add insult tc injury. Escape Dead Island feels rushed and unloved. It’s visually unappealing, even fora last-gen title, the camera seems designed to upset you. and the difficulty spike towards the end of the game is needless and annoying. You can almost see a man in a suit screaming that the running time needs to be expanded by any means necessary. With all that said, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise for someone to finish this in around six hours. There’s just not that much to do.
Even the most hardened of Dead Island fans would be better served going back to the original or Riptide to plunder their shores once again before they try and tackle this. At best, it’ll make you remember why those entries received the attention they did. At worst, you’ll throw the entire collection away just so you can forget about the horrid memories this will undoubtedly drag up. An unnecessary addition to a series that would’ve faired far better resting until its next-gen brother is ready to be unleashed. Escape Dead Island is best ignored. Forever. SIMON MILLER
A poor entry into a solid series that doesn’t try to improve the experience or come up with any new ideas. Stick with the past and wait for the future.