After an opening video that reminded me of my usual Saturday night, I came to the title screen of Dead Island — a view of nothing but a cloud of blood slowly dispersing in the water while somber music played in the background. It was at this point that I started to think I might like this game. Then I hit the start button and those feelings went right out the window.
At the character select screen, I flipped through my choices of Asian ninja girl, half-black half-Australian mercenary girl, a black rapping dude, and Chuck Liddell. These characters give a sob-story voiceover about why they are on the island, and quite frankly this was the moment where I stopped giving a fuck whether or not any of them survived what I knew was about to happen to them. Thankfully, once the game actually started, they stopped talking.
So I make my selection. Anyone who knows me would also know that the obvious choice is the Asian girl. I may be a huge sexy white guy on the outside, but on the inside, I’m an Asian woman through and through. This one knows martial arts. She’s good with a blade. She’s in all of the advertisements so she must have some kind of hidden perks. Now I just need to find some other hot girls to go make out with.
The first hot girl I run into chases me down a hallway and punches me in the face. Not cool! You know, she wasn’t even all that hot anyway. Her body was alright, but she had some serious kind of skin condition. Whatevs. I’m sure I can find some more girlies. Hey, there’s one! Oh, she’s in a bikini just like the last girl and– eww! What is up with that skin!? Turns out, she’s on her period or something. This is not why I came to this tropical resort, so I’m getting upset.
A lifeguard informs me that these women aren’t on their periods, they’re just zombies. Oh, and somehow I’m immune to the zombie virus, so it’s up to me to go do EVERY GODDAMN THING THERE IS TO DO while all of these pussies hide out in a shack. Alright, just give me that broomstick so I can go beat some bitches up and save your collective asses. I didn’t want to share any of my XP or energy drinks with you jerks anyhow.
I head out of the shack in search of Lifeguard Cinnamon’s I.D. so that we can move all of the pussies from the shack to the lifeguard station, which I’m told is a more secure location. So I go find it and open the gates, and they all roll up in a pickup. You guys had a pickup this whole time and didn’t bother to let me use it while I was out here doing EVERY GODDAMN THING FOR YOU? You know what, that’s fine. Just give me the XP, you dick.
It’s at this point that Lifeguard Cinnamon tells me that I can get more XP by helping all of the other helpless pussies besides him, and BOOM! I now have a bunch of quest options. I help some girl find her teddy bear. I bring some other girl a few bottles of water. I escort some other girl back to the lifeguard station. They all give me XP, but still none of them make out with me. They’re probably just racists and don’t like my Hong Kongitude. Or maybe they work for The Network.
All of this took place over the course of about 2 hours, and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I was having a pretty good time. During the prologue, I was a bit unsure if I was really going to like Dead Island. The controls just didn’t feel all that tight and I already noticed some graphical hiccups, like if I look down at my feet when I jump I can see through my body. The prologue was short, though, and after changing the look sensitivity and bashing a few zombie brains, the controls started to feel more natural.
My only gripe here is that the same button is used to enter Fury mode and to heal myself — holding B enters Fury, but just pressing it uses a medkit. Sometimes I try to use Fury before realizing that my meter isn’t the whole way up yet, so I let go of the button and it makes me use a medkit. This has only happened maybe four times, but I feel it was four times too many. Fury mode, by the way, is different depending on your character. My Asian chick goes into a chopping frenzy with a kitchen knife, Chuck Liddell throws a bunch of stuff, etc.