Last Wednesday I was given the chance to put my hands-on Dead Island solo campaign which trailer managed to awake my interest while a general zombie overdose had reached (even) me after the awfully boring The Walking Dead TV series (read preview here, and yes I found the series so disappointing I don't see the point in writing more about it...). Following this amazing trailer you can see in our preview, the first in-game teaser was released the day before my hands-on and once again, it worked!
Today the game is still in its production phase and for what I understood the version we played on was a pre-beta one. Though the rendering for the landscapes and characters was nice already and I encountered no bug playing while I'm quite a specialist on this field!
For the first test I started as a woman character in a mountain refuge which allows me to discover in full security the game routines for Dead Island. Quite surprisingly I discover that dialogs with NPC (non playing-characters) take a large part in the game. Through these dialogs you get to know what's going on and you are also proposed quests which you can accept or not. Should you accept several, you will then be able to choose them from the menu and solve them in the order of your choice.
I wasn't expecting Dead Island to make me think about Fallout 3 but it did, a lot! For what I've seen it wasn't as central as in Fallout but, a real role-playing dimension exists in Dead Island. It ends out to be much more than the zombie FPS I first imagined, making the game a lot more interesting!
Having many quests opened at the same time comes with freedom and great areas to explore. I've forgotten to ask if all the island was opened from the beginning but during the test I borrowed some car and never encountered any unnatural obstacle to prevent me to go somewhere (well, zombie hordes are not that "natural" but you got the point, didn't you?). Last big FPS on the market tend to offer awesome rendering but corridors for gameplay areas. It's good to be free again! Especially in such a nice environment.
Still alike Fallout games, you also find lots of stuff while exploring. Some are useless (empty cans), some help you to figure out what is going on and why your holidays are screwed (newspapers and recordings), some can be used as more or less exotic weapons, and some be crafted. Yes! Crafting is an option. If I never had the chance to find a firearm while playing, at least I managed to craft myself some explosive knives which found out to be quite efficient!
These crafted knives were highly appreciated as for now, Dead Island comes with a very, very serious challenge! Actually I hope they will lower a bit the difficulty level as it was even beginning to become a little bit boring to find myself running away out of weapon, except for my stiletto heels!
I don't know if the choice will be given in the campaign or if the solo campaign will be divided in several chapters with different playing characters but, I wasn't given the choice for the hands-on and played a woman whom, in pure respect of B movies rules, wouldn't have thought once about getting rid of her uncomfortable shoes! If they happened to be efficient weapons, this character couldn't run for long and found herself out of breath quickly while fighting with a heavy baseball bat. Hard to rest when a colossus in straitjacket is charging you, though!
Indeed, like in Left 4 Dead, I've seen at least two kinds of zombies, above the overall. First is an explosive one that you can see in the back end of the second picture below, the other if the straitjacket wearer already mentioned. In both case, you pray for a gun, a big one!
As I mentioned Left 4 Dead, if we didn't tested it, our hosts gave us some info about the multiplayer campaign. It will be a different campaign than the solo one. It will involve four playable characters and like in L4D, they will be played by bots if the game lacks players online.
The least I can say is that this little hands-on made me eager to play the game! No date was given forDead Island release except "before the end of the year". Once again, we have to be patient!