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Review | Escape Dead Island (PS3)

by April 4, 2015 0 comments


Blood-vomit dripping from its cankerous maw, [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] shambles forth as it trips onto its face all while Deep Silver laughs its way to the bank.



[i]Dead Island[/i] is one of the great scams of the modern age. When Deep Silver first revealed [i]Dead Island[/i] using a deceptive trailer animated by Axis Productions- it illustrated a story of a dying little girl amidst a zombie outbreak in an island resort with a dark and emotional tone. The final product that Techland ultimately delivered lacked the emotion, atmosphere or even the state of the art visuals that the trailer would have implied. [i]Dead Island[/i] was just a load of schlock that fit more in line with the [i]Resident Evil[/i] movies with an island setting with ugly visuals, poor animation, rife with bugs, glitches and a choppy framerate. The idea of [i]Dead Island[/i] is pretty ambitious though- huge open world, co-op driven first person action RPG with a survival-horror twist. The idea itself is actually pretty wonderful, but the execution was very sloppy and clumsily illustrated. Now with two core mediocre [i]Dead Island[/i] games out, Deep Silver has sought out developer Fat Shark to set the bar even lower for the franchise and which will probably destroy the [i]Dead Island[/i] brand. Cubed3 tries to review [i]Escape Dead Island[/i].



The general consensus of the [i]Dead Island[/i] games is that they are highly flawed but amusing games to play cooperatively with friends. Sure they are ugly as sin and so buggy that it is comical, but where else can players team up and lay to waste hordes of the undead in a sand-box resort style location? Deep Silver and Fat Shark doesn’t want [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] to be fun at all. In their infinite wisdom they sought to remove the only redeeming qualities the fans of this franchise had because they probably hate the idea of making people happy and fight against the idea of fun. [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is allegedly and spin-off- yes, some characters from the first games show up- no, they do not contribute anything of substance. For this entry, players assume the role of the most insufferable main character in any survival horror game ever, Cliff Calo. This repugnant dork is not only unlikeable, but he is also intensely stupid- unable to figure out the most basic and obvious plot points. Get used to this doofus, because he is the main character and unlike past [i]Dead Island[/i] games, there is no choices.


[i]Escape Dead Island[/i] aims to be kinda like a Metroidvania type game with backtracking and gear gating. There is stealth-based gameplay when engaging with enemies, but it is all so generic and basically amounts to sneaking up behind them and giving them a fatal wedgie take-down. Never mind that the stealth is so laughably poor and Cliff can casually crawl in front of a zombie without them noticing, but god help players who do get caught and have to use the most broken melee combat ever implemented in survival-horror. One thing is to limit player’s abilities in a horror game to increase tension, but another is just something that looks and feels unfinished. [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is very unfinished, and it becomes obvious when players witness how awful the hit detection is. Enemies will react to getting hit even before Cliff will swing his weapon (very slowly) and other times they wont react at all. It’s a major crapshoot and becomes a mindless, grueling endeavor where players will pray that the fight be over. Even the dodging mechanics don’t feel like they work and seem to be lacking the appropriate invincibility frames. Even when Cliff isn’t dodging enemy attacks, their swings or lunges that miss will some how register anyways. The game sputters like a slide show, putting a painful strain on the PS3 as its internal components buzz and whir in agony. The game will crash randomly whether Cliff is wandering around the first-year 3D student geometrical mess, or even when players are just navigating the menus. Even selecting the basic options feature will send [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] into a tizzy and make it freeze up like a polar bear carcass in the Arctic moonlight.



[i]Escape Dead Island[/i] not only plays like junk, it looks like junk too. Splotchy low quality textures that make the character models look very wooden, and a comic book style that is very poorly realized. There are some more dynamic cutscenes that are realized as motion comics, which were obviously prerendered but yet despite that they still have choppiness and screen tearing! Deep Silver approved these recorded animations and permitted them to appear in their multimillion-dollar project that is tied to a profitable intellectual property. [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] really tries to ape off the style of the [i]Borderlands[/i] games (which was already plagiarized from an animated short) in hopes of desperately luring the fans of those game. It is so transparent it’s offensive it becomes apparent that Deep Silver probably doesn’t think too highly of its fans or customers.


One can make the argument that [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is different and that alone makes it interesting. This would be true if Deep Silver and Fat Shark delivered a game that was still fun to play so it could stand on its own. Problem is that [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] will never stand on its own even if all ties or connections to the franchise were severed, all is left is a boring and very glitchy game. There are titles like [i]Deadly Premonition[/i], which are highly flawed, yet very enjoyable games due to how unique and weird they are because of the unconventional gameplay and low quality graphics which can enhance the surreal experience. One thing is for certain, where [i]Deadly Premonition[/i] succeeds is it had a compelling characters and a very articulate story and dared to be original despite its inspirations. [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] has an unlikable annoying  jerk for a main character, broken-glitchy gameplay and worst of all it is boring as a brick.



The least favorite feature of the franchise is buggy, glitchy gameplay and Deep Silver ensured that Fat Shark delivered exactly what people didn’t want. There were a few moments during gameplay when entire areas of the game wouldn’t load up, allowing Cliff to explore a vacuum with the later environments visible in the distant background for about 5 minutes until it crashed the system. When [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] making the PS3 lock up or freeze, it is a terrible slog with the most agonizing combat and the stupidest AI with the worst path finding. Even the save system is frustrating that it only auto saves or saves at the start of locations without an option for players to manually save. There is not a single feature in this game that works as it is supposed to.



Cel shading can be a wonderful graphical flourish that can help a game’s style and make it seem timeless. [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is a extreme miscalculation of the cel shading effect and some how made the game look worse than any other PS3 made in the last five years. Everything is so bland stock, which is so confusing considering the huge success of this franchise. All textures are a low-resolution mess, and for some reason all the 3D models all have a very low poly count as if it was a PSP game. Characters have the expressiveness of action figures and their anatomy does weird things due to how poorly rigged they are. Lots of pop in, texture loading and screen tearing inducing constant ocular torment.



Despite the terrible voice actors delivering flat lines and sound effects cutting out constantly during shootouts, the music is actually pretty creepy. Seriously, the music in [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] isn’t bad, and is actually pretty moody and would be able to generate a decent sense of dread if the game itself was better. At times the music can be evocative of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shinning” with its low rumble and gritty texture.



For 30 dollars, players can experience the most dreadful single player survival-horror game Deep Silver and Fat Shark can muster. What players will get is about a 10-12 hour campaign that has a new game plus feature that is clumsily worked into the plot which is admittedly a feature that is unexpected to be found in such a low quality title. Of course this would entail that player play [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] again whichis highly unlikely anyone would want to do. New game plus in [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is just adding insult to injury to fans of this series.



[i]Escape Dead Island[/i] is a blatant cash-in on the [i]Dead Island[/i] that Deep Silver probably threw out in order to keep their intellectual property relevent in the minds of the customers and fans. This game will not keep [i]Dead Island[/i] relevant, it will only alienate the fans of the series and the general awfulness of [i]Escape Dead Island[/i] won’t draw in a new audience, it will only backfire and ensure people wont care or hate it. This is a very crude and vulgar gaming experience that will be forever be a huge dirty mark for everyone involved in its development.

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