Thursday, September 08, 2011

Dead Island

I read a couple of reviews of Dead Island and it sounds interesting. I like the thought of playing it in the First Person. That definitely puts you more into the game versus playing it in the Third Person and guiding a character around. The use of Stamina, a depletable, slowly regenerating resource used for pretty much every action in the game from punching a zombie to swinging a bat to running for your life is a great way to generate suspense. Sure you can fight, but not indefinitely. Yes you can run, but you can't run forever. You need to seek refuge. You need to rest and recover your strength. Because you are only human.

I even like the character being able to gather resources and use them at various Work Benches scattered around the island to improve, enhance, and upgrade their weapons. What I don't like, is that the resource you use to upgrade your weapons is money.

Seriously? You're on a zombie-infested island with just a handful of survivors and you're "buying" weapon upgrades? Come on! There's no merchants, there's no commerce. How can you possibly spend money to upgrade your weapons? I know, I know. It's a game about zombies. It's not meant to be realistic.

I respectfully disagree with you. I say of course it's supposed to be realistic. We're supposed to become emotionally invested in this game, particularly in this specific game given the level of emotion invoked by the Trailer.

The Devs expect us to believe in this world, but for us to believe in it it needs to be realistic. Okay, somewhat realistic, given it's a world/island overrun by zombies. But even in a fantasy world where the dead can rise, walk, run, and try to eat your brains, you still could not use money to upgrade weapons unless you were paying someone to upgrade them for you. But there's nobody else involved in the upgrading process, so you cannot be paying anyone, thus money as a resource to upgrade your weapons is?

Highly illogical, Capt'n.

Thank you, Mr. Spock.

Had you been finding & accruing not Money, but Spare Parts, or Bits & Pieces, and at a Work Bench you used X number of Bits & Pieces to upgrade your weapon from Level N to Level N+1 I would have totally accepted that. It's a quite plausible, valid premise, even though nothing has changed but the name of the resource. You were using Money, now you're using Bits. That simple name change changes everything.

A wise man once (allegedly) said, "What's in a name?"

Another wise man responded (although perhaps not immediately, nor to the first man), "Names have power."


Memphis Steve said...

I would be more emotionally into it if the zombies were all hot chicks. But then I wouldn't want to blast them, so I guess it's good that they aren't.

mbp said...

Isn't there suppose to be some kind of hold out settlement where you buy these upgrades. It sounds a bit like Borderlands to me.

Regardless I share your scepticism for a zombie infested world where there is still a working cash economy. They could have achieved the same game-play effect without the cash by just making you scavenge for parts.

Isey said...

Good points on the $$$. Really, having the parts isn't any different at all - just a different number beside an inventory item. Which helps the immersion AND makes more sense overall.

Seems like a lazy design decision.

BugHunter said...

I played this for a few minutes at PAX and just couldn't get into it. I totally agree about the money thing, even though I never figured out how to pick any of it up. I would have though running over it, pressing "E" (default "use" in FPS), or punching the money would have gotten it, but know. What ever happened to making intuitive game controls?

Tesh said...

Aye, that's an odd design decision. I always have to wonder about how those get made. Methinketh it's a matter of too many cooks.

Gankalicious said...

The video review I watched has turned me off from the game. I was set to buy it on the strenght of the trailer but it seems to be very different from what I was expecting.

It looks okay, I think, but I was expecting something with tension and/or emotional investment which this game lacks.