Dead Island immediately draws you in, from the opening cinematic you’re the guy (or girl). It’s all first person, boozing and abusing, falling down drunk and groping… finally passing out in your room… amongst some odd attacks and blood splattering around you. When you finally wake you’re in your room, but everything outside is in shambles.

At first I thought there was a little too much collecting – suitcases all over have a couple bucks here and there, alchohol, med packs, and random bits of seemingly useful objects (rubber hosing, glue) are scattered all around. It’s fairly easy to collect, but it gets tedious when it’s an entire rack and you have to open each thing and then collect whatever might be inside. You follow the prompts and eventually get to the point that you meet up with the other survivors.

My initial impressions were that the graphics were ok, nothing super stunning. It appears as they’re capable of 2560×1600 but certainly not optimized for them. The high quality textures still appear somewhat flat, but once I got outside I could see that is where they were primarily focused. Overall they’re good, not great. I assume they were very console-centric. The cutscenes look phenominal but in normal gameplay the people look more blocky then usual and thusly the zombies. I was reminded of the Sega days where the people looked ok but not quite right. At least these character models look like they bend in the right places. So far I haven’t seen much variation in the character models, which is unfortunate given that it’s all about characters before and after they’re zombies. You see the same chick in a bikini and guy in swimtrunks over and over. There’s a fat one here and there thrown in, but overall it’s the same characters so far.

The weapons and inventory system is great, and I love the combat mode and I have yet to learn how to change weapons. It’s very RPG in the way that you can upgrade skills, and weapons have stats, more strength, durability, or attack power, and they get damaged with use. The story is also very quest like, you have a place you need to go to do something, collect something, or check, and then you need to make it back.

I’ve only gotten through the first initial one, but I can see the story already starting to play out. I love the game itself, but things like the shadows throw me off. The technology available goes above and beyond what they’re using. They could be doing much better lighting and taking advantage of advanced tessellation, mapping, and physx. The graphics are very console and I have no problems running it at max mainly due to the level of detail, but that leads to the need for vsynch which is not in the options, nor is AntiAliasing, which is seriously needed but maybe they’ll improve some of that with additional updates.

More to come with additional play time…

Added Video:

Here are some screenshots of the beginning of the game. It’s not very apparent in the smaller pics but click on them to get the full size and you’ll see the need for AntiAliasing in the hands, and other objects throughout.

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