Dead Island - If you Can't Help Me, Just Die
Pop Matters has written an editorial on Dead Island. It goes into the mechanics, narrative and themes. Here is a snippet:
The context is where the explicit violence comes in. Zombies are brutal, unrelenting enemies, and the only way to deal with them is to be brutal and unrelenting in return. Cutting off their limbs is gory but this gore isn’t exploitative because it has a tactical purpose. We’re disarming them (pun intended), taking away their weapons. We commit acts of extreme violence because it’s the best way to survive in this world. In this way, Dead Island weds horror and survival in a way that most games don’t consider, as two things intrinsically linked. To survive in the resort, we commit the very acts of horror that leave those disturbing blood trails across the world. There’s a cyclical nature to it, allowing us to be horrified by our own violent acts of survival. But if that’s what it takes, “so be it”, says Dead Island.
The game is at its best when it strikes a perfect and precarious balance between violence and support, offering up zombies and health packs in equal measure. It fails when some aspect goes out of balance, like in the city of Moresby, in which there are far more zombies than health items. Here, it can feel like the game is ganging up on you and your death is unfair. Thankfully, Moresby is the outlier in Dead Island. In the rest of the game, death feels fair, as long as you’re willing to abandon friends for your own survival that is. Despite its co-op mode, Dead Island pits you, and only you, against the world. Now that’s survival-horror at its finest.
Information aboutDead Island
SP/MP: Single + MP
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3