Dead Island Single-Player Preview

We experience life on a doomed island.

After all the hype surrounding it earlier this year, Techland's zombie survival game Dead Island is fast approaching its planned September release. We had the opportunity to sample its multiplayer components back at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but now we've spent some time with the game's single-player storyline and got to experience what it's like to deal with the zombie apocalypse surrounded by a group of sissies. For starters, though there are four different characters you can choose from, the initial story is the same regardless of which one you choose. You'll begin with a prologue, which gets you familiar with the basic controls and movement and puts you in a brief combat situation.

Blade weapons are very important early on

Combat is heavily focused on melee attacks. Available weapons are not easy to find, and keeping them functional can be quite a task. Wooden items break relatively quickly, while metal weapons, such as knives and wrenches, become less effective after some use. The game promises the ability to use firearms, but in the first hour of playing, the opportunity to use one was not available.

Most items can be repaired and upgraded with the right amount of money. Early on, the cost of improving smaller items doesn't break the bank, and in most cases, you can fully upgrade thanks to the fact that cash is very easy to find. Unfortunately, the first portion of the game doesn't give you the opportunity to create new weapons, so that aspect of the weaponry was not experienced.

There also wasn't much of a difference between the four characters in regard to their abilities. The one specializing in firearms didn't even have the opportunity to get hold of one. Also, these characters, including the football player, lose their stamina very quickly in the beginning. As you progress and level up, they do improve, but early on, you will have more luck in "hit-and-running" rather than attacking head-on.

After completing the brief prologue and meeting the first group of non-player characters, your initial task is recovering an ID card that opens up the lifeguard station. Once there, you'll face off against some zombies, and once the area is secure, it becomes your early base of operation. For an open-world game, the opening sections are extremely restrictive; the first missions are limited, but thankfully quite short in length. Once you do secure the location, multiple mission types become available, and the island becomes yours to discover.

Even with the limitations for this preview, there is a lot available to discover. Missions themselves are what you'd expect: recover items, find people, and defeat as many zombies as possible. You can accept all missions or just follow the core storyline and progress that way. Considering there is a very robust leveling system in place, the best course of action is to take on as many missions as possible.

Vehicles are also available if you can find one in drivable condition. You can either complete an early mission that makes one available to you, or you can search for one on your own. With this early look, the driving wasn't that enjoyable and took a bit of time to get used to. Thankfully, though, the car can take quite a beating; even when we launched one off a cliff, it was still very drivable.

Stomping Zombies can be quite satisfying

We played with each character for an hour, and it seems that Dead Island will be much more appealing to play with a group of people rather than on your own. Early cutscenes show the four together, but when you're playing solo, the three other characters don't fight alongside you. Also, since there is no evidence of there being any differences in the story, you may be more inclined to play through a single story rather than seeing four potentially different tales. Hopefully as the in-game story progresses, more individuality is introduced to each, especially since each character seems to have a reason for being on the island. Dead Island is scheduled for release in September, so we will just have to wait to learn more.

Written By

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

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Discussion

183 comments
BoneyHead95
BoneyHead95

@megadjdj Well I've had the xbox 360 over two years and Left 4 Dead where my Fav games to play. I show you some videos of my playing it if you like. :D

coolio0103
coolio0103

aroman010 So you a COD Gay Go find yourself a AK 47 and put it to your ass.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@WIGASInDaHouse: you can edit your own comments, so you don't have to repost a correction. And I believe it's like Fallout 3 or GTA games (although I seriously hate comparing games when ever i can avoid it). You just keep going from mission to mission in an open world.

WIGASInDaHouse
WIGASInDaHouse

hopefully its not a chapter based game i want it to be like dead island where u can just keep playing the story and keep leveling up

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

As long as I can stop at the tiki bar and grab a mojito after a zombie fight...I'll be happy. :)

mothboy
mothboy

the video preview looks good

Jamesey11
Jamesey11

looks like trash thus far in my opinion. Though i shouldn't judge until i play it myself. I presume it will get mediocre reviews from what has been shown though.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@uk_friday how did Left 4 Dead bomb? Theres still a huge active community on the first one... By far one of the best zombie games on any console to date.

aroman010
aroman010

It never amazes me how people read these previews and immediately jump to conclusions. A) Stating zombie games are unoriginal and creators have run out of ideas is an opinion. If people wanted to hear your opinion you'd be getting payed.for it. If it wasn't for freedom of speech, no one would listen to you with THAT attitude. If you got an idea, do something with it. B) The job of a critic is to look at a game in an analytical way, not in a "Oh my god this game is going to be amazing!" kind of way. If he did that during a demo, and everyone ran out and purchased it based on the demo when the completed game ended up falling a part, the site would ose credibility. The job during previews is to confirm what the game looks like so far. He stated everything worked well so far and that there were many things missing. This is to be expected from a Demo. and C) Left 4 Dead in no way flopped. It is still one of the most popular online titles played on PC and XBox (Check Steams Numbers) and it re-invented The Online Campaign Co-op Mechanic. Once again, just because you don't like something doesn't make your opinion correct. Just your opinion. I plan on buying Dead Island because I like what I see so far. If it gets bad reviews from multiple sources before I pick it up, I'll cancel my pre-order. But if it gets 8 or higher then its getting added to my collection. Not every game can be Call of Duty Trolls.

ermmtimmy
ermmtimmy

how original another zombie game....games creators have no ideas these days, they just dibble out the same sh*t .but at least this isn't a 2,3,4 ect of a first game cause nower days everything is just a prequel to other games

megadjdj
megadjdj

@BoneyHead95 people are entitled to their own opinion. You have not spent over 3000 hours on left for dead that would mean you have spent 125 days of your life playing it... i would love some proof if you still think this is true. I am not over exited about this game but i will still buy it to check it out :)

BovineDivine
BovineDivine

Is it just me or does the guy writing the article sound like he hated the game before he sat down to demo it?

YouVandal3
YouVandal3

@skeleme i hear ya man, Im glad im not the only one who enjoyed Metro 2033.... god i love that game.

ofiki100
ofiki100

looks very similar to borderlands

Crazyplayer042
Crazyplayer042

Left 4 Dead did not bomb in any way. This, however...while it looked promising, even the one who wrote the article didn't seem to be having much fun.

Aliensexual
Aliensexual

Looks interesting. I wish there was more time to play all these amazing games coming out.. I've already pre ordered Rage, Deus Ex HR and the CE of Skyrim... I suppose I'll have to get this too. I'm going to wait for reviews first though, this one seems like it will either be a huge hit or a dismal failure.

BoneyHead95
BoneyHead95

Why are you piss off with this game. If you don't like it then go away back to your Cod games. I want this game because I've played more then 3000 hours on both Left 4 Dead and there too many noobs. It make a change to get this game. (This game nothing like L4D so don't say it) @defan88 Yes it's going to be a B-movie. But is that the point of it?

DuTCHy-Allen
DuTCHy-Allen

@dralutfi i was about to say the same thing. After watchng the preview video is seems very repetitive

the_great_hauk
the_great_hauk

oh i like the fact that the other characters dont run around in single player

dralutfi
dralutfi

look nice but this for sure what they have to do as advertising and from the other side i feel it's gonna be long and boring game. hope am wrong.

pcxcado
pcxcado

@Mickleohb sad to say it mate but I am pretty sure Doomandcow was taking the piss?

smoman5000
smoman5000

I like how the game is coming along but im still iffy on buying it. I'm playing it one way or another, thats for sure.

Mickleohb
Mickleohb

@doomandcow I think I read somewhere that it takes place around Samoa and New Zealand, but I could be mistaken.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

I was kind of excited about this game at first, but the more I read about it the more I feel like it's just trying to mash together concepts from other games instead of being the gritty "realistic" zombie survival game we'd all hoped for back when it was announced.

Metropolis3003
Metropolis3003

the violence isnt realistic enough. reminds me of an rpg where your slashes cause damage instead of cutting enemies to pieces

doomandcow
doomandcow

i saw this on the news...does this game take place in norway?

spartan2777
spartan2777

agreed skeleme, but there are many others, Forza 4, Halo CE anniversary, Gears 3, Rage and Skyrim (especially these two) and others i cant even remember

skeleme
skeleme

Damn... This is gonna be one hell of a year! We got Far Cry 3, MW3, Battlefield 3, Dead Island, Another Metro Game... Wow... Just wow... This is one great year for gaming.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

Why need money to buy/upgrade new weapons?? Money won't do any good when you're running for you life against zombies.

shadowmike75
shadowmike75

I honestly wasn't too excited about this release before but then I played the demo at Comic Con. Even though it was only 5 minutes it was really damn fun. Got me really excited for this game.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

LOL @ people saying L4D was agood SINGLE player game. It was terrible, bots are r.e.t.a.r.d.e.d, and it was obviously made for co-op and versus. I feel pity for people who actually spent time playing it single player. Dead Island looks like a cool Borderlands-L4D hybrid. Can't wait to see if it turns out good.

redyelloweye
redyelloweye

Borderlands+Left 4 dead 2 + Dead rising 2 = Dead island = Sexy

masterdude192
masterdude192

I'm pretty excited about this. Not sure if its going to be a better L4D but it sure as hell will keep me busy for a few hours.

paranoied624
paranoied624

so apparently throwing things at propane tanks causes them to assplode

paranoied624
paranoied624

so apparently throwing things at propane tanks causes them to assplode

UFO2012
UFO2012

Borderlands + Left 4 Dead = Dead Island = Awesome!

jay112k3
jay112k3

i dont know about anyone else, but im pretty excited about this game

Code135
Code135

@Majkic666 From that point of view yes ... And as an example for a bad ported and developped game - Dungeon Siege 3 ... PC franchise gone console ... result - massive booing from the PC community for s***** controls and gameplay expirience and a "WTF ?!" reaction from the console community ... the gaming industry is slowly degenerating ... with some exceptions of course :P

tdl346
tdl346

at nyran125 i disagree a bit with you, its thru playing coop with strangers can be bad but, when playing coop with a friend its total different you play it chill and also enjoy the game

nyran125
nyran125

left 4 dead 1 and 2 was actually really good single player. You got to play the game the way YOU wanted to play it. No hiding in corners , no hiding underneath pipes. Sometimes playing single player presented more interesting strategys than multiplayer i found. You could try heaps of different ways of playing it out. Online most poeple just wanted to hide ot in a bathroom next to a door or camp under a pipe. I found single player to be even more intens sometimes. The bots wont do that so you have to try and find the best place possible to defend yourself that will help them and you. If gaming ever goes multiplayer only in the next 5 years. ill stop gaming forever. Or at least stop playing new titles. Even Borderlands was actually fun to experience by yourself. You got a chance to ACTUALLY play the game. Instead of rushing around non stop shooting sht , like you and eveyrone your playing with is on speed. I found playing co-op with otheres they just wanted to rush rush rush, steal as much sht as possible and never really read any of the actual missions. When you play single player you get to enjoy and see the world itself and enjoy the atmosphere of it and play it at YOUR pace. Whatever that might be. I recommend trying out games that are meant to be co-op, try them by yourself too, its an entirely different experience. Sometimes an even more enjoyable one.

Whitebloodsun
Whitebloodsun

i dont like playing with people...it distract me (i dont like people commenting how bad i play)...so if it more appealling to play with a group of people...then.......sigh....but...im a BIG fun of zombie game...so no matter what the review...i still but it...

popeyfolger
popeyfolger

I want this game. but i'm going to play a demo or try it out first too many good games are on their way