Dead Island Epidemic Takes the Series in a New, Yet, Broken Direction
Ah, Dead Island, the zombie game series we all try so hard to love but just can't. Sure, there's a lot of decent gameplay to be had with the different games starting with the very first one, but mostly it has all been the same run-of-the-mill FPS thing. With Epidemic, the game takes players on a team-based, twin-stick, smash everything action that seems to be quite fun at first sight. Sadly, the game is bogged down by unoriginal combat mechanics, and very repetitive gameplay. Continue Reading
Release Date: 20th November 2014
Available on: Windows, PC Download
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The visuals in this game are a lot more cartoonish and off-proportioned, unlike the hyper-realistic approach that the main Dead Island series is trying to achieve. While this is a welcome change (and the game ends up not trying too hard from a visual standpoint), it also makes the entire series feel as if it cannot decide what direction it truly wants to take.
There are plenty of times when the user interface looks like a mobile game app, which is probably the look that the developers were trying to achieve. Thankfully, using skills is mapped to hotkeys since the GUI during combat is not exactly the most intuitive in terms of layout, and reading the information that all the pop-up menus provide tends to pull attention away from where the action is.
Epidemic's storyline is unveiled in a series of well-made voice-overs in narrative and dialogue sequences, which brings the much of the characters the backstory into life. While the music is nothing too grand or epic, it manages to keep with the overall pace and theme of the game.
Gameplay: Run and Gun
The twin-stick shooting game mechanic is pretty effective for zombie themed games – but it is also one of the most redundant. After getting past the semi-mandatory tutorial sequences (there is a whole single player side-quest; which is a little too long for our tastes), players hop unto a world where you can already predict the kind of action you will get: run around and shoot anything.
The battles are made a little more fun and interesting with the unique zombie types, randomized items, and the special abilities. But after a few runs, it still gets pretty old and unfulfilling. And it feels lot more like a dungeon crawling title instead of a zombie game with the heavy emphasis on making your characters so much stronger and putting little to no attention to the whole survival aspect.
One shining ray of hope that this game has is the fact that it promises a lot more content and character diversity. The default 4 characters already offer a variety of ways to play and being able to expand that will be quite and encouraging way to get players to spend more time in the game. Also, if you have a good team of players to do runs with, it becomes easy to lose hours playing this game as dealing with huge mobs becomes a smoother and faster process instead of the sluggish pace you would get doing uncoordinated runs with random players.
The Verdict: Good for Passing Time
Adding Dead Island Epidemic to your Steam library is a pretty easy process considering that it is a free-to-play title with a relatively small installation size (compared to most games being released that is), so as for just trying it out, this is certainly worth the effort to do so. And if you can manage to get past the introductory tutorial, it would be easy to determine if the game's overall appeal is to your liking. Note this though: try this game out only if quick-action and shooting is the only thing you want. Otherwise, if you were expecting a visceral zombie-combat/survival experience, then this is not the game for you.
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Dead Island Epidemic is developed by Stunlock Studios.