Escape Dead Island: in search of the truth – review

Almost everything is known about the zombie apocalypse that hit the (fictional) archipelago of Banoi, the main theater of the Dead Island series. By now we know that behind that disaster there is the usual reckless government, the usual unscrupulous multinational, and the usual handful of soldiers unable to contain even the simple spread of an influence.

As Resident Evil has taught us on several occasions, however, there is always an untold story, a different point of view to discover and through which to tell another story. In this case, this point of view is that of a group of young boys who aspire to realize the scoop of the century by documenting the presence of zombies in the archipelago and finding evidence that formally blames the Geo-Pharm … practically a branch of the Umbrella Corporation .

Of course, as you may have already guessed, things are bad (damn bad!) And the three find themselves trapped in Narapela Island, which even to say it is teeming with zombies. The first and most obvious difference between Escape Dead Island and its predecessors concerns the game view, no longer subjective but in the third person.

The protagonist is a blond named Cliff, a surfer physique and a loose tongue, who aspires to become a popular photojournalist. After landing on the island, his first goal is to find a new boat to replace the sinker with which he and his two friends arrived in Narapela. Obviously the company will be anything but simple and will get more and more complicated when the three discover that they are not on a normal island.

If you have played the first two Dead Islands this face will be familiar to you. This is Xian Mei, one of the four original survivors.

Stop, my plot hints stop there to avoid spoiling you too much. Speaking of gameplay, Escape Dead Island is a classic third-person action with stealth elements inserted in the title in question to give the player a constant feeling of danger and precariousness.

Over the course of the game you get hold of firearms and melee weapons but Cliff is not a super soldier like Chris Redfield or a shrewd tough guy like Frank West, he doesn’t have a military arsenal or any kind of items to defend himself with. . Weapons are few and ammo is scarce, so moving around unnoticed is often the best choice.

For this purpose, the zombies you will meet (of various types, many of which are taken from the “bestiary” of the series) will have a “Metal Gear” exclamation point above their head, which will indicate how visible you are and how close you can get them to attempt a stealth elimination. Attract one and in a short time his friends will be on you too.

The problem is that although some pleasant and interesting moments are not lacking, Escape Dead Island it never gives the player the feeling of being in danger. There is not even a shiver down your spine and the terms “fear” or “horror” would never be misplaced this time in a game with a high zombie rate. Even the light-hearted style of the protagonists, their teen-slasher movie dialogues and the wink at Dead Rising contribute to bringing this title closer to a Goonies-style adventure than to a survival horror.

The ?? comic style ?? of the game is also found in the onomatopoeias that will appear on the screen when you hit something.

The reference to the Capcom title made earlier refers to the possibility during the game to take photographs that serve to document the disaster caused by Geo-Pharm. The biggest problem with this aspect of the gameplay is that once the camera is activated with the directional cross, the movements of the protagonist become deadly slow and to return to play at a decent speed it is necessary to put it away.

Now, since the protagonists of the game are aspiring photojournalists on the hunt for scoops, it would have been important to develop this aspect of the gameplay to the best. For how it has been implemented in the game, however, it is downright annoying.

From a technical point of view, the Swedish developers of the Fatshark team have created a game that makes strong colors one of its hallmarks. Shot colors and toon-shaded graphics could make the zombie-game purists turn up a bit but in the end the formula works … were it not for the fair amount of bugs and glitches found in the review phase.

On at least three occasions I was forced to load the last save because the protagonist was trapped in a chest or the game did not allow to break an essential obstacle to continue. On other occasions I have witnessed enemies appearing out of nowhere and at least once I am sure I have seen a zombie resurrect. Okay, zombies always resurrect … but this one had been torn apart and each of these pieces was moving on its own.

At the beginning of the game you don’t control Cliff but a mysterious ‘ninja’ looking for evidence in a Geo-Pharm headquarters.

Between ups and downs (both plot and gameplay) the end of the story arrives after about 6 hours, after which you have the usual New Game + mode available which, however, adds little or nothing to the experience, if not the possibility of starting over with the already upgraded paraphernalia. It must be said, however, that the game provides a fair amount of collectibles to find (including hidden documents, postcards and photographs to be taken) and that the search for them could greatly extend the basic longevity.

That said, one would expect that Escape Dead Island be distributed digitally at a price that does not exceed twenty euros … but no, it will be put on sale at a price of 39 euros.

Having played ad nauseam the two main chapters I was waiting with curiosity for this spin-off, which unfortunately turned out to be well below expectations. A real shame, with a little more effort it could have been much more interesting, exciting and useful to pass the wait in view of Dead Island 2.

Buy Escape Dead Island from Amazon