Monday, November 14, 2011

The Undead are All Around

In the beginning, the film Night of the Living Dead inspired the Resident Evil zombie game series. Afterwards, the film remake Dawn of the Dead, became the inspiration for the game Dead Rising. Then came out the game Left 4 Dead, which in turn seemingly inspired the movie Zombieland. After Left 4 Dead II hit the shelves, it is that we encounter Dead Island, which is, in a way, the sum of all sources mentioned, and apparently many more.

Though not an action RPG per se, but rather an action game in which the characters level up and combine weapons, Dead Island offers visual thrills not witnessed since Far Cry II, as well as an open ended, sandbox approach, which has already become commonplace in this gaming generation.

Here, the big primitive attraction is disposing of piles of bodies, or "pulling a GTA," which is something the author took a moment to enjoy even in Deus Ex: HR. While there is a linearity to the missions, somehow the great character models, physics and locale make them far more compelling.

The art department really shines, with an intro movie that reminds of the video to The Prodigy's Smack My B*tch Up, and perhaps not incidentally is backed by a hip-hop song entitled, Who Do You Voodoo, B*tch.

As in Dawn of the Dead, where the zombies cluster together at a quintessential american mall, the zombie horde remains, to this day, a very clever mirror of society. Zombies not only want to slow you down, they want to eat your brain as well, so not only will you join them, but you will lose your ability to think (call it forced socialization).

The implications of consumerism are timid if we pay attention to the greater picture; that deep inside us lies a dangerous mammalian primate, which has been embellished by years of evolution, yet still operates in the deep recesses of our mind, perhaps guiding our most important decisions.