If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Greetings true believers! It's good to be back! Where was I? Well, I can't really tell you that, it's a secret. I mean, I could tell you, but I'd probably have to kill you. What do you think Professor Dog? He's nodding. So anyway, I'm back and let's talk about zambies! You know now that I think about it, you guys probably know too much already. Sorry about this, but I'm going to need the internet to come to my house and line up so I can, um, erase your memories. Now where did I leave that chunk of rebar?
It's a little known fact that 75% of all zombie outbreaks occur at lush island resorts.
Ahhh, zombie games... just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. Anyone who's listened to our podcasts knows that I'm not a huge fan of the undead. As a kid, the only movie monster that scared me were zombies. As an adult I've seen the concept go from fun and original to trite, cliche, and overused in almost no time. It's one thing to put the shambling dead in your game as a little one off treat for players, but when you keep on making the same thing over and over and adding zombies it gets old reaaaal fast. Hell, I haven't even played RDR Undead Nightmare yet. It's not that I don't believe everyone who tells me that it's awesome, it's just zombie burnout.
So it's surprising how much I'm looking forward to Dead Island. When the first trailer came out, it was well made, but didn't show any actual gameplay. The fear was that anyone can hire a third party to make an awesome trailer, but it was a real possibility that the game was going to be utterly terrible. However, as more and more footage has seeped out onto the interwebs, what we're seeing seems to have the potential to blow our socks clean off. Between the MMO-esque mission structure and the incredibly satisfying melee combat, the potential was always there for a good title. But the apparent level of story and characterization shown in this new trailer could really push this title over the edge into something special.
People tend to forget that the best part about undead is not how much cherry syrup you can squeeze out of them, but their effect on the survivors trapped in the zombie apocalypse. Night of the Living Dead wasn't ABOUT zombies, it was about what happens to people in an extraordinary and frightening situation. Recently we've seen several titles that just use the undead as an enemy that the player can mercilessly murder for hours on end without any philosophical, cultural, or spiritual repercussions. That's just lazy. If you want to make a game where people kill babies by the hundreds with a speargun, balls up and do it. Don't hide behind the rotting grimaces of the recently un-deceased.
One of the most tense moments I can remember in these last few years of gaming is a level out of Resident Evil 4 where Leon and company are trapped in a house with Los Ganados trying to burst in from all sides. You start by barricading the doors and windows and then slowly retreat as the zombies eventually overwhelm your makeshift defenses and burst in. It was a tense, scary little set piece with more emotional impact than any amount of Nazi Zombie cannon fodder could ever hope to elicit. But what do you guys think? Are you sick of zombies? Do you crave more of the undead to rampantly destroy? Are you having trouble finding my house, because I found the rebar... I mean memory destabilizer.
More Hawken! That's smart.