A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Escape Dead Island is a violent, gory adventure game that's part of the Dead Island franchise. From a third-person perspective, the player kills many zombies, using a number of ranged and melee weapons, including guns, swords, knives, and more. Enemies, who are zombies but often resemble humans, scream out in pain when killed, and blood splatters the ground. The game also contains frequent, strong profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t." Players may be frustrated by the game's lack of save points, which could force backtracking through previously cleared areas if your hero dies.
What's it about?
In ESCAPE DEAD ISLAND, a side story to 2011's Dead Island, you play as Cliff Calo, a wannabe documentary maker determined to unravel the mystery of the zombie outbreak on a fictional island. Unlike previous protagonists in this series, including 2013's Dead Island: Riptide, Cliff isn't immune to the zombie virus, making him more vulnerable to the flesh-eating undead swarming around the isle of Narapela. From a third-person perspective, you'll navigate the island, acquire new weapons and other tools to stay alive, snap photos for clues, and inch toward uncovering the reason for the outbreak. This single-player game features multiple zombie types, different kinds of gameplay (action, stealth, exploration, and some puzzle-solving), and multiple paths.
Is it any good?
Escape Dead Island looks better than it plays. Unfortunately, the comic book-like graphics (including some awesome cut-scene sequences) and the variety of indoor and outdoor environments aren't enough to save it. The game suffers from repetitive gameplay, technical bugs, and other issues, including linearity. Despite the fact that the world looks huge and free to roam in, a lot of "invisible walls" restrict your progress.
In all fairness, the action can be fun at times, such as when you open fire on enemies or create a makeshift weapon, and the stealthy elements are often intense. But after a few minutes of play, you can't help but feel like there's something missing. Speaking of missing, there's no multiplayer here. It's too bad the game disappoints, because the first Dead Island was very enjoyable. Overall, Escape Dead Island is only a so-so sequel for zombie fans and action gamers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Is the violence in Escape Dead Island less objectionable because of its comic book/graphic novel-style graphics, or is it no different from the violence in photo-realistic action games like the Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed series?
Discuss the game's horror elements. Why do you think zombies are so popular in games, movies, and TV shows? What is it about these monsters that's both repulsive and appealing?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Deep Silver
- Release date: November 19, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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