Greetings my loyal readers and strangers of the internet. Who like reading page long reviews about games formed on the opinion of a single, self-righteous person? Don’t pretend, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this. LET’S JUMP IN!
The open beta for “Dead Island Epidemic” was something that caught my eye instantly. A famous franchise FPS zombie survival franchise making an RTS and then publishing an open beta? “Shut up and take my money!” I uttered, just prior to remembering that the game is free. I installed it quickly as soon as I found it and quickly made my way through the tutorial and began the gameplay. Does it live up to expectations? Let’s find out.
Dead Island Epidemic currently has 24 characters, all of which have very different skills and play differently. Or so I hear. Unfortunately, you can only unlock 1-4 of the starting character for free. All of the other 23 characters cost “character points” which are earned through both game modes. This being said, of my 11 hours (and counting), I’ve only unlocked 3 characters. This makes the game addictive but it is irritating that you’re not given the opportunity to test out other characters. I believe that perhaps it is a bit excessive for it to take hours to unlock even starting characters. Counting the “character points” I’ve earned, it would take me 9 hours to unlock all four of the starting characters. Which are the cheapest of all of them by far! I honestly think the system would be fairer if the player earned more points and the prices were increased for the more expensive. And furthermore, if it takes me 11 hours to unlock a mildly expensive character, let me trial them. Seriously, if there’s one thing missing from this game, it’s the ability to test character before you buy them. As a general rule, gamers don’t like wasting hours of their life (Or at least, not realising that they wasted hours of their life.) All of this being said, the character variation is fantastic. There’s something for everybody. Plenty of different variation of healers, initiators, carries, disablers, hunts, defenders and nukers that play differently and offer different experiences. Or so I hear.
The way the gameplay is structure in DIE (Holy crap, I just realised that’s an awesome acronym! Bonus points!!!) is based around a system of trials and reward. For both game modes, “Scavenger” (PVP) and “Crossroads” (PVE) after finding a match (During which, matchmaking varied from seconds to several minutes) you started playing. In “Crossroads”, the newer of the two game modes you and three teammates embark on three randomly generated quests which include missions where you protect your teammates, break down barricades, fight bosses, capture points, rescue survivors and even escort missions (Shudder). Personally, I believe that more missions would make crossroads a more in depth experiences. The better you do in the missions, the more rewards granted at the end of the match. Crossroads also contains varying difficulty levels which accommodates to both new and experienced players which results in even matchmaking so you rarely feel as though you’re a burden or the best player in the game. Personally, I think this is a great system, and it’s been done very well, limiting players to certain difficulties until the gather higher level equipment. Unfortunately, despite everything that the developers got right in Crossroads, they threw it all out the window in scavenger.
Just before we move on, I’d like to suggest that you allow people to compete in crossroads with varying number of players. Four is good, but I’d like to have larger and smaller parties. Just gonna throw that out there.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed crossroads, anybody who knows me can tell you I get bored quickly. It didn’t take long for me to get curious about the other game mode. That was a big mistake. Unlike crossroads, there is no different difficulty levels. No fair matchmaking. Literally nothing to prohibit a group of high level players with ridiculously overpowered weapons from being matched against a team of level 3 supports. And you know what? Yeah you do. You know what. You’re picking up what I’m throwing down. For you were blind, but now you see. The cat’s outta the bag now. You know what’s up, what’s going down. Everything’s clear to you now. There’s no need for me to say it. There’s legitimately no need for me to waste your time by telling you what happened when I team of level 3 supports joined a game with no appropriate matchmaking system. I’m not going to bother. Nope. I refuse. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about what happened to me and the degree in which my team was destroyed. Go on, guess. Take a whack at it. A quick stab in the dark. Go on, I’ll wait. I’ve got all day. Really! I review games for fun, you think I have something better to do. Just guess. You guessed yet? Good. If you guessed utterly, you are correct, and win my undying respect. Well done. Anyway, in scavenger, three teams of four compete for the four control points around the map. When captured, these nodes drop supplies. The team that has the most supplies at the end of the game, wins. Boss zombies occasionally spawn and they, too drop supplies. In addition, supplies can be stolen from the opposition before they get back to their base. Sounds pretty basic but that game was a lot of fun. Of course it would’ve been much more fun if the matchmaking had been F*CKING BALANCED! I may be taking this too far, but it seriously felt like I was charging a man with a rocket launcher equipped with a slingshot. The map was well designed and the game mode requires great teammates and good co-ordination and was a great experience, even though I couldn’t take 18 steps without being brutally murdered. As soon as Deepsilver and Stunlock get their sh*t together, It’s obvious this is going to be an excellent experience.
Whilst I enjoyed both of the game modes, I would like to see some other game modes to grant more variation. I would like to suggest
1. A survival mode, where teams fight waves of zombies to survive. The longer they live, the better the rewards.
2. A survival versus mode, where players on different maps try and survive. Clearing waves first gives the opportunity to screw with opposition.
3. Slaughter mode, in which players compete with other players to see who can get the most kills
Before I rap this stuff up, I’d like to make some suggestions. You know, because I’m a self-righteous ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ who thinks he’s always right. I’d love to see some more depth in the character building aspect of the game. I’d love a passive skill tree. How cool would that be?! If you’ve read my review of Path of Exile, you’d know I do some crazy ♥♥♥♥ for a passive skill tree (Seriously, you can’t even fit that ♥♥♥♥ing thing on screen no matter how far you zoom out! It’s F*CKEN AMAZING!) I believe that adding a passive skill tree would give players more rewards for levelling up. Currently, as you’re profile progresses, the abilities your character uses get cool passive abilities but it’s not enough. It’s never enough. SATISFY ME, DAMN IT! I’m also not a huge fan of the current weapon system. Finding blueprints after completing a mission is satisfying and I the crafting system, but I believe that you should be able to find blueprints of varying levels, not just the one directly above yours. If you have a level 6 weapon equipped, you MUST craft a level 7 item before you can find level 8 blueprints.
(The rest of this review is in the comments, it's just too damn long)