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Gaming Reviews: Dead Island, Resistance 3, and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine


Shortly before the local tourist board fired their entire marketing department.


Dead Island (Xbox, PS3, PC)
Price: $59.99

What’s it about?
Zombies on an island, plain and simple. The first-person zombie slamfest made a big splash a few months back when its trailer hit the Internets, raising the eyebrows and expectations of zombie fan boys across the nation. Taking on the role of four playable characters, each affected by a Zombie outbreak on an island paradise in their own way, you’ll stomp the brain-feeders, save the survivors and escape the island. Dead Island blends first-person mayhem with elements of an RPG the way our favorite margarita place works wonders with crushed ice and tequila (and results in similarly blood-soaked carnage).

How does it look?
The island paradise-turned-zombie playground is an impressive setting for an adventure that we haven’t yet seen in the zombie genre. Outstanding cut scenes aside, though, few moments in the game conjure the emotion that set the world ablaze with praise just a few months back. Characters are rather one-dimensional, even if you can easily relate to a has-been gangster rapper or a whiskey-soaked lush (we can relate on both counts: Our rhymes always sound fucking badass when we’re drunk on Jack).

Is it any good?
We’re big fans of the way Dead Island melds Fallout-esque RPG elements with Dead Rising’s grab and stab hellzapoppin mania, but the appeal fades when the zombie killing becomes a repetition of boot, cut, kill. This might have been avoided if Insomniac Games hadn’t gotten lazy about Zombie behavior, forcing the gamer to take different approaches in their slaying.

Out of ten?
5. Fans of killing zombies will undoubtedly want to pick up a game entirely devoted to their favorite pastime and we wouldn’t blame them, but anyone who’s been spoiled by the increasingly clever and consistently awesome Zombie levels of COD Black Ops will definitely feel a pang of disappointment with Dead Island.

If I like this, what else will I like?
COD Black Ops: Rezurrection Map Pack, Dead Rising 2, preparing for a zomb-pacolypse

 


We knew that sneaky French Lady Liberty had been creeping up on us. We knew it!


Resistance 3 (PS3)
Price: $59.99

What’s it about?
Set four years after the last game, 90% of Earth’s population has been wiped away by the Chimera and our hero, dishonorably discharged sentinel Joseph Capelli, is approached by franchise veteran Dr. Malikov to journey back to New York City from his hideout in Oklahoma and assist Malikov in destroying the Chimera virus, setting the world right again.

How does it look?
Beyond outstanding graphics, Resistance 3 captures the mood of a dwindling human population, a species on the verge of extinction with little hope for a happy tomorrow. Levels are somber and you’ll scarcely find humans to interact with (especially since multiplayer has dropped from a whopping 60 players in Resistance 2 to a mere 16 this time around). As you twist and turn through the many landscapes of the game, you’ll have the impending feeling that the end is nigh...and you wouldn’t be wrong.

Is it any good?
Controls are tight, enemies are plentiful and the story is fleshed out in a way that never feels forced. Contrary to so many games in the FPS genre, the story actually helps move the gameplay forward, lending real momentum to Capelli’s quest across half the country. The one downside was the PSMove implementation: We’ve come to expect good things from using Sony’s Sharpshooter peripheral, and this is the first time we were disappointed with lag and general unresponsiveness, a glaring problem for the otherwise tight and satisfying gameplay.

Out of ten?
8.5. Gamers will not be disappointed with Insomniac Games’ last stand: It throws down with some epic battles and wraps up the story that began when the PS3 was first introduced.

If I like this, what else will I like? 
Killzone 3, SOCOM 4, readily available vaccines.

 


It’s comforting to know that, in a violent, war-torn future, at least flares come back into style.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Xbox, PS3, PC)
Price: $59.99

What’s it about?
Ripped from the backroom tabletops of Games Workshops across the nation, Warhammer 40K has made the jump from sci-fi fantasy dice-rolling to your home console. The game borrows on the mythology of its meatspace counterpart for a storyline but, more importantly, feels like a Halo/Gears of War hybrid that pits Space Marines against Orcs and all the other minions that the Force of Chaos can summon.

How does it look?
Not as good as your hand-painted models, but that’s only because you didn’t spend caffeine-fueled nights making them yourself. The Warhammer universe really comes alive in Space Marines and it looks terrific: The marines are hulking, the enemies are ugly and the landscapes are sweeping masses of warships and spiraling galaxies. The game does expect you to know what’s going on before picking up the game - not a problem for long-time fans, who won’t skip a beat over the lack of introduction - but there’s a solid game to be found here, even for gamers who think that Warhammers and sci-fi don’t mix.

Is it any good?
We initially saw Warhammer 40K as a niche game, meant to tempt the most devout larper away from his fantasy and into a Best Buy. How wrong we were! Gameplay weaves running, gunning and cutting into a seamless fusion of carnage as you and your squad rip apart baddies and bosses alike. Apparently, Space Marines don’t bother with cover because there’s absolutely none to take anywhere in the game. Still, it’s not a huge problem when you’re armored to the teeth and your arsenal of weapons can arm a small country.

Out of ten?
8. Borrowing from the likes of Halo (you call them Space Marines, we call them Spartans, potato, potahto) and Gears of War felt like a rip-off at first, but when you realize that Warhammer was originally created in 1987 - when most of you were still in short pants and the Xbox was just a twinkle in Bill Gate’s beady eye - the game gets a lot more enjoyable.

If I like this, what else will I like?
Halo, Gears of War, rolling sixes like it’s your job