Sunday, 18 September 2011

Dead Island (Digital Foundry - Face-Off)

First announced in 2006, it's taken some five years for Dead Island to arrive, and the end result is an ambitious, open-world first-person action title that borrows many elements from other games - most notably, Dead Rising, Borderlands and Left 4 Dead - while still trying to carve out an identity of its own.

The game is nothing like the memorable trailer; non-playable characters serve to give you quests rather than provide any emotional attachment, while most of the suspense is provided by chance encounters with respawning zombies rather than carefully directed scares. The focus throughout is one of co-operative play, with the missions and progression system tailored for this purpose. Up to four players can tackle the campaign, fending off the infected population while performing a range of standard-issue fetch quests, among other diversions. The overall feeling you get from the game is that Dead Island is an uneasy mix of game styles that's being marketed as an emotionally gripping horror romp on a lavish, sun-drenched island.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bodycount (Digital Foundry - Face-Off)

Conceived as the spiritual successor to Criterion's much-loved Black, Bodycount fails to make an impact on the battlefield, delivering an experience that feels rushed, unpolished and to a certain extent unfinished. It's a bitter blow for those hoping to get a current-generation taste of what made the Burnout makers' FPS so much fun to play. In that respect, the baton has been passed to EA stablemates DICE, and we can only hope that Battlefield 3 is the game that delivers.

But what about the multi-platform conversion aspect? Has Codemasters' new Guildford studio successfully provided a graphically solid experience on both formats? How well does the core technology hold up to handling a fast-paced shooter, where the rendering load can be particularly unpredictable?

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