By Nathan Grayson on September 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am.
Once upon a time, Techland made everyone cry. Then it made some people cry again when it, er, didn’t make them cry again with Dead Island: The Game Based On The Hit Original Trailer. The final product was still pretty fun (if very rough-around-the-edges), mind you, but its over-the-top blend of Borderlands and zombies didn’t exactly scratch the itch people were expecting it to. Fast forward (and maybe also reverse and slow-mo) to now: Techland’s attempting to court attention again with a new sadvertisement for sequel Dead Island: Riptide. But – in this post-Day-Z-and-Walking-Dead world of ours – does it succeed?
In short, not really. I wouldn’t even blame the aforementioned zombo-drama standard-bearers, either. This CG spot’s just, uh, not really very great. The original easily blows it out of the water – especially in terms of clever gimmickery. But even then, that’s also not really the issue. I mean, anything can produce emotion if done well, right? And honestly, I like the idea of a brief, intimate moment taking priority over normal game-y tropes like chaos, time travel, and bloodtalities.
Here, though, they make the mistake of putting tons of focus on what should be nuanced expressions from a soon-to-be-snacked-upon couple. Problem is, they’re actually creeptastic staring-eyed aliens from Planet Mannequin (also the name of my upcoming vaguely erotic pulp sci-fi series), so most of it falls flat. There’s one moment that might get you – and you’ll know it when you see it – but beyond that, this seems like a quick, uninspired attempt at saying, “Hey, remember that thing we did last time? Well look, we totally did it again!”
Oh well. If anything, I’m actually kind of happy this exists. It’s a nice “How far we’ve come” measurement marker for the industry. I mean, now we do have zombie games that provide something along these lines emotionally. And it didn’t even take us a year. So hooray for games! They’re pretty cool and stuff.