Dead Island: Epidemic is a new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena(MOBA) game that’s based on the universe of the popular cooperative first-person RPG franchise – Dead Island.Dead Island: Epidemic plays completely different as opposed to other MOBAs. The competitive game mode in Dead Island: Epidemic is called Scavenger. In Scavenger there are a total of three teams with four people in each. The main objective of the game is to capture supply points, kill enemy zombies and boss monsters to collect supplies and take them back to your vehicle/base.
Whichever team fills up their entire supply bar to full manages to escape and win the game. Scavenger mode is truly unique, because not only did you had to deal with two other enemy teams, but your team also had to worry about the zombies that roam the island. This kind of a twist hasn’t been done in a MOBA game before, so it’s nice to see developers try to mix things up.
Once the match ended you are rewarded with experience, and currency that allows you to boost weapons of your choice. You can also buy this experience with real money, however, that feature was unavailable in the closed beta and we were not able to test it. Another game mode that the closed beta provided was Horde Mode. The Horde Mode is self-explanatory for the most part. You’re put into a map and must go through it in a linear fashion with your team. You kill zombies and complete objectives on your way until you get the end boss. You will also be timed during the entirety of the match. The map has checkpoints that you reach by capturing flag points that activate a zombie attack. Once activated you must defeat a specific amount of waves, once all of the waves have been cleared your team is allowed to proceed further down the map.
At the end of the level you will face a zombie boss and the team has to play smart, quick and tactical if they want to defeat it in the fastest time possible. The faster you kill the zombie, the better medal your team will earn at the end of the match, the higher the medal the more rewards you will get for your account. Both modes were fun and it’s nice that the game offers both PvP competition and PvE in one package. If you enjoy PvE more than PvP then Horde Mode should be right up your alley.
There is also another version of Horde Mode called Heroic Horde Mode. Heroic Horde Mode is set at a higher difficulty level, has more zombies to fight and is harder to survive. If you have a team of talented friends and you feel like you want to be challenged, then this will be your best bet. Overall, both Scavanger and Horde modes were fun and unique in their own and it’s also nice that the game offers both style of play.
The closed beta provided three different character classes that each have unique abilities. The first class was a tank/dps melee hybrid who was able to heal his team, taunt zombies and deal damage. The Second class acted as a range damage dealer and had debuff capabilities whereas the third one had support abilities and was able to heal the entire party.
One thing that’s different with characters in Dead Island: Epidemic compared to other MOBA games is that they don’t use mana to activate their skills. Instead, the skills are cooldown based and majority of them are skill-shots. For example, the melee character Berg can use his healing shout skill that heals nearby allies if they’re in the range of the healing circle/skill trajectory.
The combat itself is also different compared to other games in the genre. You’re left mouse click acts as a normal auto-attack that generates fury and you’re right click consumes the generated fury to deal more damage. What you can do is, fight a couple of zombies to generate rage, run up to an enemy player and finish him of with a strong attack. It’s a good mechanic and makes the combat a little bit more in-depth. Players can also press Spacebar to do a quick roll forward to dodge abilities and zombie attacks. You cannot spam you’re dodge roll, you can only use it once the cooldown goes away after a few seconds.
Every character is also able to use melee/range weapons and can switch between the two on the fly. Dead Island: Epidemic is quite unique when it comes to arsenal selection. Players can craft their own weapons by using materials that they gain as a reward after a match ends and use them on the workbench in the main menu. They’re also able to level them up and make them stronger by earning experience and boosting them with another currency if they wish for quicker leveling. There are all kinds of wacky weapons in Dead Island: Epidemic such as barbed boxing gloves, driller mittens, meat hooks and many more.
The art in the game is a-lot more cartoony as opposed to the original Dead Island games, but the developers still managed to keep its essence despite making it more of a colorful and vivid game. Just by looking at the character designs and weapons you can easily tell the game has a distinct art-look to it that makes it stand out. I was also pleasantly surprised at how well the game performed during the closed beta stage. I didn’t encounter any weird graphical glitches/bugs or crashes at all during my experience.
The soundtrack in Dead Island: Epidemic is fantastic. Sometimes I just felt like sitting in the main menu just to listen to it. The game has an interesting mix of music that makes you feel like you’re on the beach just relaxing. It would change up and pump adrenaline into your blood during a team-fight or zombie killing. It’s hard to describe the style of the music in Dead Island: Epidemic, so it’s one of those things that just needs to be heard on your own to understand.
Overall, Dead Island: Epidemic closed beta was a good surprise for me. I honestly didn’t think the game was going to be impressive in any shape or form. The game has high-quality production values, especially for a free-to-play game. However, my biggest concern is how the micro-transaction systems will pan out at release. As of right now the game looks and feels promising but we will only be able deliver our final verdict once the game launches globally later this year.