So you're on vacation, trying to get away from your hectic life back home and have some fun time with your family, when all of a sudden zombies show up. Don't you hate it when that happens?Dead Island is a Wide Open Sandboxfirst-personsurvival horror game by Techland, makers of the Call of Juarez series, with action RPG elements (such as skill trees, random weapon drops, and heavy emphasis on 4-player co-op gameplay) very reminescent of Diablo or Borderlands. It is set at the Royal Palms Resort on Banoi, a (fictional) tropical island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. For reasons unknown (a mutated strain of Kuru is hinted), the dead have risen from the grave to consume the living, and the surviving tourists, staff and locals are fighting for survival. Melee combat is the name of the game; since you can't really expect to find that many guns in a luxurious beach resort, you have to make do with the assortment of close-range weapons that you have around you. This is reflected in the game's physics system, which places emphasis on detailed gore, including limbs that may be broken or chopped off and heavy damage that may gib.Originally, Techland had proposed and designed a much more realistic "layer" system that modeled skin, muscle, bone being independently modeled and deformed in real time. According to Techland, their testers barely noticed, so they went with a much less intensive prebaked damage model.The game was first announced way back in 2007, with a teaser debuting at GC 2007 and promising a release date the following year. Nothing was heard from the developers on the subject for years, until the release of a new trailer in early 2011, and... holycrap. From the very second of its release that trailer became a viral phenomenon, Dead Island went from a presumed-dead zombie game to the talk of the entire gaming world, even getting the attention of the non-gaming press in a way that few smaller games ever do. This despite the acknowledgement from Techland stating that trailer would not be indicative of actual tone or gameplay.Gamesradar.com did a sponsored movie/miniseries entitled Dead Island: Origins to advertise for the game on their website. A tropes page for the "film" can be found HERE.A single-player DLC campaign was released in February of 2012 starring Ryder White, and it sheds an entirely new light on the events of the main game.A sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, was released in April 2013. Techland has also trademarked the title Dead World. A tie-in short film "No Retreat" was also released. On August 7th, 2013, Deep Silver announced Dead Island: Epidemic, a MOBA with heavy emphasis on action and killing AI-controlled zombies. It is currently in the closed beta state and one can sign up for it here.The trailer for the next sequel Dead Island 2 premiered at E32014.
This game provides the following tropes:
Accidental Truth: Possible. Charon gets the survivors to side with him over Col. Ryder White when he claims that White was going to nuke Banoi to contain the outbreak. While White was never planning such an action, his superiors reportedly decided to in the sequel when it was clear Banoi was lost.
However, reports of Banoi being nuked were used by a character trying to back up his claim that the next island (Palanai) was also going to be nuked, a claim he later confirmed to be a lie. It is never established if he was also lying about Banoi's fate, though the survival of John Sinamoi (as seen in Dead Island: Epidemic) would indicate he was.
Actionized Sequel: The Ryder White DLC plays more like Left 4 Dead, due to a more powerful player character as well as the much more ready availability of ammo making a pure firearms run much more viable. It even has an AI Director, if you even think of thinking about pausing to search, loot corpses or stray from the path then the game will spawn a wave of Infected and several Suiciders.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: It's a mini-apocalypse, you've just saved a church and a small village from being overrun by zombies, and they still want to charge you absurd amounts for mundane items.
Some of the weapons dealers flat out say things like "I'll be rich by the time this blows over," so it could just be them alone trying to make a buck.
During the Church missions, Sinamoi radios to the player that there is an unseen 10-year old at the lifeguard tower who is delirious and possibly infected. Some of the survivors want to isolate and/or kill her. After a few more missions, the update is that she died.
Ryder White's campaign plays an even harder fear, especially for those that serve in the military. It's bad enough that your wife is caught in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, but what if you're ordered by a superior to eliminate her?
A.I. Breaker: Walkers and Infected can be easily overcome simply by jumping up on a car roof or something similar in height. Do this in the Quarantine Zone especially and the normally enraged Infected will get even angrier, with about thirty of them all screaming for your blood if they do not knock you off. Then it's just a matter of using the katana, baton, sledgehammer, throwing knife, firearm or explosive of choice.
All There in the Manual: Averted. Xian Mei's biography is completely different in-game, although it explains her facility with edged weaponry.
Also one of the rarer (and usually more powerful) bladed weapon varieties.
Anachronic Order: The trailer does this with the family's doomed fight against the zombies breaking into their hotel room, basically rewinding through the entire sequence.
Not quite, it goes backwards at some points, everything (chronologically)after the girl was "rescued" by her dad), and forwards at before he reaches her, and they meet in the middle.
And I Must Scream: The manual states that Suicider zombies still retain some awareness, but they are driven by a primal urge to explode near uninfected survivors. Particularly horrible considering what Suiciders look like.
When you get close to them, they say "Help me," or beg you to make the pain stop and end their suffering.
Anti-Frustration Feature: When you die, the game will often respawn you near where you died with temporary extra health. Although its averted if you died in a swarm of zombies and they haven't broken up enough yet.
If an escort dies, while you fail the quest, it lets you replay from the last checkpoint, which is often just a short distance from where they died, rather than repeating from the very beginning. Useful as some escort missions take a while to complete.
Apocalyptic Log: You can find tape recordings by Roger Howard/The Journalist scattered across the island, which detail the progression of the zombie outbreak. In the Ryder White campaign, a set of tape recordings made by a BIDF soldier and a set made by Emily White can be found.
Armor Is Useless: Averted. The Heroes don't get any armor, but some enemies (namely police and BIDF soldiers, as well as zombie versions of them) are wearing body armor, and it significantly reduces the damage they take. Enemies wearing helmets or facemasks also don't take extra damage from headshots.
Afran, the jungle warlord, has boss-level health and is wearing a full suit of body armor that gives him high damage resistance and also protects him from headshots.
He'll still die from a single grenade though, which the game conveniently leaves several of laying around the area where you fight him.
Artificial Stupidity: Occasionally you'll run into zombies who earlier, climbed walls and sprinted at full speed to get to you suddenly be unable to reach you over those small boxes or garbage container you're standing on. They'll also forget you're there, and start wandering off, allowing you time to either escape, or get an attack in from behind.
Aussies with Artillery: The BIDF are pretty much an Expy of Australian soldiers and they are behind the navy blockade and airbombing of Banoi and Palanai. Riptide gives us John Morgan, specifically identified as a Australian sergeant who had gone through SAS survival training.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Colonel Ryder White really shows this off in the Ryder White DLC campaign, seeing as how he manages to fight his way across the entire island, solo, without the Heroes' immunity to the virus.
Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the developer weapons fall under this. Their blueprints are hard to get (and some of the only Lost Forever items in the game), they will almost certainly be very weak compared to weapons you already have by the time you get them, they require multiple diamonds and a boatload of cash to produce and they're almost as expensive to maintain... but when you have a knife that can make enemy's heads pop like cherries and a shove that can send multiple enemies flying back, crackling with electricity, it almost seems worth it.
Badass Normal: Virtually every survivor who has fought zombies and remains uninfected. Remember: they're not immune to the virus like the four protagonists. One bite and they're done within a few hours. One character who stands out among the others is Roger Howard, the journalist for whom you can find recordings periodically. He manages to follow virtually the same path as the players, without their immunity, to within spitting distance of the final boss battle. By then, he had been bitten, and is found dead alongside the last recording.
John Sinamoi is a natural leader, saving your life and looking after the survivors, but he shows his mettle at the end of the prologue when he risks his own life fighting off zombies threatening the safehouse despite being outnumbered six to one and knowing a single bite would turn him. Bonus points for nonchalantly tossing a knife into a zombie's head at the end of the fight and greeting the heroes with a jaunty "Thanks, mates."
Batter Up: Baseball Bats are among the various weapons you can wield and can be modified to be on fire.
Beef Gate: Every. Single. Quest. There is always...always a mob of zombies or special infected barring you from food and water, the path to deliver it, the route back to the quest giver...
Body Horror: Pretty much all zombies, but especially the Suiciders, considering they're still somewhat self-aware.
Boom, Headshot: With the exception of boss characters, headshots will always kill Human enemies. Manually aiming at a Punk's head will save you a lot of ammo.
Bonus Boss: Jason Voorhees. He's fast (due to being a human rather than a zombie), is armed with a machete, does heavy damage, and has a massive amount of health (even more than a Giant Mook).
He's significantly Nerfed by the recent major patch, as he no longer does heavy damage and has less than half as much health as he used to.
Boring, but Practical: Your spring-loaded neck boot, or 'mighty foot.' The amount of damage it does is pretty low but it can't be interrupted, and it has a pretty decent knockback. You will use it a lot to make the most common opponents fall before killing them, saving your real weapons for truly dangerous monsters. You need to watch your stamina when using it though, or you really can leave yourself truly defenseless.
Since the mighty foot often makes enemies fall down, you can use another boring-but-practical move to finish them off - the head stomp. It's an insta-kill against any zombie with any amount of health - even special ones!
You might think machetes never get old, but after you've been playing as Xian Mei and using them for most of the game, you might think again.
Blunt weapons. May not have the range of guns, or the raw damage and dismembering capacity of blades, but blunt weapons are more durable, more common, cheaper to repair, and still deal decent damage, especially in Sam B's hands.
More importantly, Blunt Weapons have the Force attribute, which adds impact to their strikes (this determines the weapon's stopping power as well as how much damage an enemy will take if you knock him down with a swing, plus it determines how much stamina damage is done with each swing). Why is this important? If an enemy is floored, if you strike him with your weapon, the Force is converted to damage. Knock an enemy down, then swing at his head. The damage you do will be significantly higher.
Breakable Weapons: Melee weapons degrade when attacking enemies, requiring you to periodically find a workbench to maintain them. Broken weapons, while still usable, suffer severe stat penalties, making them weaker than your bare fists.
Weapons will also visibly degrade with each hit, though it has no effect on the weapon's performance.
Bullet Time: Killing an enemy with a critical hit will slow down time for a second to let you see what part of their body is being blown and ripped to pieces by your weapon. Especially satisfying on Human enemies. Sometimes you'll make their head explode.
Car Fu: You can run over zombies and hostile humans in the various vehicles you get.
Celebrity Survivor: Two of the playable characters are former rap star Sam B and former American football star Logan.
Cloudcuckoolander: Anne Snyder, a woman who, despite being a grown adult, is obsessed with finding her teddy bear, feeling that it will protect her from the zombies.
Well, she did say she couldn't sleep without it. It could just be that she's extremely sleep deprived which can make anyone a bit loopy...
Alternatively, having just barely survived the start of a zombie apocalypse, she's holding on to the one thing that can keep her sane.
Chainsaw Good: Dead Island is a rare example of a Zombie Apocalypse where a chainsaw is NOT a common option to kill them with. There is only ONE chainsaw in the entire game, inside Jason Voorhees' hut; it can tear up Walkers and Infected like nobody's business, but it's ineffective against the Elite Zombies, and the fact that you can't repair it makes the chainsaw Awesome, but Impractical.
Chunky Salsa Rule: Both played straight and averted. Due to gameplay mechanics, the zombies in this game cannot crawl, so chopping or breaking their legs will instantly kill them. Shooting/Smashing/Cutting their head off is also an instant kill, but this trope is averted with the stronger zombies from Thugs upward. Thugs can have their legs and head destroyed, but only if it actually is the killing blow. Rams, Floaters, and Butchers can't be maimed at all due to their special designs. As for Suiciders, well, they invoke it upon themselves.
Cluster F-Bomb: Svetlana tells you "I want to Fucking drink 'till I fucking drop".
Cosy Catastrophe: Nobody seems too worried about the zombies or the weather system. In fact, most of the NPCs seem content with staying boarded up in their huts.
Possibly because the monsoon had already blown over by the time the game starts and because the zombies aren't much of a threat when you're in shelter.
Until the elite Zombies show up, that is. Case in point, the Lighthouse gas station has two survivors when you first get there. When you later go back, a Thug has ripped the defenses apart and the survivors have been slaughtered. It nearly happens to the church in Act 2 too, but you kill the Ram before it can pound the doors into firewood.
Happens to a massive extent at City Hall, because of you, this time. Restoring the water supply to the church requires activating a pump system that drains the reservoir underneath City Hall, allowing the zombies to enter the building through the otherwise unguarded sewer access tunnels.
Svetlana and her compatriots seem perfectly content getting drunk inside a bungalow with an unbarred door, on a beach full of zombies. She'll even give you Diamonds if you fetch champagne for her.
They've chosen their hideout pretty well, actually. It's one of the Diamond Beach bungalows, which were built on stilts over the water rather than on land. Zombies can't swim, and they were sure to barricade the docks leading to the bungalows, which stops most walkers and infected from getting anywhere near them.
Crapsack World: Moresby, the biggest city on Banoi, had a serious gang problem even before the outbreak. The rich were completely segregated and the slums were barely livable. Finally, the police were so ineffective that a special section of the army, The Banoi Island Defense Force, had to be formed to protect the island. In fact part of the reason you encounter so many survivors, for a zombie game, is that the gangs were so heavily armed.
To drive the point further, Colonel Ryder White, a veteran of battles in Iraq, East Timor, and Afghanistan, outright admits that Banoi is the worst place he's ever been in.
Crutch Character: Sam B's ability to regenerate, among other skills, certainly make him the easiest character to do solo runs with. He's also proficient with blunt weapons, which are more prevalent early in the game and take longer to break than knives. He averts it in the long run due to his Healing Factor, his VERY powerful Rage skill (only Suiciders, Rams and melee human ennemies will still annoy you with it ; the rest will learn to fly), the many ways he can accumulate Rage, his critical rate up in the sky (he can reach a critical rate of 20 percent with a modified blunt weapon) and the insane amount of Force he can generate. Find a good blunt weapon such as a giant wrench, a sledgehammer or a pickaxe, apply a mod on it and you're set.
Cutscene Incompetence: At the end of the game the evil Colonel Ryder is outnumbered six to one by survivors who have killed thousands of zombies and dozens of armed humans, who are more than likely armed with rifles, shotguns, and electrified katanas. For some reason, none of the survivors draw any weapons and Ryder holds them all at bay with a peashooter pistol. Slightly justified in that he's got the vaccine, which means White essentially has a hostage.
Daylight Horror: Most of the clips and scenes take place during the daytime, which makes it scarier as it makes the player a more visible target.
Death by Irony: Ryder White's wife, whom he's been trying to save for the entire game, changes, is released, and ends up biting him.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Despite the relatively hardcore nature of the game, dying entails nothing more than losing a certain fraction of your money, which can really hurt your wallet once you start building up beyond $10,000.
Degraded Boss: Each time you encounter a special zombie for the first time it's treated as a miniboss/boss encounter. After that encounter they start appearing alongside normal enemies with Suiciders being by far the most common.
Disc One Nuke: Once you have access to Deo-bombs (given to you as a reward for a quest in Act 1 at the Lighthouse), you should buy as many deodorants and duct tape as you possibly can whenever you see a merchant selling them. These babies do 5k damage, and sometimes burns the enemies as well. While it can take you out if you're not careful (aka being too close to it), they're very useful for taking out groups of zombies (especially ones that haven't noticed your presence just yet), and Elite Zombie will often die in 1-2 blasts at close range.
Downer Ending: The four heroes manage to escape the island with Yerema and Kevin, but at a high cost: Jin dies, all the other survivors the heroes meet either die or get left behind, and the "cure" they worked so hard to help create turns out to strengthen the zombie virus rather than destroy it. To top it all off, it's implied that Yerema is a Typhoid Mary carrier for the virus, and that Kevin, aka Charon, may be planning to use her for his own purposes.
The Ryder White DLC makes it hit even harder: Ryder White was never a villain after all and Kevin (Charon) was just manipulating everybody for his own ends. Ryder never had any intention of calling in a nuclear weapon (though his superiors eventually decided to), Charon made it up to turn the survivors on Ryder. Yerema is confirmed to be the original source of the outbreak and is heading for the mainland (and it turns out the four heroes aren't immune, but asymptomatic carriers). Oh and Ryder White's BIDF soldiers you kill on the roof were just innocent servicemen who got dragged along for the ride. Good job.
Dramatic Thunder: Played straight with the hurricane, but reversed with a lot of the game happening in bright sunny days. However, there's also a mod that adds this to a supernaturally non-stop level.
Dual Boss: A pair of Rams serve as a boss battle of sorts near the end of the Ryder White campaign.
Elite Mooks: Warlord Afran's mercenaries, the prison guards, and Colonel White's BIDF soldiers.
The "Infected" zombie type. They are essentially walkers that are faster in both movement and attack (they also seem to be in better condition visually), but you can still cut off or crush their heads with a single focused attack.
Fragile Speedster Infected are fast (they run instead of shambling), able to climb head-high obstacles such as crates or walls and attack in vawes of 2 or 3 hits. An armed one can be devastating to your health, but they have less HP and Stamina than Walkers, allowing you to frequently one-shot them in their run.
Mighty Glacier Thugs, in particular, are not easy to dispatch. They can send you flying with one hit and knock off a ton of health when they do. Even disabling both their arms doesn't make them easy to deal with - since they still attack by headbutting or biting you. Finding a weapon with long reach, like a fire axe or sledgehammer usually means you can sit comfortably just outside their arms reach and bring them down easily. Just make sure you don't miss, or attack while they're attacking at the same time.
Rams, on the other hand, can be a pain to fight in enclosed areas or if you get stuck trying to jump onto a car to dodge its charge. And if you let it get too close, his kick does massive damage as well. They can be easy to take down if you're extremely good at aiming for their head, or have enough room to dodge their charge, and then attack their exposed backside.
Suiciders will detonate if you get too close of them or kill them. Their explosion have the range and the punch of a deo-bomb, meaning it's an instakill for almost anything in the area. Fortunately, they are rather slow and their distinctive cry lets you know there's one nearby.
Floaters can die fast, but if you take too long killing them, get stuck on a ledge/car trying to reach them, or get distracted fighting other zombies their green puke can hurt quite a bit. They are also immune to fire.
Butchers can be painful to fight in melee, since they're quick, attack fast, have a nasty kick, and worst of all, can dodge your attacks, especially if aimed at its head. Your best bet is to have an elemental weapon and hope that it kicks in. Or just take them out from a distance if possible, such as with a high powered shotgun, or a grenade.
Shows up periodically in the side-quests. There's also a couple major ones fairly deep into the main quest. Initially they could be extremely frustrating, but this has been fixed in the patch, which greatly increases the escortees' survivability.
Punks are survivors too. They shoot you on sight. Yeah...
Fake Difficulty: The inventory system is arbitrary to the point of distraction ! There's no weight limit, so you can carry any amount of pretty much anything you find (although see Game-Breaking Bug below). Fair enough, except for health items like an Energy Drinks and Fruit - if you pick these up, you will eat them immediately, so take care to remember where they are in case you need to run back for them when you get clobbered by a Thug. And also, you can only carry up to 12 weapons (expandable up to 18 as you level up), so get used to dropping perfectly serviceable knives and guns as you find new or better ones. Sometimes, explosives will be leveled for no reason, which means you'll need TWO inventory slots for your regular Molotovs and those leveled ones who do exactly the same thing, since the game considers them two different weapons. And, oh, yeah - Medkits and Alcohol count as weapons too!note To the extent that they can both even be equipped into a weapon slot, and used by 'attacking' with them. And, of course - Champagne doesn't count as Alcohol, so you can carry as much as you like! What.
The minimap looks like it has been coded by trolls sometimes, pointing you to the opposite direction of where your objective is, THEN switching to the correct direction after several meters in the wrong direction. When it's not telling you to go through a wall or a cliff.
The quick inventory have no idea of what it's doing if you play with a pad on the PC version. No matter how you organize it, you weapons will always be a complete mess when you scroll them using the quick-draw button instead of shambling through it yourself. Why is my shotgun last when I put it in the second slot ? Why can't I switch to a weapon after using a med kit? Where are my Molotovs ?!
Fan Disservice: Tons of bikini-clad chicks in this game? Awesome! Wait... they're almost all undead berserkers? Was that one's left breast completely torn off!? Not so awesome...
And the ones who aren't, are post-traumatic and weeping on the floor. Good times.
Not to mention there's only one body for all the bikini-wearing female npc's, and the texture maps have color variations for race but not age, so the old wrinkled grandma's face and grey hair are topping a mid-20's smooth and perky body... dissonance ensues.
Fetch Quest: Fairly common throughout the game. By far the most annoying ones are those that ask you to get something you already have on your person. For example, one guy in the church wants you to run halfway across a zombie-infested city to get him a gun... when you probably have half a dozen to spare.
Fire-Forged Friends: As evidenced in the launch trailer, the four heroes don't trust each other at first, but quickly realize they'll have to work together to survive.
Foreshadowing: There are a few hints foreshadowing the fact that The Voice is really Kevin/Charon impersonating Ryder White. One of the Heroes mentions that The Voice could easily be a convict impersonating a military officer. The Voice is only ever shown in shadow, and never explicitly shown as Ryder White. The Voice claims to be with the BIDF when we are told early on the real Ryder is serving with the Australian Defence Force and at the very end of the game, Kevin is encountered prominently standing in front of the radio control booth that the Voice was using throughout the game.
From Badto Worse: Moresby had a serious gang problem before the outbreak, when the Zombies arrived all semblance of law collapsed and the city degenerated into anarchy. As if that bad enough, there's a typhoon incoming, too.
Game-Breaking Bug: If you have too many items in your inventory, it corrupts your save game, destroying all your progress. Worst of all, it usually happens after you've already put in a few dozen hours into the game since it takes that long to stack your inventory to the point the bug occurs. This is a universal bug and always occurs if the proper conditions are met, on all versions of the game(though it can be avoided if you play the game offline). This was finally fixed in one of the latest patches, but many of those who bought the game in the first few months after launch still lost a lot of progress.
More annoying than anything else, but as of the latest patch for the PC version, nearly all of the sound effects aside from some select examples (voices, door ramming and drinking) to be corrupted and no longer work, and this is notoriously hard to fix.
Sometimes, if a zombie approaches you in the back, you can't hear him walk or anything. Passable when it's just a Walker, less when it's a Suicider or a Ram.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Even if you're going it alone in single-player mode, the cutscenes will still feature all four heroes together as if you've got a full co-op roster.
Genre Blind: A subtle example when the survivors are told the island is going to be nuked. Australia doesn't actually have nukes, something Purna at least should have realized.
Genre Savvy: Jason Vorhees enjoys himself way too much. He knows what's going on, and loves every moment of it.
Kevin seems to be playing on the genre savviness of the main crew by the end, claiming that the Australians are planning on detonating a nuclear weapon to contain the outbreak (a classic zombie film cliche) which they believe without a second thought. The Ryder White DLC reveals that this was all a lie they fell for.
Which is surprising, considering that one of the player characters is Australian, and it's common knowledge to Australian citizens that Australia doesn't actually HAVE any nuclear weapons. At all.
Glass Cannon / Fragile Speedster: The "Infected" enemies. It's easy to kill them in one hit if you ready yourself as they're running at you but if you are otherwise occupied they can unleash a flurry of attacks that can take off half your health before you even know what's happening.
Goomba Stomp/Your Head A Splode: The bottom skill in the combat tree for all four characters is a heavy stomp to a prone enemy's head that, if not interrupted, always results in a one hit kill, regardless of enemy type. Becomes a literal Goomba Stomp if you fully upgrade it as your character will jump on the zombie's head.
Gorn: The physics engine will not only allow you to dismember zombies, but also tear their flesh from their bones.
Especially evident with one of the developer's weapons, The Hand Of Glova, which does almost no damage but fries flesh off with electricity and leaves enemies looking like the flayed corpses you occasionally find on the ground.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Personal I Ds, blueprints, notes and tapes that provide backstory... there are a LOT of collectibles in this game. So many in fact that you only need to find around half of them to unlock both of the achievements that are tied to them.
Grail in the Garbage: The vendors will sometimes sell white, common weapons, which have much, much better stats than the rarer, colored weapons. For instance, you could see them selling a blue colored machete which does 500 damage, then the white colored machete right below it does 650 damage...
Guide Dang It: Some quests are really vague and obscure, so sometimes you're better off just googling the quest info, unless you're feeling very adventurous and want to explore on your own. In addition, trying to find all the collectibles/mods will cause you to scour the beaches, town, and jungle for a long time, unless you find a guide that tells you where they all are.
As expected of a game focused on melee combat. You can find your first gun from an escort quest in Act I, and pistol ammo from a cop car near the hotel, but it's not worth it to rely on it right away. Not that it matters, as guns are on average weaker than the melee weapons you find, random ammo is hard to find, and headshots just do extra damage against zombies, not kill them outright.
Not Completely Useless: However, against human enemies, headshots are a one-hit kill, and 99% of them carry guns and bullets, making ammo a non-issue. As well you can make your own ammunition once you get the recipes fairly early in the game. Followed by later NPCs start selling you ammo which does make it a non-issue when they become desirable.
Subverted in Ryder White's campaign. Ammo can be found regularly enough to use firearms as your primary weapons, and Ryder is skilled enough in firearms to kill zombies with just a handful of bullets each.
Hate Sink: Charon, Koritoia and the Rascals gangs, who are For the Evulzcard carrying monsters. The so called villains in Ryder White and Harlow Jordan are basically good people reacting badly to the situation (trying to find the cure for his wife who he was ordered to kill and trying to stop the plague from spreading by keeping the Player Character on Palanoi respectively,) and White and arguably Jordan are framed.
Heroic Sacrifice: Mowen. He gives his life to keep Jin and Yerema from being killed by either the zombies or the convicts during a pitched battle in the prison.
Subverted in the Ryder White DLC, which reveals that they aren't immune, but carriers, which explains why the cure synthesized from their blood has the exact opposite of the intended effect.
Improvised Weapon: You'll be doing this for at least the first half of the game. You'll be using mostly construction tools (wrenches, hammers) or household cutting (kitchen knives, cleavers). Hell, most people's first weapon is a rowboat's paddle!
Infant Immortality: Averted right in the trailer, which prominently features a zombified little girl attacking her father.
However, in one mission, In Cold Blood, Mugabe asks you to kill his his re-animated wife and daughter. His daughter does not have a special model but it's clear she is a teenager.
There's also a Tape Recording that features the speaker coming across a zombie child who attacks him.
Infinity+1 Sword: Zed's Demise, a unique legendary-class katana you receive from a side-quest near the very end of the game. It's the second best sharp weapon in the game (only behind the Eviscerator, an orange grade Wakizashi that can only be rarely found in random chests), especially if you're using Xian Mei the sharp weapon expert.
Gabriel's Sledgehammer is an Infinity Plus One Hammer. If you play Sam B, have the patience to wait till level 60 to do the quest to obtain it and apply the Tesla Mod on it, you are officialy unstoppable.
Instant Death Radius: Thugs, which have a slightly larger range than the normally available weapons. Their hits will knock you down.
Invulnerable Civilians: Played with. There are a few escort quests, and while your escorts can die, most of them are fairly competent and hardy. The Shaman from chapter 14 was a brutal exception, being utterly helpless and having paper doll endurance. Thankfully, a recent patch made the Shaman's survivability much better.
It Gets Easier: According to the devs, when characters kill zombies, they will initially sound nervous and anxious but as their body count increases, they will start sounding more confident and spouting one liners.
Sam B: Booya!
It's actually just that the lines are programmed to change as you go further from the starting point. If you head back to the original beach even after you've reached the city your character will start spouting the same lines they did at the beginning of the game.
It's Quiet... Too Quiet: In the second trailer the survivor says "It's too damn quiet" when he leaves his hotel room.
It's Up to You / The Main Characters Do Everything: A justified example. The 4 player characters do pretty much everything for everybody still alive on the island the entire game because they are immune to the virus, thus they are the only ones who can leave a shelter and not end up zombies.
The game would have ended better if the other survivors had accepted Sam B's suggestion to leave Jin at the church. She couldn't defend herself, was emotionally traumatized at that point and would certainly be safer in the church than travelling with the main four. He might have phrased it less bluntly, but the idea makes perfect sense.
Katanas Are Just Better: Katanas are probably the best sharp weapons in the game, being fairly sturdy with a very long reach, high damage, and surprisingly good speed (most long-reach weapons are slow as hell). On the downside, they're extremely rare; in most playthroughs you'll only find 2 in the entire game from quest rewards, though merchants will have one now and then.
Kill It with Fire: You get Molotovs and Incendiary grenades from persistent fetch quests to give the right character several lots of Alcohol or bleach respectively. Also the Floater's vomit is flammable, you just need use a torch weapon to hit any zombie that's surrounded by green gas, both of which are devastating to any zombie caught in the area of effect.
King Mook: The game's final boss actually uses the exact same A.I. as the regular Infected enemies and fights in the exact same manner; he just has a ton of hitpoints, does double damage, and has the added ability to dodge some melee attacks.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Largely encouraged in this game due to finding items to help make modded weapons, or sometimes finding large stashes of money, or if nothing else, Vendor Trash loot.
Large Ham: It's probably easier to list the characters who aren't voice-acted completely overhammed. Hint: Absolutely no one.
Left Hanging: The Crew gets a vague idea as to the origin of the zombies; A variant of Kuru - a local tribe has been ceremonially cannibalizing its dead for generations, completely aware that some of those who do so will become zombies - They see this as a "good" thing. However, a Geo-Pharma lab is implied to have modified the process - reducing something that normally takes decades to hours - instant Zombie Apocalypse. And everything else is left as a Sequel Hook - the military's involvement, the Crew's immunity, the Final Boss' One-Winged Angel transformation, and the nuclear destruction of Banoi. And a Playful Hacker named Charon, a new character introduced in the ending sequence is implied to be the mastermind behind the Crew's survival.
The Ryder White DLC explains pretty much all the above; The Crew and Yerena aren't immune, they're just non-symptomatic, the Kuru variant enhancing various physical traits without destroying their minds. Ryder went One Winged Angel upon shooting up on the cure because the Geo-Pharma lab didn't use their blood to make a cure, but a super-zombie serum. And Ryder himself? A Shaggy Dog That Got Shot. He and his superiors never planned on nuking Banoi. Charon fed the Crew that line, first posing as Ryder to manipulate the Crew's Wrong Genre Savvy instincts, then suckered Ryder into stealing the "cure", then showed up in person to manipulate those instincts even more. Final verdict; the Big BadMagnificent Bastardflies away from Banoi with all five carriers(all of whom believe they owe him their lives) and first-hand knowledge of what the super-zombie serum does to an uninfected human. All According to Plan.
Leeroy Jenkins: Played straight for players who rush too often into the crowd of zombies. Also played straight with some zombies, who will sprint towards you/your group in order to engage/get killed by you first.
Level Scaling: of the Oblivion style. On the plus side: enemies always feel like a threat to you. On the minus side: it's equally hard to feel you're becoming stronger when the enemies keep matching you.
Lighter and Softer: the Ryder White DLC is kinda like that. Instead of a scared survivor caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, you are Colonel Badass and somebody was kind enough to scatter tons of ammo all around every place, so you can literally blast every zombie you meet without touching a melee weapon after the first few minutes of play. The DLC plot, on the other hand...
Lost Forever: Some areas can no longer be explored after you're done with the related quest, such as getting the armored truck from the hotel in Act 1 (for the record you can still explore the first part, up until the elevator). There is a recipe mod in there, and if you forget to grab it, you can no longer acquire it.
If you throw a weapon at a suicider zombie (or any mobs really), MAKE SURE YOU RETRIEVE IT ASAP! If you wander off due to being overwhelmed or just plain forgetting it, the weapon will vanish along with the body after you've gone far enough. If the weapon is particularly powerful, its even worth dying to retrieve it, as it can be difficult to replace should you lose it in this fashion.
Machete Mayhem: Machetes are one of the most commonly used melee weapons in the game. They are the rewards for a lot of quests, especially in the main quest line. They deal a lot of damage, have decent handling, and have good force and durability for an edged weapon, making them the Weapon of Choice of a lot of players. The Butcherof Banoi also wields a machete.
Made of Indestructium: You can drive trucks to flatten any undead which are unfortunate enough to get in your way. While this will eventually smash the windows and cause smoke to billow from the engine, the vehicles are still perfectly drivable in this condition.note The trucks are actually pretty effective for handling Thugs, which can be a nuisance to deal with on foot So far so good — you can also drive them down cliffs onto the beach, and you can even drive them through the sea and back onto land with no ill effects. They'll even fit on the wooden walkways between the shacks — with a little persistance,note You can get 'stuck' on bits of scenery, but you can often get free if you drive alternately forward and backwards while steering hard, like you're doing a 3 point turn you can drive most of the way out to Svetlana.
Oh, but don't try to run over a Suicider zombie. While your truck may be indestructible, you'll be seeing a respawn screen if you try to do this.
Musical Spoiler: Well, an audible one, at any rate. Each zombie type has its own distinct sound. Walkers moan and groan; Infected will wail and shriek; Thugs give a low, drawn-out roar; Rams sound like a struggling bull who's having a hard time breathing; Floaters gargle and cough as they try to clear the fluid out of their lungs; Suiciders give a spine-chilling sigh as they exhale (that is, when they're not using what's left of their humanity to ask you to make the pain stop); and Butchers hyperventilate.
Named Weapons: In the 20 minute gameplay trailer the player receives the "Diving Knife of Havoc" at the start.
Never Trust a Trailer: One of the main criticisms reviewers and players had with the game was that it absolutely nothing like the tragic, Tear Jerker trailer that grabbed everybody's attention when it was first announced. Techland did, in fact, outright state that would be the case as soon as they realized what people were expecting. No one listened.
Not to mention Xian's back story. In all the outside materials for the game, she is described as an innocent girl with dreams of travelling around the world. At no point does it ever describe her as a covert informant for the Chinese government sent to the hotel to spy on the western culture.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Act 2, when you turn off the sewer water, the previously impenetrable mansion where the mayor and some survivors are cooped up are taken out by the zombies who use the now waterless sewer way connected to the mansion.
Nintendo Hard: By the end of Act II, this is in full swing unless you're playing Sam B. Expect to face Infected a lot, who are very hard to knock prone, are incredibly fast, usually attack in groups and have greater damage output than any boss. Breakable Weapons, which mean you have to switch to lesser and lesser weapons constantly while your repair bills go through the roof (compounded by the fact that you lose money every time you die) make Act II no less frustrating.
Novelization: A novel based on the events of the game deviates considerably from the story. Highlights include vastly streamlining the main quest, absolving Jin of any blame for what happens to her, modifying the characteristics of several characters and making the scientists and Kevin/Charon decidedly more sinister and willing to harm others.
Obvious Beta: The initial Steam release turned out to be a late development debug build, complete with built-in noclip key. The patch was released and -Hey Presto!- In-game load times got cranked up, the pre-order DLC isn't working, and savegames from the initial release don't work.
And that's not even including the numerous bugs that plagued the release version, especially the save-corrupting Game-Breaking Bug that, as of October 2011, still hasn't been fully fixed on all systems.
Oceanic Airlines: Planes occasionally fly overhead. The one from Oceanic Airlines, naturally, sends a distress signal shortly before crashing onto the island.
One Steve Limit: Averted. There are at least three people named Tim on the island (though, to be fair, 2 of them are dead already).
There are also two Annes, three Bobs (all die), two Brians (one dies), two Carlas (one dies), three Franks (two die), two Jacks, two Johns (one dies), two Michaels (one dies), two Mikes, two Nicks (one dies), two Rogers (both die), two Sams, and two Teds (one dies, one disappears).
And that's not even mentioning the worst one of all - you can have 4 of the exact same character in online play. It's rare, but it happens.
One of the oddest differences is that these zombies can drown. This is most apparent in the early resort areas - kick a zombie into a pool or near the ocean so that its head is underwater and it will take damage until it gets up...or drowns.
The zombies in this game CANNOT CRAWL. Due to gameplay mechanics, if you break or cut off a zombie's leg, it WILL die.
Plague Zombie: The zombies in this game were created from exposure to an abnormal version of the Kuru virus.
Plot-Powered Stamina: Averted. Everything you do takes some effort, so you can't run or swing weapons constantly, or you will get tired. You have to pace yourself when attacking — and that can become problematic if you're jumped on by fast zombies.
Point of No Return: Once you leave for the Prison and start Act IV, the rest of the island becomes inaccessible. This is very noticeable since up until that point you can revisit any area you want at any time. The game will give you a warning about this however, so most players should be aware that they can't come back once to go to the prison.
Raising the Steaks: One of Roger Howard's recordings has him encountering a zombie orangutan. No animals are actually found in-game though, infected or otherwise.
What could best be described as an orangutan grunting can be heard coming from the tall house at the beginning of the Shaman's village on your hike up to the temple, but still no animals in sight.
Rape as Drama: Jin, or so it is implied. When you rescue her from the gang in the police station, Xian Mei and Purna shove Sam B and Logan out of the room after Jin flinches when they burst in. She becomes much more cynical after this, but it isn't touched on again.
Made explicit in the novel, though whether or not that confirms it for the game is debatable.
Real Is Brown: The only attempt at de-consoleising the graphics to add high definition so far, the "Enhanced texture mod", reveals through screenshots on its download page that it mostly changes the shades of vegetation to a washed out green, most of the wood to a more washed out brown colour, and the overal scenes to end up looking less pleasant than you would think a resort actually should look, backfiring on it's stated aim of making it look more realistic! (Your mileage may vary)
Regenerating Health: Mostly averted. However, if your health is dropped to almost dead, it will regenerate up to one block of health (two or three after the major patch). This is enough to survive 1 bullet, but NOT enough to survive a hit from a zombie, so the usefulness of it is questionable. Sam B also has fully regenerating health as one of his skill tree skills.
Respawning Enemies: The zombies are endless in number and respawn as soon as they're off screen in some locations. In others, they won't hesitate to respawn right in front of you, out of thin air. The Punks in the city also respawn and take up their former locations.
In the quarantine zone in the city, zombies will attack you every few seconds as long as you're in the area. Very difficult to solo and only recommended in groups, or if you really, really need to get somewhere by running through the area fast.
Right for the Wrong Reasons: The more cynical of the Heroes are suspicious of The Voice/"Ryder White", despite all that help he provided earlier, because they suspect he may be a convict impersonating an officer. Turns out they were right about that. Also, Ope believes his westernized daughter Yerema is an evil spirit and tries to kill her... Purna kills him believing he's a primitive sexist who's obviously out of his gourd (which, admittedly, he is). Yeah, turns out Yerema is the source of the zombie virus and Ope was right she was a threat, albeit seemingly for the entirely wrong reasons.
Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The finale of Ryder White's campaign has Colonel White singlehandedly cutting his way through an entire army of zombies, that come in significantly larger groups than anything fought in the main game, in an attempt to rescue his wife. Sadly, things don't turn out very well for him in the end.
Save Scumming: Largely averted in this game, as you can't actively save your game, although it will save your progress if you quit the game. Reloading a checkpoint doesn't work as you may also lose items you obtained or quest progress since the last checkpoint.
Save Game Limits: Not only does Dead Island use the Roguelike system of a single save file that gets regularly overwritten with every player action, it takes it one step further by preventing you from backing up your save file from the desktop. Attempt to do so, and the program destroys your save file. That's pretty damn ruthless, Techland.
Scenery Porn / Scenery Gorn: The resort island has some utterly beautiful spots (as befitting a vacation spot), but as the hurricane moves in and the corpses pile up, Paradise becomes Hell in short order.
Discussed by each of the characters early on in the game when overlooking the beach at the resort.
Logan: Man, this hell sure looks like paradise
Schrödinger's Player Character: The story assumes that all the survivors are working together even in single-player. The others simply appear in the cutscenes. In Riptide however, the other characters appear as NPCs.
With all the emotional buildup of Earl saying goodbye to Jin and having you protect her during the course of the game, she gets shot during the ending. No, there's nothing you can do about it.
Also, Because of Jin's freakout at the end, Ryder is forced to waste the only existing sample of the cure on himself instead of bringing it back to the mainland for mass production. Not that it matters, as the "cure" turns out to fail spectacularly.
Riptide indicates that the government nuked Banoi to contain the outbreak, so all those NPCs that you spent all that time doing sidequests for are all dead.
It's unclear if this is true though, since the claims that Banoi was nuked were mentioned only to back up another claim that Palanai was also going to be nuked, later revealed to be a lie.
Epidemic sheds further doubt on this with the confirmed survival of John Sinamoi and his escape to Amaia Island.
Finally, the ending to Riptide possibly hints that, after everything you did to get them through Banoi and Palanai, our heroes may have just ended up mutating into boss monsters and spreading the infection.
The name for the fast-running type of zombie is "The infected," just like in "28 Days Later".
The list of achievements contains numerous references, including one called "Right 4 Life", paying homage to one of the game's obvious inspirations. Another achievement is earned by playing the game exactly 28 days after first starting the game.
When you enter a certain apartment complex in the second act, there's writing on the wall next to a door. What does it say? "Don't open, dead inside".
On that same vein, the regular undead are called "Walkers".
There's a girl called "Anne", who pronounces her name as "Annie", sends you to find her bear and says "Have you seen my bear?" Sound familiar?
Late in the game, there's a named enemy named Jason. He has a machete, wears a mask and has decapitated heads on the desk of his house... Who does this remind you of?
Early on, as you're going through the bungalows, one of the only unlocked houses contains a bedroom with a female zombie tied to the bed, a running video camera pointed at her, and a dead cameraman slumped against the wall. The zombie's name is an anagram for Jenna Jameson.
Later on in the game after completing a quest you are awarded a unique Katana called: "Zed's Demise".
There's actually a fair few of these in the weapons, including Hammers named "Ban" (as in 'Banhammer') and "Gabriel's Sledgehammer" (A reference to the song by Peter Gabriel) and a knife called "Assassins Greed".
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The entire main cast. The family that gets killed in the trailer aren't playable characters. Justified, since they all, you know, die. You do find them dead in their hotel room at the beginning. The launch trailer is the first trailer to show the True Companions working together.
Also played straight if you're not playing with 4 players who are all playing different characters. The major cutscenes will show all 4 characters as if they were doing everything together, but if you're solo, it kind of makes you wonder where your three companions are...
Soft Glass: The windshields of every vehicle you drive may as well be made of paper, since you can't go several meters before it inevitably cracks completely from head-on collisions with zombies, usually a minimum of 3 zombies. What more, your character will casually punch the entire windshield into pieces in order to see.
Splash Damage: Pretty much anything that explodes in this game, whether its the suicide zombies, propane tanks, or grenades. The blast radius is difficult to gauge, so your best bet is to set them off from a far distance, and when confronting suicide zombies, throw a weapon at them or shoot them with a gun from a far distance.
Super Reflexes: Endgame zombie enemies don't seem to have any trouble dodging bullets.
Subsystem Damage: Tougher zombies can have their arms' bones broken (or just plain cut off) to make them easier to deal with. Around Level 20 even the basic walker may survive an amputated arm.
Super Drowning Skills: Hilariously, despite the fact that the zombies are, you know, zombies, they still suffer continuous damage if they get fully submerged. Funnier still, is that zombies seem to drown faster the higher level they become. After level 30, a zombie will usually drown after 3 or 4 ticks of damage.
Super Mode: All 4 characters have their unique Super Mode, called "Rage Mode" in-game. Xian Mei pulls out her personal knife to hack up zombies, Logan pulls out a stash of throwing knives to pincushion enemies from afar, Sam B puts on some brass knuckles and goes to Good Old Fisticuffs, while Purna draws a compact revolver to shoot at zombies. Logan and Purna benefit from unlimited ammo with their Super Mode weapons. A single Rank 3 "Rage Mode" is enough to kill any single enemy in the game even the Final Boss and Suiciders too, but they will take you with them, if you are too close. So don't try that with Sam B or Xian Mei.
Sympathetic P.O.V.: Colonel Ryder White (the character who talks to you over the radio throughout the game) appears to largely be a self-centered, egotistical Jerk Ass as you progress through the game. For example, he warns you against arming the prisoners late in the game since a lot of them were put in there by him. He also constantly tells you to hurry up with the vaccine and ignore helping anyone else. But in the Ryder White campaign, Ryder White is actually fairly innocent, and it turns out that Kevin, aka Charon, whom Ryder White recognizes, is pretending to be the Colonel over the intercom, and it was actually Kevin that says all the things that make Colonel White seem like a Jerk Ass. He ends up being a pawn in Charon's schemes, and in the end gets killed by the heroes for it. The reason why White doesn't outright kill Charon is because the latter constantly promises to find a cure for his wife, which in the end turns out to be a lie.
Taking You with Me: Invoked by the Suicider zombies if they manage to kill you, and accidentally by players who get a little too close to their own grenades...
Tempting Fate: In one quest late in the game, one of the NPC's is trying to hack open a door. He accidentally opens several of the wrong doors, then mentions something about those double doors down the hall leading to trouble if they open. Cue said doors opening a moment later with some zombies on the other side...
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The vehicles of which are mostly utes and four wheel drives have the drivers seat to the right and the road signs and markings are Australian. The ute is kind of a symbol in Australia and ideal for the resort and city streets as well as the more rugged terrain of the jungle. There's even the old Australian Broadcasting Commission image on some televisions (for when ABC 1 would show when the station was closed, before it began running 24 hours.)
Third Act Stupidity: First Ryder White, then Jin. With the former Kevin/Charon is manipulating him on the pretense of saving his wife, which is understandable. Okay, why then on the helipad is he not only giving a speech about nuking the island, he is shooting at the survivors? It could be reasoned that Charon put him up to it or he just snapped, but when the survivors do confront him he is relatively composed, trying to justify finding a cure and saving everyone. After he just tried to kill them. Little wonder they became Shellshocked Veterans.
With the latter, at this point Jin had just completely snapped. After being gang raped, shooting her father and going to the prison where the inmates heavily suggest raping her, again, she wants to go with the survivors but is instead left in the relative safety of the prisoners, and she slowly loses the plot. The survivors would still have been justified to leave her at the church after she angers Ryder then releases his infected wife. That's pretty much asking to be killed.
Took a Level in Badass: The game has RPG Elements, so learning/improving skills as you go is a given. The developers have also said that, early on, when the characters fight the zombies they will sound scared, but as the game progresses they're get braver and sound more confident.
Too Awesome to Use: Guns fall into this trope occasionally due to the scarce availability of ammo in much of the campaign. Some items that do high damage but have low durability will sometimes have this problem as well, since you may end up holding it in reserve for when you run into an Elite Zombie, such as a katana, then you promptly forget about it in favor of other weapons you've been using on the common rabble when said monster shows up.
Too Dumb to Live: The survivors in the game run the gamut from people like Sinamoi and the nun in charge at the church, who are selflessly helping everyone they can find, to people whose continued existence spits in the face of Darwinian theory. Svetlana's probably the most egregious example, but the escort AI is really, really bad.
Given her actions the survivors would have been well justified to leave Jin at the church, hang a sign around her neck saying, "Slightly retarded child. Please adopt" and call it a day. She steals the truck to help out the imprisoned gangs despite being warned to stay away, leading to her being pack raped and sowing distrust between her and the other survivors, then when Ryder White is trying to hold the survivors off at gunpoint she mouths off and angers him, instead of warning that his wife had become a zombie and about to attack him. Which results in him accidently shooting and killing her.
It is actually winnable in the unpatched state - if you're playing co-op. Players are supposed to split up, with some protecting the escort while the rest take on the mob.
It's not "unwinnable" solo, just requires a lot of patience. There are sharp weapons lying around the area, so you won't have to fight with your bare hands, the easiest way to get past is to keep on killing enemies until you get enough fury, then restart the checkpoint and activate fury and you should be able to kill most of the enemies before they do too much damage. Afterwards make sure to run ahead of your escort to kill the last few infected on the path so they don't cause you any trouble.
The Virus: It's heavily implied by the "Fact" files strewn throughout the game, and confirmed by one of the Laboratory's scientists, is that the zombie outbreak's cause is a new strain of kuru, a prion disease spread via cannibalism.
Watching Troy Burn: Several locations where survivors are gathered get overrun by zombies after completing certain quests. It can be pretty scary when you see the survivors going about their business, and then when you return, they're all dead or zombified. The music also changes or goes silent, which adds to the creepiness.
We Buy Anything: While what they sell you will vary, vendors in the game will buy any Vendor Trash you sell them, regardless of if they're at a hotel resort, in a pawnshop in town, deep in the jungles, or even inside a prison.
Welcome to Corneria: Unless they're a fairly important NPC get used to them spouting the same lines over and over until you complete their quest.
Considerably noticeable for the few quests which lack location markers, if you haven't found or Google'd them yet.
You ALL Look Familiar : Wait a second, didn't you just send me into the house to take it back from the Looters? Why are you in here shooting at me!? Didn't I just kill you?!
If you join somebody else's game, it gives you the opportunity to have two of the same character running around. In fact, there's an achievement for joining a 4 player co-op where everyone actually is different.
Your Head Asplode: The special ability of one of the 'Dev Crafts' known as the "Mind Blowing Military Knife".
Zerg Rush: The zombies love to do this given the opportunity.