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Dead Island’s Developers Need New Jobs

September 6, 2011

Okay, so I pre-ordered (read: pre-PURCHASED) Dead Island for the PC. Something that I was really set against, because of my recent bad experiences with buggy and broken PC games and lazy console-to-PC ports. But, it’s a zombie game, and I have a reputation to maintain as a hardened zombie hunter. Moreover, my friend Jack also pre-purchased it, so that we could get some co-op zombie slaying going on (which is our favorite past-time at the moment, in Killing Floor).

Jack had to close at work last night, I think, because I never saw him online. Oh well, I kind of counted on that, so I figured I’d roll a single-player toon for down-time to get the feel of the game before we played co-op. While playing the game I noticed a few graphic bugs, but nothing terrible. The menus were obvious slop console ports, with the same kind of trash I’m used to seeing in lazy ports, because getting the UI programmer to work an extra two hours is, you know, against union rules or something. Not a big deal. Five minutes in: crash to desktop. Seriously? Wow. Thankfully however the crash happened RIGHT after one of the auto-saves… Auto-save because the game does not have a manual save feature… nope. None. Not even a quick-save / quick-load – something that is kind of mandatory in games like this. If you’re going to borrow so much from Fallout 3, please at least give us some basic, 1992 save features.

Anyway, I continued on my zombie killing adventure. The Field of View (FOV) is jacked, and definitely a console FOV. Far too narrow. Yucky. (Update: I found out that many players were getting motion sickness, and getting SERIOUSLY ill from the narrow FOV). I figured I’ll suffer with it for now. Combat is cool, except the weapons break with a light wind or if you look at them wrong. Thankfully, melee weapons are absolutely everywhere – you can’t even carry them all. Combat was actually pretty slick, though I’m not a fan of the quick-time-events that follow a grapple with a zombie, which is inevitable when you get swarmed.

CRASH TO DESKTOP.

Wait, what? The game crashed again, within 10 minutes of the last crash? Are you f-ing serious? Okay, let’s give this another shot…

The quests seem alright, fairly straight forward, and it even shows you the objective of /most/ quests on your CRASH TO DESKTOP.

WHAT THE HELL? Is this really happening? Only a minute in and you crash!?  Alright. One last try, and I’m done for the night. By this point, I’m quite seriously more afraid of the game crashing than I am of the zombies. My pulse is up and I’m on edge, as I pray that with every action I take, the game doesn’t shit its pants.

As I was saying, you have plenty of decent quests, most of which plot out on your map, just not at the same time. Before I head back out, I tried to use the workbench to upgrade and fix my weapons. Wait… the unmanned workbench requires MONEY to operate? Is there a coin slot? $110 to fix my /meat cleaver/ that probably came from a dollar store? Umm. Okay. I can usually dig “video game logic” to some extent, but this is really stretching it. Oh well, I have more than enough cash to get it done.

I head out, kick some ass, collect some objectives for the sidequests. I’m just 100 feet away from the final objective of the main quest, and more importantly, a save point! All this hard work will be saved, and I won’t have to repeat it due to an untimely crash. … CRASH TO DESKTOP.

MOTHER #$% PIECE OF… Alright, let’s just get this over with. “Are you sure that you wish to uninstall?”.. YES. I’ve never been more certain of anything in my LIFE. Phwew. Now that I got that over with…

That was last night. This morning, I wanted to know if it was perhaps my machine, so I googled the “Dead Island crashes”, and found that gaming nerds have set the internet on fire. Because the game is not only a /broken mess/, but it’s actually a 360 development port that the developers simply planned on replacing later with a working copy at some later date. I was playing a placeholder. Let me rephrase that: I had PAID my hard earned money to get a placeholder. GRRR.

Probably the most important lesson that I learned: NEVER buy a PC game if there is a console version released before or at the same time – that is to say, NEVER buy a console-to-PC port. Ever.

My guess is that it is harder to port a PC game to a console than the other way around. So, for the sake of efficiency, developers first make games for the console, thinking it’ll be cake to port it over to PC. And in doing so, they don’t budget time, money, or work to actually porting the game over properly.. because “Hey, ‘most’ of a game is just as good as full game, right? It all pays the same.”

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