By Ben Bowers
on 5.31.11

Zombie games are a dime a dozen, but Dead Island ($60) has a few intriguing tweaks worth paying attention to. The most obvious is its tropical paradise setting on the fictional South Pacific island of Banoi. Here, the flagship Royal Palms Resort serves as the ultimate vacation spot, until a contagious outbreak transforms most of its guests into the ravenous walking dead. Four strangely immune individuals somehow remain unaffected, and must battle the hordes to protect themselves and a few dwindling survivors, while discovering the source of the outbreak along the way. “Battling” in this case, though, doesn’t involve limitless supplies of guns, military grade explosives, or this. Instead, players are limited to the real-world materials they would find on a resort such as pipes, fire axes and knives. That means the majority of the fighting in the game is up close and gory as hell. Repeated use dulls, breaks, or generally weakens these weapons overtime, so scrounging for tools and building up skills is a major necessity. Words don’t do the feel of the game any justice, so instead we recommend watching the gripping and masterfully done trailer on the next page to see just how crazy Dead Island can be. Don’t get too excited, though, since the game is now only available for pre-order, and is officially set to launch on August 1 — right in time for your end of summer beach trip.

Pre-order: Xbox 360 $60 | PS3 $60 P.C. $50