The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Character

I have an interest in the characters, I like good characters that resonate and are memorable to me and this takes me to a game, I have a game that I like, really do thoroughly enjoy  playing, Dead Island by Techland. I have gone back many times to the Island just back in time for all too familiar panic of run around the Island of Banoi, away from the infected Zombies, while trying to advance in my character level progression of the character and sometimes in blind panic, run up the ladder when I hear the roar from a Thug Zombie in Moresby,  However, as much I like doing that, I have a problem, that frustrates me and it is on the back of my mind every time I play the game about  the four main protagonists of the game. I do not like them, they trouble me, I like the island more, the Island has more character and personality and I regret saying that. 

The four protagonists of the game: Sam B, Logan, Purna, Xian Mei, I find them a little odd as characters, they do not come across developed, the backstory come across a little generic and parodies , they sit between an Avatar and a user created characters of Fallout 3, which as a player projected their personalities on to, Gordon Freeman from Half Life series as was a silent protagonist, he was more of an interesting character, this was down to the all the characters in the Half Life games told you snippets of information and backstory about him, that left you want to know more, the Dead Island story just goes along and the characters are just there existing. In a bizarre way, the other three characters in the single player mode do not appear in the game. But you still get them popping up in the cut scenes, which is a little odd, However the characters are only there when the co-op version is being played and that is something to think and write about another time. 
The Four Main Character
While the Dead Island story progressed, I do not think the characters grew, develop and changed in anyway and even with the unique situation of the outbreak, it did not change them at all, they come across flat and static. To say this could get myself into trouble, however I think the characters come across as Stock Character, they are almost parodies of cultural stereotypes, and that gives me a headache, I like the game, but not the characters.
The environmental narrative on the Island was the most interesting aspect of the game and in my opinion successfully executed. The environmental narrative of events,constantly drip feed the information to the player, helping to give the glimpse of what the island had it been like before the outbreak and immersed the player successfully into a believable world. It does remind me of Left 4 Dead’s Environmental Narrative story telling of  how the other survivors, who struggled during and the aftermath of the Zombie Outbreak and perhaps the last moments of their lives. As a player, I actually wanted to find out more about the Island and what happened to the other people than caring about anything else and that was a good thing. The Island was much more of an interesting character, it had depth and history than the main characters, the Island itself was a beautiful tropical holiday resort, crystal clear ocean with white sandy beaches, a small city called Moresby,  tropical jungles, WW2 bunkers, a laboratory and a small tribe who lived on the island, subsequently was scarred by Zombie outbreak and Ultimately destroyed by a nuclear bomb at the end of the game, I swear it was destroyed.

I like characters that are interesting, well written, that resonate and are memorable. Some characters that I like and interest me, Han Solo (Star Wars), Boba Fett (Star Wars), Amelie, (Amelie, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain),  Tuco  (The Good, the, Bad and the Ugly), The Bride (Kill Bill) and Tyler Durdan ( Fight Club) Ellen Riply (Aliens ) Hans Gruber (Die Hard) are a few examples that spring to mind. Strangely, I have just mentioned film characters.    
Thoughtful and well-designed characters that have interesting personalities with interesting visual design are in theory liked and can be both antagonists and protagonists, the characters in Dead Island characters were not memorable and that frustrates me,  because the opportunity was there to really make memorable characters.
There does not seem to be any characterization with the main characters, it would be nice if the characters changed over time and were affected by what happened and perhaps have had a change in their physical appearance of wear and tear, in a similar way to how Rocksteady did with Batman in both Arkham games. As  the game progressed, Batman’s costume changed, it got worn and torn, it became dirty and damaged, even a few bruises and cuts appeared on Batman.  A game took it further and darker was with Captain Martin Walker from Spec Ops: The Line, the game visually represented Captain Walker’s psychological deterioration and ultimate destruction by the visual transformation of a veteran solider at the start of the game, to a man who became a former shadow of himself and destroyed by the events  within the game.  Throughout the progress of the game, the subtle changes of Captain Walker’s mental state slowly ebbed and chipped away with every scratch, cut and bruise he received both mentally and physically that layered and built up and by the end of the game, it was too late for him.  Spec Ops mainly influenced by Josephs Conrad Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now film. Perhaps, Dead Island could of borrowed some elements from them for the characters and show how dark a character could go to survive. Showing the effects and changes that the situation have affected them. 
Spec Ops: The Line Captain Martin Walker
Although, Batman and Spec Ops showed a physical development of the character wear and tear, Spec Ops was an extreme case with the added physiological destruction of Captain Walker. I believe that it was a missed opportunity for a Dead Island game to implement this. This would have been opportunity to show the characters’ clothing deteriorate over time and would visual feedback to the player of how far the story has progressed and show the player of what the characters went through because they went literally through hell. However, they look exactly the same at the end from the start of the game, untouched, unblemished and visually unchanged, still clean. A game that used environment story telling successfully to tell the player what happened to the Island missed the opportunity to apply that idea to the characters, I just wish they had. It would have been good to show what these characters went through to get there. I do not think if anyone of us went through that experience, our clothes would not have been that clean and undamaged.  
Die Hard, John McLane
One example that sticks out it is Die Hard, remember John McLane’s White vest at the end of the film, no,  well,  the vest was covered in dirt, grease, sweat, blood,  showed a survivor and a history of what happened through the course of the film. It would have been good to see how far the Dead Island characters came and reflect on how they looked like at the start of the game. Maybe the next Dead Island game may implement something like that. I must stipulate, that I still like the game and want more from the series. 
On hindsight, I may try and give a go adapt and apply the wear and tear of the John McLane look the illustrated characters, but minus the vest. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s