Dead Island Riptide Review
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Dev: Techland
Genre: Action role-playing, survival horror
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 26/04/13

Dead Island Riptide Review

Site Score
Good: Smashing zombies
Bad: It just feels empty
User Score
(4 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.3/10 (4 votes cast)

If anyone on the internet can remember longer than a week ago you will be aware of the original Dead Island’s dramatic and touching trailer. A slow motion rewind of a young family getting mauled by zombies in their hotel room, set against a gentle piano tune. It had the internet in an up-roar and I (as many) could not wait for the finished game to come out. Sadly it did, and it bore no resemblance to the trailer in the slightest. What we actually received was a Left 4 Dead style quest-based shooter/slash-em-up with arcade style mechanics with no real sense of story or sentiment. Although this was acceptable to a degree, the game didn’t really engage gamers on a personal level; it was simply written off as an ‘ok’ game that might be worth picking up.

dead island riptide 1With Dead Island Riptide, Techland and Deep Silver have a chance at refining and improving their original formula into something with a little more bite. In this sequel you can play as the original crew of four random survivors who are mysteriously immune to zombie kisses, plus new character John Morgan, a military chef trained in hand to hand combat. Along with John there are also additional ‘special’ zombies such as the Grenadier (guess what they do!?!), the Wrestler – who has huge hands and the Ogre, who’s just a big twat…

A big change to the game’s weather system has been implemented, which although sounds like a nice idea, doesn’t really deliver. Although I agree that making the sun go behind clouds and injecting a bit of terror rain can do wonders to a game’s atmosphere, it has to work in the first place. However, my initial foray into this new mechanic involved me venturing to a camp being attacked by zombies and it suddenly turning from day to night in the space of about two seconds.

Riptide also has boats and new water zombies called ‘Drowners’, that climb aboard and attack the player. This is an interesting addition, but what isn’t cool is that you need boats to travel over deeply flooded areas… as apparently you can’t swim without dying. It is at this moment I would like to point out just how ridiculously cheap it is to have a game that has boats, water zombies, dead island riptide 3tropical islands, beaches and the sea but doesn’t allow you to even swim short distances without a good reason. I’m not sure if it was time, money or laziness but having a heavily water-influenced game demands some form of concession on to such an oversight.

The worrying thing about Riptide is that for all its improvements this game feels like the developers have just made a new DLC map and thrown a few new types of zombies in. It quite honesty suffers from the same copy and paste issue the Assassin’s Creed series does, but with the added kick in the balls that the game wasn’t that good to begin with. The controls are too loose; the hit detection is way, way off, the game constantly glitches to the point within the first forty-odd minutes of playing I lost all sound. I’ve gotten stuck in the floor, zombies have just stood there dancing for me while I stand practically on their faces. Every mission feels like a fetch quest that involves you traversing a certain distance, dodging/fighting a gaggle of zombies and then returning to the quest giver for a reward, rinse repeat X forever.

There’s no reason to want help or side with any of the fifty bajillion NPC’s who are constantly crying and mewing for a savior, as they are all stone-faced husks that offer no emotional entanglement to the story or pacing. Riptide is so devoid of life (pardon the shit pun) that it got to the point where I was looking at all my active quests and just working on which was closest rather than what one intrigued me the most. dead island riptide 2Even at that point if you are happy to run around mauling zombies, then don’t even bother with the quests, just go around mauling zombies. It’s a lot more fun and you don’t need to travel to a designated location to do so.

It’s the mauling that makes Dead Island fun; the mauling and the co-op mauling are both hugely satisfying and empowering in brief excursions, especially if you pull off a cool flurry of attacks or have just modified a new weapon, but sadly that’s about as good as it gets. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good ‘good’… I mean who doesn’t like smashing zombies to death with a big stick covered in barbed wire? The issue is it’s just so frustrating to play a game with such good promise, but delivers the minimal amount.

The pretence of playing a first person survival/slash’em-up with an online co-op mechanic that is located on a beautiful Caribbean island while a zombie plague breaks out sounds nothing short of bliss. Sadly for a premise that has so much promise, Dead Island Riptide is one heck of an average experience. Marred with unimaginative fetch quests, benign combat and poor level design, the game contrasts perfectly with the foundation of a rage infused zombie bloodlust, customizable day-to-day weaponry and super buddy teamwork.
- Smashing zombies

- Zombie smashing

- Co-op zombie smashing zombies

- Can’t swim

- The weather looks shit

- It just feels empty

Every now and then a piano tune takes me back to the old trailer and reminds me of what this game shouldda couldda been. It’s an average experience that is flawed by technical glitches and overused mechanics, which are sadly made worse by the fact that this is almost an exact replica of the original Dead Island.

Avatar of Ryan Syrett
Ryan Syrett

Smelly beard man who has no right talking to anyone about computer games.
Dead Island Riptide Review, 5.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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