Dead Island: Riptide carries on from the story of the first game. Remember that helicopter that was taking you to salvation? Well, something happened and now your on another island with yet more stupid zombies – a point that the presenter of this Riptide showcase was keen to emphasise. The zombies, he said, would remain completely dumb and predictably easy to dispatch, with their only advantage being found in their numbers; so your typical zombie menace will remain the same as the first game.
Once again the story will revolve around trying to escape the infested island – this time a tropical jungle filled with old churches and catacombs. These catacombs are, according to a military survivor, the only means of escape – however, as is in the world of gaming, getting into them will be difficult as they’ve all been flooded by the same storm that brought down your helicopter.
The short demonstration I watched started by moving thought the beautiful jungle environment and quickly reaching a boat with your other companions. A conveniently placed nearby machine gun was then mounted onto the boat for defence. Then the group of survivors proceeded to make their way to a ruined church by way of river. On the short journey we were told that the zombies will try and attack and sink the boat, but by driving close to trees and other obstacles your could knock them off, or your companions could help to keep them from drowning you.
Upon reaching the church we were taken though more of the new features, chief among them being the ability to fortify areas with constructible defences like fences – including taking the machine gun from the boat and placing it on a wall with a good view. Placeable mines were also used but, as the presenter said, were not just a defensive measure but also a hindrance as it’s more than likely you’ll find yourself running from zombies while trying to navigate a minefield. But why would you want to fortify the church – apart form to create a cosy base camp? Well those flooded catacombs have to be un-flooded, and to do that you’re going to have to run a very noisy pump that will bring all the zombies to the yard.
To finish things of, quite literally, we were told about the new way Techland are approaching combat in this iteration of the series. Guns play a bigger role than before, and so more ammo and more guns will be available from the start. However, all you melee lovers needn’t fear as the emphasis will still be on melee combat, and guns will be much harder to use – so you’ll need to level up considerably before you can effectively fight zombies with guns alone. Among other things Riptide will feature improved ragdolls and world physics meaning that if you, or a zombie, are thrown into something then damage will be caused to whatever is hit. New undead foes will also be thrown into the mix, with only the ‘runners’ being teased during the presentation – and I’m sure you can guess what they’ll be good at.
If you liked the first Dead Island then I’m sure your going to like this one, even if the move towards more firearms and less melee comes with a slight pang of disappointment. Still, it remains a very good looking game and the zombie menace is sure to keep things interesting and fun right up till the end; however, from what I saw the game looked – and seemed – more like a Dead Island 1.5 with a few new features added to squeeze more money out of the franchise. That being said, I didn’t play the first game and so this could well be enough to entice everybody who enjoyed the original back for some more time in a zombie filled paradise.