Love it for excellent co-op and mindless fun or hate it for having various glitches and problems it had – Dead Island two years ago was an ambitious take on gory zombie killing action. Now a sequel is ready to rise from the grave in the form of Dead Island: Riptide. This sequel keeps the core formula intact while adding a new character, zombies, weapons, and vehicle. So does this sequel improve upon the original idea or is this simply the same problematic copy & paste job?
After escaping Banoi alive, our four misfit survivors land on an aircraft carrier only to be met with capture from curious minds. They soon meet a new character that will join their exclusive immune to the virus club – John Morgan, a soldier from the Palanoi rescue team. A monsoon hits and the boat that was once a safe haven is now an infected playground. The harsh weather forces the carrier to wash up on the same island John Morgan evacuated not long before. With the virus still heavily influencing the small island, the protected survivors must vacate another location flagged for eradication by the world’s special forces.
Dead Island was never a triple-AAA story to begin with – even with the sequel it’s pretty much the same. Escape the island, while completing various quests for lazy NPCs. The whole story is completely monotonous to listen from the conversions to the cutscenes. The only interesting part of the game was basically the very beginning. So if you were hoping for a better story this time around, then you are looking at the wrong place.
As for the gameplay, Riptide plays much the same as it’s predecessor. You can still mod your weapons and toy around with their stats and status-inflicting prowess like poison, fire, bleeding and more. While it plays the same, this isn’t a bad thing – if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Its mindless fun, but playing alone isn’t recommended, meaning you’ll need the charm of a few friends to get you through the otherwise derogatory experience.
As for the additional content that Riptide provides – you get a new character John Morgan, new enemies to face including the drowner, screamer, and more, and new vehicle to drive. John Morgan is a melee fighter, using claws and fisted based weapons to his advantage, along with fitting well with the four original cast members. As for the new enemy types like the drowner – they add more variation to combat on how to tackle each situation. Now for the boat – this is possibly the worst vehicle in the game. The boats are hard to control and can easily get stuck in the environment. It’s nice that Techland added a new vehicle, but it’s also an annoying vehicle to control.
Other features include the ability to carry over your save data from Dead Island to Riptide, so you can start at any level where you left off. There are also ‘Dead Zones’ where you fight a wave of zombies, along with a unique boss for that Dead Zone. There are hours to be had here and the gameplay is just mindless fun with friends.
Presentation wise, you won’t have the best looking game projecting itself into your eyes. It actually feels more like a downgrade in comparison to the original. The character models look downright creepy (and we’re not talking about the zombies) and a lot of the environments have been rehashed multiple times – including the Dead Zone arenas. Even worse, there is a lot of pop-in, screen tearing, and frame rate issues, along with some glitches that still plague the series like getting stuck in the environment or repeated sound glitch. Voice actors do their best to give life to this lifeless story with one-liners, but they can only work with what they’ve been given. As for the soundtrack, it bodes better with some tension tunes for all the zombie killing action you will be experience, even if some of it tune sound like rehashed music from the original.
Dead Island: Riptide is a sequel that had the chance to be better than the original. While Riptide offers a great cooperative experience with friends, along with creative gameplay elements – the story and presentation are lacking quite a bit. If you liked the original and have friends to play this – you will find enjoyment in this sequel, but if you didn’t like the original then you might want to skip this and book on a different vacation.
Audio/Visual 2/5: Isn’t the best looker, nor that polished, but the voicing acting has promise and the soundtrack sets the mood for zombie killing action.
Gameplay 4/5: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Keeps the original formula, while adding new variations.
Innovation 2/5: It doesn’t try hard to make itself unique in any way – it’s your standard FPS RPG, which copy and pastes a lot.
Value 4/5: With co-op, hidden collectables, dead zones, leveling up and more, there’s a lot of replayability to be found here.
-Chris reviewed Dead Island: Riptide On Playstation 3-