Dead Island Riptide Review
By Paul Barbara
Zombies, a tropical Island, mediocre cast, loads of loot and crazy Aussie accents to boot! No, I’m not referring to Dead Island here which manages to tick all of the above boxes; I am referring to its sequel Dead Island Riptide, which also manages to tick the exact same boxes.
Dead Island Riptide begins with a cut scene that brings you up to speed with the story and events from Dead Island, which pretty much wraps up the events of a party gone bad on a tropical island, a zombie outbreak, fight for survival etc. You know the drill by now. You finally make it to a chopper and the game begins with you landing that chopper aboard a military ship. Rather than a warm mug of hot chocolate and some warm clothes, you’re virtually arrested and quarantined on the spot. You soon awake to find that all hell broke loose on board the ship, and without going into any more detail your ship runs aground and you wake up on…wait for it….another Tropical Island and the locals aren't friendly.
Dead Island Riptide is on the outset very similar to that of the first Dead Island title which is not a bad thing and more of the same can actually be a good thing. The story in Dead Island Riptide is really quite subpar and you wonder why more effort wasn’t put into the story telling. The cut scenes lack any real emotion and you never really feel like you’re trying to survive nor engaging with the characters on any deep and meaningful level. You’ll find yourself running around island with the ability to drive or walk, transverse water and explore many abandoned huts or holiday shacks so to speak. There is a wealth of suitcases, barrels, boxes and trays where you can loot till your heats content, even dead corpses are a useful source of cash. You can use your cash to upgrade your weapons and more than likely, you’ll be constantly paying to repair those weapons. Most of this is basically exactly what you could do in the first Dead Island title.
If you’ve played the original Dead Island you’ll notice that four player co-op is back again, plus you can also import your character from a previous game save which was a neat idea I thought. Hence I never really bothered to consider any of the other characters given I already had my own from the first Dead Island game. You’ll also have the ability to share items with other players, whether its money or weapons, it can be handy if you’re running low on something nevertheless. During co-op play the enemies will scale up depending on how many of you there are, so it’s still no walk in the park so to speak. One thing I did find annoying is the constant respawning of enemies. There’s nothing worse than clearing out a section, hut, campsite, whatever but the second you walk away and return, the place is over run again, making it almost pointless to kill zombies and before long I was just running past zombies rather than trying to kill them and clear out an area.
Dead Island Riptide is gory, and you’ll have no shortage of Zombie encounters where limbs and body parts are severed and blood fills your screen. Many zombies look familiar from the first Dead Island with only a few new enemies to meet such as the screamer (who yells and causes you to freeze) and the drowner (who likes to hide in the water). But aside from a few new characters, the cast of zombies really didn’t inspire me greatly.
One major downfall for completionists is that once you complete the campaign you can no longer run around the island to complete any side quests which is a shame as there are many side quests to complete. Also, the map system is a complicated mess of icons, indicators and well, darn it just about everything. It definitely felt way too crowded and half the time we didn’t even know which way our objective was due to the numerous objective icons that kept clouding our way forward. Perhaps a less complicated map set up could have alleviated this issue.
Dead Island is certainly more fun with friends and I encourage you to play it with a group of mates if you can. Otherwise, you may find yourself bored after a short while, or even overrun by zombies, one or the other.
Graphics & Sound
Visually Dead Island Riptide is a wealth of colour from the huts of the tropical island, to the sands and shimmering water and the deep greens of the jungle and of course the red blood that gets spilt everywhere you go. The environment is pretty, however, it seems as if assets are reused all of the island and you almost lose your bearings as every single hut, house and jetty so to speak are the same, everywhere you go. There were only a few occasions where the game suffered some horrible slowdown but this was more prevalent when playing co-op as opposed to single player. In terms of audio, the sounds of a screaming zombie still send shivers down your spine along with the sounds of decapitations and blood splattering across the walls.
I had low expectations for Dead Island Riptide after playing the original title. Not in the sense that I didn’t enjoy the first game, as it had some good strong points to it and it was more of a solid title, however Dead Island Riptide is simply ‘more of the same’. Dead Island Riptide had a chance to expand its story, take us to a new location, the big city perhaps, or the country side and develop the story as to how the outbreak occurred and all those sort of questions, introduce new characters, weapons and enemies. Instead, were thrown back onto what almost looks like the same island and were fighting the same zombies all over again with very little variation at all. Dead Island Riptide doesn’t feel new in any regard, despite my hopes that it would. I can only recommend Dead Island Riptide to those who loved the first, and even then, would you just want more of the same cause I know I don’t?
6 / 10