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Dead Island Riptide (PC) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: PS 3, PC, Xbox 360
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.0
7/ 10


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

We liked?


  • Looks good , sometimes gorgeous
  • Wonderful analogue combat system
  • Weapon crafting is always satisfying

Not so much?


  • Poor enemy AI and general scripting issues causing game restarts
  • Adds almost nothing at all new to the franchise
  • Feels more like a large expansion pack to Dead Island.
  • Despite a beefy PC slow down and other graphical issues do creep in


Final Fiendish Findings?

Dead Island Riptide is saved, much like the orginal Dead Island, from being a mess of a game by some wonderfully realised melee combat mechanics. Using the analogue method of control brings the whole experience alive, offering some very frantic and satisfying battles.

2
Posted May 14, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Dead Island Riptide picks up directly after the ending of the 2011 sleeper hit. Following the same characters as they leave the island and arrive at their rescuers ship – all does not go to plan though as they are cuffed and restrained by the military personnel on the boat. Shortly after the entire boat is shipwrecked and once again our zombie virus immune quartet find themselves facing an island paradise filled with flesh eating zombies.

Dead Island Riptide manages to not only pick up from where the original Dead Island left off narrative wise; it also manages to pick up all the mechanics and assets too. Parceled with those comes a slew of issues already evident 18 months ago when the first title shipped. More on all this later though.

Dead Island Riptide takes out four stereotypical and wholly unlikeable main characters and adds a fifth character, equally unlikeable, called Captain John Morgan – an apparent Australian ex-soldier who has the honour of having one of the most grating Aussie accents ever to grace a soundbooth!

Regardless of the character you choose (and you can also import your character from the original Dead Island) the game plays out the same way. You have to scavenge the island to locate a way out of the place, before it’s levelled in a nuclear attack, scheduled to wipe the place clean of the zombie experiments that have been taking place.

Exactly as it did in the first game, Dead Island Riptide breaks down into a series of simple actions. Talk to X, they ask you locate Y and return it to them so they can hand you some XP and you move on to the next missions. Lather, rinse and repeat for the rest of the game. This process might not be as laboriously similar if the game has a reasonable story or plot to push it along. As it stands this would be hard pressed to hold its head up in a room of the most mediocre B-Movie plots.

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So why is Dead Island Riptide now languishing in a bargain bin? Why did it get released at all if it’s little more than a lengthy expansion pack? The answers lays in the games frantic combat and minimal RPG mechanics. Crafting a myriad of interesting weapons to help with the impending Zombie hordes never gets old. Levelling up a devastating cleaver and slicing limbs from zombies never looses it’s shine. This time out a few special zombie types are in the mix, like the exploder or vomiter. These evoke memories of the various zombie types from Left 4 Dead, but if you’re going to borrow, then do so from a classic.

Graphically Dead Island Riptide looks good, sometimes gorgeous if you have your settings maxed out. The frame rate issues that appear to have dogged the console versions of the game rarely rear their heads here on the PC – just a few instances of slowdown and some artifacting at times. Texture work can sometimes be a little muddy and environments, the true stars of the game, do tend to look a little similar as play length varies.
As with the original, Dead Island Riptide is best played with friends, or at least played co-operatively. This is, again as before, drop-in and drop-out allowing players to game jump as they see fit. On your own parts of the game are more than a little challenging – with a group of four though these areas are easily breezed through. Online play was smooth and there were no shortages of other playing the game so heading to their game was a ssimple as pressing down on the D-Pad.

Which brings me to another point – play Dead Island Riptide with a controller and set the combat to analogue. Just like the first game the analogue combat is off by default. Switching this on take the game from a rather tedious button mashing brawler to a more refined melee combat experience. I say refined, what I actually mean is frantic slash-fest as you use the right-stick to choose the location, angle and strength of each melee blow. Holding the shoulder buttons activates the combat pose and then a simple flick and slice of the right-stick and a well positioned blade-edged weapon will come switching down and cleave body parts with deadly precision and effect.

The issues that plagued the original Dead Island return here once more. AI is still woefully buggy. Characters clip through objects. Things disappear from the game and then sometimes reappear. This selection of niggles was evident when the original Dead Island came out.  It’s a shame Techland didn’t put some more effort in to resolving these prior to release rather than putting out a glorified expansion pack

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Final Thoughts

Dead Island Riptide is saved, much like the orginal Dead Island, from being a mess of a game by some wonderfully realised melee combat mechanics. Using the analogue method of control brings the whole experience alive, offering some very frantic and satisfying battles.

Dead Island Riptide looks, plays and feels like extended DLC for the first Dead Island title. reusing much of the content of the first title means tha players returning after the original game might find it all too similar for their takes – especially if you’ve burnt out on Dead Island.

A large splattering of bugs, niggles and wonky design choices server to hamper the game in it’s attempt to bring you a further slice of Zombie killing goodness.

Technical issues, poor B-Movie and the feelings you’ve see it all before can’t help mask the fact that Dead Island Riptide is a fun game to be playing – especially with some friends.


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.


  • Thanks for the review… it seems that my fears came true though…doesn’t sound like this game actually advances the series any. A little disapointing

    • True it does lack in progression of the series BUT what’s on offer is still solid and would be enjoyed by new comers and those looking for more of the same – only more refined :)

      Hopefully a proper Dead Island 2 will surface on next gen and go a little further.