Dead Island Riptide Review

The first “Dead Island” game, for all its faults, was still pretty fun to play. When I heard “Riptide” was coming out, my first thought was, “It’s pretty late for an expansion,” and then I heard it was going to be a full game. Okay, this could be a good thing, they worked out the kinks from the first to really make the “Riptide” amazing, right?…right?

“Riptide” continues moments after the end of the first “Dead Island.”  The four immune survivors, along with terrorist hacker, Charon, and patient zero of the Banoi outbreak, Yerema, fleeing to the safety of an aircraft carrier only to be detained and drugged. It is here you will meet the new brawler-type character, John Morgan, a former soldier who came to the islands to help with the relief effort.

The story this go around is just sad, and more importantly seems to work tirelessly to undo everything that happened in the first game. What gnawed at me the entire game was that you arrived on the ship with Charon and Yerema, yet never see them and they are never mentioned again. It just seems weird to me that those two were completely forgotten although they played an important role in the first “Dead Island.”  Also, the final boss battle was pathetic.

Gameplay is exactly the same as the original. The glitches from the first game have not been fixed in this go around. When swarmed by zombies everything chokes up like its going to just freeze.  I also found the game freezing up when not swarmed by zombies.  One such mission that comes to mind was the Fire Sale mission.  Controls are the same, and I still find it annoying that the crowbars break. Zombies are running around the island with knives and bricks, and I’m okay with them having weapons if we are going with they are becoming more intelligent and evolved, but the least you can do is comment on it. Never once do they go, “How the hell are they using weapons?!”

What is pretty cool is that the zombies level with you, so if you import your character from the last game you can start off the game at, say, level 15 like I did (everyone starts off at level 15 unless you import your character) all the zombies you encounter will be the same level or higher. This is also the case with co-op: if you are a level 60 and join a friends game where they are a level 15, you will fight off zombies that are level 60 and higher while your partner fights off level 15 zombies. Doing this helps ensure nobody will be bored leveling up their characters, especially while helping lower level friends.

New zombies like the Floaters, who play possum in the water, add a whole new level to the game. I found out about the Drowners while trying to be sneaky and staying as far away from land as possible to avoid zombies, only to find myself surrounded by Drowners. Other new zombies that add to the variety of enemies are the Wrestler, the Butcher, and the Screamer. Also, you can see team member health bars right above their heads, and it won’t be obstructed by buildings or vehicles. So, if you see a team member taking a beating you will know exactly where they are.  And there’s no need to worry about friendly fire, because that is a thing of the past, so hack and slash to your heart’s content.

Graphics are good at best, and they are almost exactly the same as the first “Dead Island.” My issues here are that they haven’t fixed the pop-in textures issue and the fact that IT LOOKS ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST “DEAD ISLAND”. When you think about it, it’s like playing a “GTA” game; they all look the same.

Screen tears, missing frames, game freezes and a flat storyline could make “Riptide” unbearable to play, but leveling up and RPG elements are addictive, and who doesn’t love maiming zombies? Although there are some fun aspects to the game, that doesn’t mean it’s worth buying.  This is a rental at best. I really hoped Techland would kick it up a notch for the sequel, but they did not.  It really was just more of the same.

Final Verdict of Dead Island Riptide:

2.5 out of 5