For those of you who haven’t touched the first Dead Island game, this game is primarily a 1st person, open-world, hack and slash game that takes place on a beautiful tropical island. Dead Island: Riptide starts you off right after the events of the first game where you are evacuating the plagued island of Banoi. Upon finding a boat which they thought would help them, ended up taking them prisoner and wanted to test the survivors to see why they were immune to the zombie infestation. After, the boat crashes onto another tropical island, you are freed into the open world. Time to continue practicing your zombie slaying skills again. So is this game a true sequel to Dead Island or a copy and paste?
Much like the first game, the story is very general when it comes to a zombie survival game. Gee whiz, we are stranded and need to get away from these flesh eating menaces. I was not happy that they stuck with this cast of mediocre characters. They each are the most stereotypical type of person of their race; A “tough” ex-football that thinks he is clever (Specializes in throwable weaponry), a loud-mouth rapper who thinks his crap doesn’t stink (Specializes in blunt weapons), a small and quiet girl who was Banoi hotel employee (Specializes in knives) and finally the one character i could actually stand (And used) was a female ex-cop/bodyguard (Specializes in Guns). Each character that specialized in a particular weapon would receive huge bonuses for using that type of weapon so choose the character based on their specialization not their appearance. They did add another playable character (Specializes in hand to hand combat ie. brass knuckles) that is an ex-military soldier with an over the top and what sounds like an Austrailian accent (Adding the crocodile hunter to the mix is not much of an improvement over the other characters really). It was really hard to care about any of the characters because they didn’t give them any real back story to begin with or have them engage in any real serious conversations. Not only that but most of the campaign missions seemed to be fetch quests which got old really fast. The only reason I wanted to continue the story was to get the loot and that is really it. If you were hoping for a better story than the first game…. well it’s not going to happen this time around.
Unfortunately, when I put the disc into my system, I had the high hopes they they were going to fine-tune a lot of the bugs that plagued the first game so badly. Umm… yea there are still a lot of the same issues here. Thrown items sometimes disappear, the map navigation doesn’t always work and map icons are all over the place, weapon textures take time to load when switching weapons along with the island textures taking time to load when entering or exiting to a new location (Going through a transition area like a cave or house) and random pickup icons showing up on some object but not all. But just like the first game, the combat is still weighty and fun. Wacking a zombie in the head will normally land you a critical hit, hitting them in the legs or are can either break them or cut them off and stomping their heads off is gratifying every time. If you don’t care about story and loved the combat in the first than I would say this game is for you but for those newcomers to the Dead Island series, you may as well just try the first Dead Island because it’s not much different (And it will save you some money too).
Much like the first game, their are tons of weapons to choose from varying from baseball bats, wrenches, guns, grenades, knives, hammers etc. Nothing really new or innovative in the weaponry department but they did add some new mod types for your weapons. They also made weapon deterioration more realistic so now your baseball bat won’t become useless after hitting 3 zombies with it. I was really hoping they would add a feature where the longer you held the attack button down, the stronger the attack would become but there was no change to the combat system at all (Or even the skill tree even). True sequels to games are supposed to add things to their games that make it a unique yet similar experience to the first game in the series. For example, games like Dead Space 3 & Mass Effect 3 added a dodgeroll mechanic and a weapon customization table to add attachments to your weapons. These were subtle changes to the series but they helped make the experience fresh for fans of the franchise. In Dead Island Riptides case, it really felt like I was playing the first Dead Island all over again. That is not the impression you want to give off when creating a true sequel.
I am happy to say that the graphics seem to be a bit better in this game than in Dead Island. The island is brighter, more colorful and the shading seems to be better. The weapon mods and weapons themselves are more detailed as well. This is especially true of worn weapons that have blood and gore on them. There seems to be more of a variety of zombies in this game which was a nice change compared to killing what looked like the same zombie in the first one except with a different colored shirt on. Cutscenes unfortunately are just as laughably bad as the first game with better lip syncing done in asian movies translated over to english. Lazy eyes seem to be an epidemic having spread to most of the characters in this game, character animations are poor at best and some character’s facial reactions will either scare the hell out of you cause they are just downright creepy or make you laugh cause it’s just that bad. Either way, it is hard to pay attention to what they are saying when you are laughing or crying.
I can sum up this game in 4 words, more of the same. There really isn’t enough of a difference from the first game to this one to justify a purchase. Why would I want to pay $50.00 for a game that feels exactly like the first which you can purchase now for about $15? Your guess is as good as mine. So is it better than Dead Island? I think it’s all the same just a different island.