Publishers: Deep Silver
Plot: After escaping Hanoi, a storm leaves the four survivors stranded on another island, with the same zombie outbreak.
Yes, Dead Island Riptide is just as bad as you heard it was. Perhaps, bad is the wrong word for it. In the game’s defence, it doesn’t make many more mistakes than the first Dead Island game did. The reason this game is so hated is because, while we put up with the flaws to the original because it was something new and noteworthy, Riptide doesn’t get the same pass. In fact, as the game opens up and you begin playing through it, it becomes abundantly clear that Techland have ignored all of the issues we told them about with their last game. Therefore, there is this overwhelming sense of laziness about the whole affair.
Riptide offers up the fact that it is possible to transfer your save data from the last game, so as you return to the Dead Island universe, you can instantly have the same hero you had last time, complete with their level and skill tree that you worked so hard to acquire. On paper, it sounds good, but it turns out that all it does is steal one of the best things about a zombie RPG. When you are already around Level 50, levelling up feels more tedious, without the sudden burst to start you off. Also, as I complained about with the last game, seeing as the enemies level up alongside you, meaning that the missions never get any less difficult, all this feature does is make your opponents annoyingly unkillable. When most of the missions are fetch quests, which ask you to traverse an open world full of zombies, it hurts the fun dramatically, when almost every single zombie on the road is going to give you an evenly matched fight. Dead Island descended into tedium, slowly over time, as the fun of the new style of gaming began to ebb away. Riptide is dull from the very first few chapters. You know the drill and the game shoves you back into the adventure, with little thought as to how to keep it interesting. Again, most of the missions are fetch quests, so the layout of the game doesn’t even feel inventive. Sometimes it intrigues you (one quest is the same dull format, but the prize at the end of it is to electrify your current hide-out, directly making later fights easier), but on the whole, you end up racing through the game, rather than slowing down to admire it. Riptide becomes a chore, not a form of entertainment.
However, the flaws are well-known in gaming circles. Let me go through some of the positives. At least Riptide does what it says on the tin. If you left Dead Island craving more, then this is the game for you. In fact, story-wise, the actual plot is a lot better. The supporting cast are more interesting, a few double-crosses and twists thrown into the mix, so when the game gets to its dullest, it is the narrative that keeps you fighting your way to the end. Sadly, the voice-acting and graphics on the actual character models stops the story from being overly riveting and the story-telling suffers, but once you’ve come to terms with it, you might want to put up with it to see where this story is going. Also, it does fix the biggest problem I had with the last game. Dead Island is designed to be a multi-player experience, but when you find single-player campaign more fun, there were strange discrepancies with the game. You would be going through a map on your own, but when a cut-scene was triggered, your three allies would be there beside you, as though they were hanging around you all the time. It was lazy and an easy fix. Well, while the majority of problems haven’t been sorted out, this one, thankfully, has. Wherever you are in the game, your group of survivors will hole up in a fortress of some sort. The other three playable characters will hang around there, defending your territory while you are out doing whatever the game asks you to. The fortress is often subject to horde attacks during certain fragments of the game. Sure, these missions soon devolve into tedium as well, but for a brief moment, it is a fresh take on the Dead Island series.
Final Verdict: Dead Island Riptide is essentially more of the same, but it does mean that things get stale for quicker than you would like.