Toby wonders what Techland have even been doing for the last year.
By Toby McCasker on March 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm
Man, I am so pumped to check out this new Dead Island DLC. A little belated, I thought, but I mastered the art of fly-kicking walkers in the face in the first one and enjoyed that very much a lot. What the hey, hey.
So I make a terrible faux pas when I sit down to check out its co-op by declaring way too out loud, “What took this DLC so long? Purna fly-kicks, aw yiss, youthful internet exclamation, hashtag, I’m too old to be presenting myself this way.”
“Dude, it’s not DLC,” someone hisses. “For heaven’s sake, keep your voice down.”
It’s really not, either. It’s a direct sequel to the 2011 original, which suggests maybe a year or so for its development. That’s not very long, but you’ve still got to wonder just what Techland were actually doing in that year. Were they working on Borderlands 3 in secret while TimeGate sank Coronas and mashed keypads with their fists? It’s exactly the same game.
All the assets are the same. The character models are all the same. Even the spoken introductions as delivered by the four returning player characters are exactly the same. The plot hasn’t even given it anywhere to go, maybe on lazy purpose. After you all made it off Banoi island, you’ve crash-landed right back down… on Palanai island. Island, island, island.
Everything is familiar and not in a comfortable way, more like a confused, head-scratchy way. It all plays the same. You have the same moves, the skill trees seem unchanged (from what I can remember), identical working cars are still around, and zombies streak through the palms at you like they always have. In most cases, they’re same zombies you’ve stomped a bajillion times before.
There are some new things, but they’re so tacked on I’ve made a list of what I noticed and it’s a skinny list:
New zombies. There was some crazy leaping Wolverine corpse that came at me in a brotherly manner during one of the horde mode bits, plus some other thing that diffused a cloud of green fart on me one time. Both were encountered once each.
Horde mode. Every now and again the story will find some excuse to trap you all in a — literally, sometimes — burning ring of fire. Then a metric bum-ton of zombies will file in and you’ll probably die a lot because Purna fly-kicks are funny but not that killer.
Boats. The swamp catamaran mobiles are kind of fun, and can boost along for a little bit but otherwise travel really slowly. This sucks, because every now and again one of your crew will get pulled out of one by a zombo, and if you die, you respawn miles away from where the boat has gone and that’s a lonely, treacherous journey back to your (former?) chums.
Sort-of new weapons. There are a bunch of newish killing utensils, but they’re all unusually titled variations on the same slice/dice/bludgeon tools of ’11 (“Feeble Stick of Uncertain Destiny” or whatever).
One new character, John Morgan. He’s a cook mysteriously trained in the art of hand-to-hand biff. Purna’s backstory is still better-stupider. Harlow is this new chick who follows you around sometimes and she’s very attractive, sort of looks like Ruby Rose. You can’t play as her. What.
So, not exactly what you’d expect from an official sequel, but reportedly the price tag will match the effort. It might as well have been a downloadable addendum to the first game, because it’s exactly that so far. The weirdest thing about it is that it seems a lot less confronting, too. Limbs and heads and stuff don’t seem to come apart in a blaze of gory with quite the same ease as yesteryear, and there are no bikini zombies to make everyone uncomfortable.
It’s hard to make the “more of the same is OK ‘cos it was already good” argument here, seeing as there was already a lot of the first game to keep you entertained — so maybe, I don’t know, if you really liked it and must play it again with the word “Riptide” after “Dead Island,” that’s cool.