There's not enough new content here to justify the price tag.
By Bane Williams on April 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm
Techland seem to think they can breathe new life into the mutated, infected and somewhat overplayed zombie genre with their new game, Dead Island: Riptide — a spin-off of the original title in which you play the role of a survivor immune to the zombie virus, trying to escape yet another island. While the first game was fresh and lively, the sad truth is that the new game seems like a tired old clown performing the same old tricks in the hope of a new laugh.
The game banks heavily on you having previously played Dead Island, to the point where it’s basically a requirement if you want to follow along with the relatively bland story — and even though I finished the first game, I still had to go back to remind myself who some of the characters were and why I (still) shouldn’t give a toss about them. Many of the games’ basic activities aren’t explained and require a familiarity with the last game for you to even know about, especially things like modifying weaponry and utilising the fast travel system.
There are numerous problems with the game, apart from the fact that there is almost no improvement or innovation over the previous title. Many of the original grievances have been kept in, including a clunky ‘console friendly’ interface, a number of poorly-explained skills (one skill tells you to press both mouse buttons simultaneously, but you actually have to press them in sequence), and sounds that are frequently mismatched, such as the one involved every time you jump on a zombies face. Leaving a cave spouts reams of spontaneous and frequently wrong dialogue, and anytime you come back to the game you have to sit through it displaying every quest you’ve decided to go on.
If the games’ only let-down was that it didn’t focus on fixing previous issues, or didn’t add enough new content to make it worth playing, it could almost be forgivable. However Dead Island: Riptide also decides to drag you on a long, arduous, frustrating mission chain that will have you going around and around in circles, with no real progress and next-to-no fast travel options in sight. It’s certainly lengthy, but that length feels incredibly forced, unnatural, and ultimately boring. The sheer amount of copied-and-pasted areas doesn’t help to this overall feel.
It’s not all old and rusty, however. The game performs just as well as the first, and there are a smattering of new features such as the ability to perform small team quests (usually simple item fetches) that level up your team members and shopkeepers. There are defense quests that have you defending your territory, and are an enjoyable improvement to the game, especially in multiplayer. Multiplayer has had a few tweaks, and I found joining and leaving games both fluid and easy.
The game is (still) a perfectly competent zombie beat/shoot em up, and it’s almost as fun as the first experience was. But that said, a lack of an improved feature set, a frustrating quest line, and dialogue you’ve heard many times before (just how many times can Sam B throw the f-word into a sentence, anyway?) make Dead Island: Riptide seem like a repetitive chore — or worse, an underwhelming DLC masquerading as a fully-fledged game.
- If you enjoyed Dead Island, you’ll enjoy this
- Because it is exactly the same game
- No real improvement or innovation
- Demands familiarity with the previous title
- Not enough new content to justify the price ($70)
- Frustrating, boring and full of padding
- The same issues and complaints, still unfixed from the first game