Dead Island Riptide reviewed (PC): Underwhelming, by-the-numbers fan-service

Dead Island: Riptide

By 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

Dead Island: Riptide is $70 on Steam, or $40 on Green Man Gaming instead. This review copy was supplied by Deep Silver.

27 comments (Leave your own)

The Good points literally made me lol.


I pre-ordered it on steam last week, mainly because it included the first deal island GOTY edition.
I avoided the original until then due to all the bugs I read about, but had hopes that as this was the GOTY edition that they would be ironed out…. WRONG!!

The main issue with the original was awful sound distortion that was happening everywhere form menu to ingame.
Made it completely unplayable.
I tried every fix but to no avail.

Luckily as it was a pre-order I got my money back from Steam.

I won’t bother with the new one as I don’t hold out any hope that they have fixed the bugs from the original.
When a GOTY edition is released of a game, you at least expect it to work. So definitely not expecting version 1.0 of the new one to work either.



I’m not familiar with these sound issues.

I wouldn’t touch Riptide unless someone gave it to me for free, but I played through the first one a couple of times co-op. Apart from engine-related bugs and annoyances, I can’t say I remember any game-breaking bugs or sound issues.

Actually it was a shitload of fun, but charging $70 for Riptide is a joke. Oh wait, it’s not published by EA, it must be perfectly acceptable behaviour.

Bane Williams

The Good points literally made me lol.

I wish I could take credit for that, but our great leader, Tim Il-Colwill decided on that while I was basking in the glory of Iron Man 3. It pretty much sums it up.


Why even mention and entertain the Rip-off Australian Steam/Retail Price?
Cheaper at every digital store/key site that all Aussies should have in their repertoire at this point…

Was less than $30 from GmG at one point with a certain voucher, plus I’m having a ball with the free copy of Risen they bundled with the offer (Funnily enough, a game which is regionally restricted here for us)

Shame about it’s pathetically low 62.5 FOV, hopefully the modding community will fix this….strange it wasn’t even brought up or mentioned by this guy in his review however…??


The good points resemble every Call Of Duty game.

Holy shit, this is Call of Duty! It’s Activision in disguise. Those bastards.


Interesting review. It doesn’t seem like you’re particularly a fan of the series or genre, so it seems like an odd decision for you to review it – the same missions you said were bland/long and arduous I’ve heard were generally pretty good fun; killing zombies with customisable weapons is pretty hard to stuff up, after all. You also didn’t seem to really review the gameplay of the game itself, instead saying how it’s the exact same as the first game: sequel or not, it’s an odd way to review a game.

All that said, while I don’t exactly agree with the review (I don’t mean that in a bad way, all this stuff is subjective) I enjoyed reading it anyway. It’s refreshing to see someone review a game sequel this honestly. I am pretty tired of COD reviews never pointing out how insanely stupid the games are and how insulting they are to any intelligent gamer.

Bane Williams


Thanks for the criticism AusJoKeR. My initial intro mentioned just how much I enjoyed the first one (which is to say, a lot), but I cropped it due to flow issues. I really enjoyed the first game, and had fairly high hopes for this one also… but to be honest I pay money to play something I haven’t played before, not something I have. In my final paragraph I mention the game being almost as fun as the first game was.

If you take a critical look at the quest path, you will see what I mean about going around and around in circles. Dead Island had a fairly good measure of pace about it, and kept building up slowly and surely. This doesn’t. It’s go here to get to point x, oh you can’t? well try this. Oh you still can’t? Well make sure you go and explore every part of the map. Oh you still can’t? We’ll unlock that direct route for you like we should have done at the start of the game. It’s frustrating and tiring.

Bane Williams


If I had’ve gone on about every single aspect that was identical to the first game and how the developers failed to improve on that it would have been a 3 page review :)


The Good points literally made me lol.

Haha, same.

Thanks for the review, think i’ll be avoiding this given the points raised. Vote with your wallet, people.


stoibs: Why even mention and entertain the Rip-off Australian Steam/Retail Price?
Cheaper at every digital store/key site that all Aussies should have in their repertoire at this point…

Should have, but doesn’t unfortunately — we have to consider the (inflated) RRP when judging whether a game is good value or not. But I should add a GMG link to the article, so I have.

ausjoker: It doesn’t seem like you’re particularly a fan of the series or genre, so it seems like an odd decision for you to review it

I made sure to only give this review to a fan of the original, since it seemed that was who Deep Silver were aiming for with it. Bane’s exact words were “I had a rollicking good time with the first one,” so!


GreenManGaming voucher for $32

Seems they ended the free copy of Steam redeemable Risen Promotion.
Surprise bonus that I’ve already put 18+hrs into.
From the looks of all these reviews coming to light it might even be better then DI itself ;p
Ah well, no complaints here.


You should of gotten someone who hadn’t played the original and who is still stuck in 2007. Pretty sure that’s what most gaming sites did with all of the COD’s. Then this would have had a great review!


I loved the first dead Island. But if it’s more like an expansion than a sequel – which I gathered from the gameplay previews I watched and now confirmed by this review – I think I’ll wait until it’s at a reasonable price for an expansion.


I happily paid $40 for it on GMG, got a free copy of risen and the survivor DLC, not a bad deal really.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and as such, will happily play through riptide, even if it is simply new areas and not much else.


Out of principal, for gouging Aussies…. I will wait for this to be $5 on steam. Deep Silver had the chance to get $20 or $30 bucks out of me for this “Expansion” but seeing as they are greedy I will take a stand & give them next to nothing.


I wouldn’t touch Riptide unless someone gave it to me for free,

I was gifted this, but im not even sure i want to play this now….


stoibs: Why even mention and entertain the Rip-off Australian Steam/Retail Price?
Cheaper at every digital store/key site that all Aussies should have in their repertoire at this point…

I believe the point of the Steam price is a fairly clear viewpoint of what the publisher thinks it is worth. They’ve very definitely priced it as a standalone game, not as DLC/expansion.

I think that’s a pretty fair gauge for slamming a game on its value. The coupons and deals you can find for a game aren’t really relevant to the fact that the publisher believes this is a true sequel, which fully justifies Bane’s criticism’s of the lack of innovation and so forth, at least IMO.

If it was DLC for $15, most of those criticisms would be totally unfair. And, short of a game being directly available through a company’s website, I think the Steam listed price is probably the best one to go on when judging perceived value.

Having said that, it’s also good when GoN point out you can get the game much cheaper somewhere else. Though their deal with GMG probably means it’s still going to be up to the comments section if GMG are not the cheapest :)

Bane Williams


The developer has stated ‘spin-off’ but that was basically him saying ‘we don’t want to call it a DLC or expansion, because people will complain about its price, but if we call it a spin off when people complain around the sequel time we’ll have fans that will rally to the defence of the game.


welp you may be all disgusted with me but i enjoyed dead island (didnt have any sound troubles cept for bad accents), and gonna keep eye out of steam sales for this one cheap.

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