Dead Island: Riptide [XBox 360 Review]

Kristopher Diaz
 
May 13th, 2013

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Dead Island Riptide is a sequel to Dead Island released back in 2011. At first I had my doubts about this title given I couldn’t suffer through the first game long enough to beat it.  Riptide thankfully started off with a nice recap of the events from the first game from beginning to end.  So if you are picking up Dead Island Riptide and never played the first game, can’t quite remember what happened, or like me, simply never finished, this will get you up to speed. The four characters from the original game along with a new character, John, a humanitarian soldier, who’s special is hand to hand combat long with the ability to learn weapon skills faster. Now if you had a save file from the original you can load your character and stats as well as your level from your save file.

The game starts on the boat you were brought to using the helicopter you used to escape the island.  Now what would be creepier than waking up on a boat that is being overrun by zombies taking on water in the middle of a storm?  Warning lights flashing, long dripping corridors and the further you travel the water goes from around your feet to your knees.  In the original Dead Island the hotel at the start was probably the scarest part of the game, at least in my opinion.  While this is was not quite as scary, it was indeed a very new and interesting setting to start off on.

The story for Dead Island Riptide starts off being pretty generic with repetitive objectives. Go here find this, grab that, and now go here is pretty much a good two thirds of your story quests.  It does get better just stick it out and you won’t regret it.  It just so happens that the island that you’re drifted upon is slated to be nuked.  So not only do you have to survive to get off this island like you did in the past but now time is not your friend because an impending doom lies in wait for you.  Desperate times will lead to desperate measures, but it seems to take a long time and a lot of “go, here grab this” to lead to those desperate measures.

This game looks absolutely stunning. I was taken aback the minute I woke up on, yes a new island not the same one as the first.  A good amount of detail was put into this paradise gone undead.  While this game is filled with undead, blood, and bodies everywhere it still manages to display this rather beautiful laid out and sizable island, even though I enjoyed the scenery, after traveling through the world I didn’t find myself as impressed with the land as the first game. It felt like a step back rather than forward.

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Through traversing this island you can find several vehicles in which I feel was much better to navigate this time around.  It didn’t feel it was as touchy, had momentum and weight to it; giving it an all-around more controllable driving experience.  There is also a boat you get to travel around in and deal with you guessed it!  Zombies!  Zombies, numerous zombies, are in the water trying to climb into your boat to eat at your flesh.

When it comes to the game play it offers I found this area to be one of the few problems with Dead Island Riptide.  When aiming the gun the movement of your weapons is severely reduced; making getting that headshot not as easy as one would think.  The movement, while giving your character weight in shifting momentum from right to left and forward to back, was rather slow in response time.  It was a little too much. The melee combat was fantastic, making it the highlight.  However, it feels repetitive and the animation of the zombies and even your character seem a bit off at times.

The AI is well done. In times where you’ll be swarmed with zombies, using your wit to outsmart and out maneuver them, they will react and adjust their behavior based on your actions.  In Riptide you’ll being fighting hordes of zombies, finding yourself in some sticky situations fighting off four or more at a time. They seem to spawn endlessly from certain locations, which depending on the type of player you are could be a good or bad thing.

The crafting system is fun and unique, giving a reason to gather and search what you can when you can all the while birthing interesting weapon combinations for some zombie carnage. Among those combinations were flaming shovels and electrified katanas, just to name a few. There is even a wolverine like claw for fist combat, part of the reason I chose John.  Just like in the original your weapons do deteriorate as they’re used, great feature. The work bench is not only for crafting, but also repairing as well as upgrading what you currently have; making it stronger, better, faster.

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The talent system in Dead Island Riptide remains close to the original, allowing you to gain new abilities like an upper cut attack or to reduce the stamina consumed while running, jumping and more. The trouble with the talent system is that many of the talents offer only subtle change unless you put all points into it.

The sounds effects add a certain ambiance, making the thrills more thrilling and the environment more rich and alive. The sound mixed with the rich textures and environment make for an immersive world that you would find yourself roaming for hours, whether for the sake of just killing zombies, leveling up, exploring or just progressing the story.   If you have a gaming headset plug it in and enjoy this as it will only enhance the experience.

As with the original, I would recommend this game to be played with a friend or others, while it does seem to be fun played solo as well. With another or others to play with, it just adds so much more to the game.  If you have one or more friends to play this with or were a fan of the first this is a great buy.  If you’re a fan of shooters and want a zombie shooter this is not really for you. The gun combat is very much lacking in overall control.  As with the mobs of zombies in Dead Island Riptide the more the merrier. A go to game for its drop in drop out co-op.

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Dead Island: Riptide
Techland
Score
3.7\5
Visuals
3.5
It’s a beautiful Island for sure, but the character animations mixed with clipping really drag down the experience. While having unique zombie designs and some decent weapon animations.
Sound
4
You’re given a sense of being on an island. Birds chirping, random ruffles in the trees, movements in the distance, the random snarls and groans of zombies. All in all it brings an immersive experience keeping you on your toes listening for what is going on around you so you know where to react to.
Controls
3.5
Melee controls are seamless with the exception of certain hit detections. You’ll be fending off so many you’ll find stamina being your greatest foe. When it comes to the gun controls, here is where it really lacks. When aiming you movement with the cross hair is almost that of like aiming down a scope in other games.
Game Play
4
Playing through this game you’ll come across many NPC’s that aren’t actually useless as they will hold off zombies so they are not completely swarming just you. Given the ability to travel by both land and sea it really adds to some interesting zombie carnage. The main story has a few too many fetch quests, but there is a gooey red center in the end. The unique zombies and weapon combinations add greatly to the game play.
Fun
3.5
While I did enjoy the game I felt really gripped in for the first few hours, and then I felt very disconnected for many hours until things finally started to pick up again. With the amount of zombies in this game it is very unfriendly at first but as you level up and get the awesome weapon combos your ability and strength begin to match their sheer numbers. The game is much more enjoyable with others.

META

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