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Dead Island Riptide Review - PC Edition

Updated on May 9, 2013

Story (What there is of it)

Normally in a review, I would start out with a brief summary of the storyline but Dead Island has never exactly been a story heavy game and focuses more on chopping up zombies. Riptide leaves off, probably 20 minutes or so, after the end of the first game. Where you land the helicopter you escaped in from Hanoi on a ship and then are taken into custody for experiments.

Although the story is a direct continuation, you really don't need to know what happens in the first game to follow along. All you really need to know is that your characters are immune to the disease turning people into zombies and you're trying to reach safety. Really not that much else to it.

To those unfamiliar with Dead Island

This is a zombie action game with a first person perspective. I wouldn't call it survival because outside of losing money, death is not much of an issue. The game also has a lot of RPG elements including the ability to level up, having skill trees to pump points into, and weapons which have stats similar to those in Borderlands.

The game is all about destroying zombies in as many ways as possible and crafting some crazy weapons. You can electrify machetes, make shovels burn like a torch, or even make guns shoot lightning bullets. It is incredibly fun and satisfying to watch zombies fall to your creations.

All this taking place in a beautiful tropical paradise.

New Character - John Morgan
New Character - John Morgan

What's new?

All credit to the developers, although a lot of the game functions exactly like the first game, they did add a fair amount of new features to this.

#1 You start at level 15. This is minor but bears mentioning. You now can either import your character from the first Dead Island or start at level 15. Since this is a continuation they make everything higher level from the beginning which actually is pretty great. You are able to gain a bunch of skills to increase your killing power and makes you feel a bit like a BA zombie killing machine from the get go.

#2 A 5th playable character! Although if you are anything like me, you won't care about this option. The original cast is still there and I find them all to be far more interesting than the new guy but he has his perks. The most interesting being his hand-to-hand combat and the cool moves he can pull off because of it.

#3 Boats! These sounded cool at first but honestly, they are kind of a let down. They move fairly slow, although there is a "booster", and are more of a necessity for some parts more than something you'd use for the fun of it. Also they are really annoying to use in multiplayer for zombies constantly latch onto the passengers of the boat and will even pull them over sometimes.

#4 A new weapon type. Hand-to-hand is now an entirely new weapon type in the game. If you level it, your fists will start to do some damage but there are also claws and brass knuckles you can use that count for this type.

#5 Party Quests. As you gain more survivors in your journeys, the ones that run shops will periodically have fetch quests for you. These quests all consist of finding crafting items out in the world and turning them in for a reward and also a shop upgrade. The more of these quests you do, the better items shops will have.

#6 Improved Combat. This time around, the combat in the game feels a lot better. Combat in the first game felt incredibly stiff and unresponsive at times. Riptide has really improved this and I find the game to be a lot more enjoyable because of it. Guns also seem to be more powerful as well, though melee is still better.

Performance

Dead Island was pretty notorious for how buggy it was on PC when it first came out. Riptide...is still buggy but better than the first game was if that counts for anything.

When this game first went live the multiplayer did not work for 3 days, which was pretty awful as this game was made for co-op. That has since been fixed but I also have experienced save files being corrupted as did a friend of mine as well. This issue may have also been fixed but that I can't say for sure.

The game itself still has its fair share of bugs. These range from zombies spawning, literally, on top of you, enemies hitting you through walls, and some wonky places the camera can take you sometimes. These bugs are also pretty frequent. We often have zombies spawning out of thin air next to us taking us by surprise.

Granted these bugs can be annoying but I also find some of them to be pretty hilarious. Bugs can also make co-op even more fun as you have a laugh with your pals over it.

Is it worth it?

If you like killing zombies, this game probably does it the best. I've had a boat load of fun and if you have a friend or two to play this with you, I don't think you'll regret it. This is also a $40 title, so it is actually shorter than the first game. If you do all the side quests and explore a bit, it'll take you roughly 20 hours to beat the campaign, give or take a couple.

I will say that I hated the first area you are in. You start in a jungle and are constantly dealing with rivers instead of roads. Cars are also underplayed the entire game and are practically not used at all, which is a shame as I loved driving around in the first game. These issues aside, I still think it is worth it.

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    • OldGamer profile image

      Armin Treuer 4 years ago from Bern

      Very nice review. I personally didn´t like the game much, but you sum up its pros in a way even I could get convinced to give it a second try.