Techland and Deep Silver bring us another fine zombie slasher with their follow-up to Dead Island, with Dead Island Riptide.
This is not Dead Island 2, it is not a sequel, no more than the next episode of your favourite soap is a sequel to the previous episode. There’s a continuation of the previous story but only as a setup for this one. This is not just DLC – there have been many improvements made over the previous game. Improved Physics, Improved UI, Balancing system for co-op allowing high and low levels to play together, and lots more.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse… and their Aussie mate.
Xian, Sam B, Purna and Logan are rescued from the Island of Banoi when they encounter a private military firm trying to “clean up this mess”. This obviously doesn’t go well for them as when they try to take Yerema away for tests and study her immunity to the infection, she refuses goes all native and bites a guard…..
Cue the Infected.
I really enjoyed the prologue as it gave me a chance to get a quick refresher course on how the game plays. Also great for new players to get up to speed with how the game plays before they are thrown to the wolves.
You do have the opportunity to import your Dead Island saved game, continue from where you left off, but from what I have heard this is only your level, none of your inventory or cash.
Since I couldn’t get my saved game to import – missing apparently, same thing also happened to a friend – I just started a new game.
For those of you that loved the previous game, this will feel as comfortable as putting your age worn slippers back on at the end of a hard day.
Navigating through the guts of the ship as all hell breaks loose, it felt immediately like the old game. That’s a good thing, too often games try to take a working formula and change it for the worse.
I did notice some very obvious screen tearing during the prologue cinematic, but none since that point. There have also been several bugs and glitches, like zombies falling through roads and decking – all sound disappeared at one stage, although a reload of your save fixes this and it only happened once.
The character movement at times feels a little glitchy like you are lagging and re running your steps, but honestly it doesn’t happen all that often and when it does its easily forgotten and in no way spoils my game.
These minor bugs don’t break the game nor do they take any fun away from it. In fact seeing infected run at you and fall down dead at your feet for no apparent reason is quite entertaining 🙂
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Something to get your teeth into.
The story seems to be ok, go here help those people, fetch this back so we can make this work…. the usual go fetch missions. That’s not to say its boring. Simply finding a boat took me 25-30 mins because there was so much for me to do in between.
That particular mission ended up dragging me off track to rescue some damsel in distress on top of a motor home – for a handsome reward this time btw – scavenging parts to make modified weapons, recovering lost cash from death and lots more, before I even found the boat.
During my travels I often discovered unexplored areas with hidden loot, so it pays to go off the beaten track at times.
The game certainly does keep you interested and you will quite easily burn 4-5 hours if you let yourself get dragged in.
The infected themselves feel a lot more dangerous this time. whether the developers ramped up the AI difficulty or what, but on my own I definitely feel the tension, and that helps retain a feeling of vulnerability.
But…the lack of any real penalty for dying, is a double edge sword. Yes you may die a hell of a lot but since you only lose cash on death, it seems a little pointless as you lose money, but there are so many bags and boxes and bins to search through to recoup your losses in no time and it feels a little pointless. So don’t be afraid to die.
The Thugs and tougher infected like Floaters and Butchers etc, fare much better this time around. They seem to have increased health and generally tougher overall. Each has a particular weak spot, Thugs and Floaters need to be attacked from behind, using elemental attacks such as poison and shock seem to help you a lot more in fighting these hulking infected monstrosities, although sometimes the best course of action is to avoid them, especially QUICKDEATH. He’ll tear you a new one before you get chance to say “ARGH!” yeh quickdeath… lives up to his name – nice one devs lol
Swamps..Flooded land, whatever you want to call it, this was the only bit to the game thus far that I deemed tiresome. Allow me to explain.
Sometimes missions lead you places the boats can’t get to or you just don’t have access to the boat at that time and getting to one would mean trekking half an hour in the wrong direction.
It’s so hard to find a boat nearby when you actually need it so I just traverse the water on foot instead. Avoiding the Drowners is very easy and especially if you have a stun gun. They are not a problem, let alone a threat.
The whole experience of using the boats is so uncomfortable, I just don’t use them.
In contrast, one of my favourite areas are the Deadzones. These are rpg dungeon like areas filled with an abundance of enemies, usually with great reward. They also contain tough elites or NPCs who appear to have more health than regular elites, making for a tough challenge; especially if you’re on your own.
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
The rewards for doing these can be weapons or mods or rare items needed to make mods. You also get a lot of xp and they can be good areas for levelling up your weapon skills.
TopTip: If you are having trouble with the deadzone mini bosses, keep some sonic grenades back for just this situation. They will make the heads of any infected caught in the blast wave explode. Great for crowd control.
Then there are the defense missions. which at first looked a great addition, but lugging fence around at incredibly slow rate – and that turn rate O_O – felt very cumbersome, to a point where I would rather do something else. These bits of the game would probably become more engaging with more co-op players as you can cover more ground.
Slice and Dice….
The combat system is as good as ever. Focusing on melee combat over firearms, although firearms are included. Pistols, flare guns, stun guns etc all have their own use. Be that taking care of Drowners, detonating butane cylinders as you toss them into a crowd for maximum effect, or simply setting them on fire with a quick flare to the face 🙂
There is little use in trying to take on a horde with just firearms. The game isn’t meant to play that way. Using melee weapons gets you close to the threat adding to the tension of the game. 5 or more infected in a group and, unless you have some bombs or an area effect weapon, you’re gonna have a bad time. Especially if they are runners. You just can’t shoot them in time even with headshots.
I know a lot of people online have voiced their displeasure at not being able to oneshot headshot for an instakill, because “they are zombies” but that’s just not the case here.
First of all they aren’t just undead zombies, Look at the Thugs and Floaters and Butchers etc even some of the later elites make it very clear, these aren’t undead, but genetic mutations.
Simply shooting them in the head doesn’t quite cut it. unless they are Suiciders, in which case the best course of action *is* to shoot them in the head, because they blow up.
But that’s just it – it’s a game mechanic that the infected are the way they are and not so easily taken down by guns, because that just wouldn’t be any fun.
It’s also much too easy to drift off into gun play in games and become just another shooter. Bravo to Techland and Deep Silver for not making it just another shooter.
If the guns were “realistic” then we’d all just grab ammo from the shops – because there’s plenty of holiday makers wallets to find littered in bins and bushes – and just shoot out way through the game and all the tension and shock of getting pounced on by infected jumping out of bushes to grab you and eat you all goes away with a couple of bullets 🙁 and thats bad in my opinion.
Instead there are a multitude of hammers, knives, sickles, batons, swords bits of sharp metal, anything that you would improvise in real life really and that’s what it’s all about. The survival aspect. you wouldn’t have access to weapons not at least firearms, so you make do. you construct your own out of bits of scrap you find lying around. A lot of people overlook that.
There certainly is a lot in this game to keep you occupied. I do recommend you pick it up and give it a go. Genuine bang for buck game in my opinion.
Graphics – 3/5 – not bad but lacking in certain areas, this could be to do with the age of the consoles and them being pushed as far as they can though.
Sound – 4/5 – ambient sounds as well as the sound effects of weapons and the gurgle of split throats were great – at all times i knew where a runner was coming from. even without headphones on, there was that bug with the sound but that was easily fixed with a reload
Replay – 5/5 – I’d play this game over and over. There’s so much to do – so many achievements to get you just won’t get them all on your first play through. If I wasn’t writing this review it’s what I’d be doing right now.
There are 5 characters to play with each having their own strengths, the ability to drop in drop out co-op with other people also gives great replay value.
Story – 3/5 – Since it’s an extension of the previous story a lot is assumed already and what you don’t know going into the game, the prologue fills in the blanks. it certainly has its moments tho especially when you meet the german scientist guy, hah he cracked me up 🙂
Fun factor – 5/5 – Cutting “zombies” up with machetes, setting them on fire and blowing them up with IED’s… just never gets old.
80% … 8/10 … 4/5