17 May 2013
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Review: Dead Island: Riptide

By Damian Seeto

Dead Island: Riptide is the sequel to the popular Dead Island original that debuted back in 2011.

This sequel continues the story of the original with the characters from the first game facing the aftermath of the zombie outbreak that hit them in the paradise island called Banoi.

Little do they know is that they’ll find themselves fighting for their lives again in another island located near Banoi called Palanai.

They managed to fight off the zombies the first time but can they do it all over again?

Zombies have featured in lots of other video game before, but the Dead Island series creates an eerie atmosphere that is rarely used in modern video games.

In recent Resident Evil and other “horror” games, the fear of any real danger is no longer present because you always have an abundance of guns and ammo that you can protect you all of the time.

The safety net of guns is gone in Dead Island because they’re rarely around when you need them to be and you’ll just have to fight off the zombie horde with any weapon that you can find.

The main new thing that has been added to Dead Island: Riptide is the introduction of an all-new playable character. The character’s name is John Morgan and he’s an Australian that slightly resembles Hugh Jackman.

He also can wield brass knuckles with claws that look a lot like the ones that Wolverine uses too. He is arguably the best character to play in the entire game because he used to be in the Navy.

Thanks to his past training, he is more efficient when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. Not to mention he has a really helpful kick too that can punt zombies several metres away.

His abilities can become really helpful since weapons don’t last very long in this game because they break or lose ammo.

If you have never played the original Dead Island game before, it’s not necessary to do so if Riptide is the first game you’ve played in the series.

I never played the original game before but was still able to pick up the story and gameplay mechanics quite quickly. At the very beginning of the game, there is a helpful recap of events explaining to us about what happened in the first game and how the characters end up getting stranded in another island in Riptide.

From a storyline standpoint, Dead Island: Riptide won’t win any awards, but it’s exciting enough for you to find out what happens next and to see if the characters will be able to escape the zombies for a second time.

What makes Dead Island: Riptide more unique compared to other survival horror type video games is its setting and non-linear style of gameplay. Most games that feature zombies are set in a post apocalyptic world where the world is darkened and the characters are fighting for their lives in narrow corridors and other claustrophobic environments.

This is obviously not the case with Dead Island: Riptide because as aforementioned, you are stranded on a nice looking tropical island named Palanai.

The best part about Palanai is that it’s an open world environment and most areas in the game accessible for you to explore at anytime. This isn’t a linear type of game where your path is already predetermined for you.

Dead Island: Riptide plays more like a sandbox game where you can accept different quests to undertake and even decide to put the main story on hold until you’re strong enough to continue.

This type of freedom makes the game a more refreshing experience compared to other survival horror games I’ve played in the past.

Graphically, Dead Island: Riptide is one of the most gorgeous looking games you will ever play this generation. The tropical islands that you will visit are truly stunning and beautiful.

Not to mention the terrain you will visit vary from villages to heavy jungle vegetation. This is a nice change from the depressing environments and settings that is usually associated with first-person perspective video games.

The best thing about the island landscape is that you can even ride in a jeep or even boats to help you get across the large environment. You can even run over zombies while riding in your jeep and boat too!

As much fun as Dead Island: Riptide is, it isn’t without its many flaws that potentially ruin what could have been a perfect video game. First of all, this game is not a single player video game by any means.

Yes you can play the game by yourself, but you’ll need to be an expert or very patient type of gamer if you want to play this game alone.

This is because the game can get insanely hard and it’s very frustrating to die all of the time when hordes of zombies are trying to kill you all of the time. It’s best if you play this game in four player co-op if you want to get the best experience out of it.

Another thing that really bugged me about this game is the clunky combat. The worst thing about the entire game is the stamina system. Every physical action that you do in this game depletes your stamina bar and you will have to wait for a few seconds before you can start running and/or attacking again.

This stamina system gets annoying especially when a bunch of zombies start surrounding you (which happens very often). You have no time to run away or keep attacking because this will give enough time for the zombies to start attacking again. I died so many times in this game simply because I had to wait for the stamina bar to replenish again…

I also think that Dead Island: Riptide could have been better had it been a played from a third-person perspective instead. The first-person style of combat becomes very clunky when zombies start attacking you from all sides.

This often makes your attacks seem useless because the screen goes off balance each time you get hit and it’s hard to know who is attacking you when you are unable to see from behind.

Had the game been played from a third-person view, all of these flaws would have been rectified. A game like Dead Rising shows that hand-to-hand combat against zombies work well from a third-person camera viewpoint better.

You will need a lot of patience and time if you want to succeed in Dead Island: Riptide. I found myself trying to scrounge for any weapon I could find in this game since you will go through a lot of them.

Each weapon you wield doesn’t last forever and its effectiveness decreases each time you use it. You can “repair” weapons in certain places, but this will cost you money.

I often found myself underpowered because my weapons were too weak and this often resulted in me dying lots of time and cussing at the screen too.

Dead Island: Riptide has great graphics and some unique ideas that could have made it a great game to play. Although the story is clichéd, I thought it was interesting enough gain my attention.

The main thing that prevents Riptide from being a good game is the frustrating and almost unplayable combat system. The combat is so jarring and unbalanced that I often find myself turning the game off for long periods of time just to regain my composure.

I suggest people should rent this game first to see if they can handle the awkward and repetitive combat before buying.

Graphics: 9.0Gameplay: 6.5Sound: 7.0
Lasting appeal: 7.0

Overall: 6.5

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