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Dead Island: Riptide [Xbox 360] Review

Posted on May 1, 2013 AT 08:40pm

The newest installment into the rapidly-growing lore of zombie madness has arrived, and unfortunately, that game is Dead Island: Riptide. While the first game was full of head-cracking melee madness, the sequel falls far short by being basically the same game. The Techland/Deep Silver product was fun the first time around. With the sequel now in the world, it’s time to see exactly what makes this game so different this time around.

After leaving the infected island of Banoi after the events of the first game, the group of immune survivors leave by boat only to be stranded on yet another island full of the undead. This time the infected members of the team, and a small group of survivors, have to thwart an insidious plot to stop the island from being bombed by nuclear weapons and completely annihilated. The four original survivors are joined by John, a hand to hand expert, and are faced with a few brand new types of infected, given brand new weapons, and forced to run around a deadly island all over again.

The island of Panalai is full of rivers, zombies, and destruction, though the island of Banoi was basically the same island with Panalai with subtle tweaks. Instead of tourists, its natives react to the survivors the exact same way as they did in the original title: they scream, run at you, and attempt to beat the hell out of you until you die. Basic zombie procedure. While there have been a few adjustments to the gameplay and mechanics, there is just not enough to make this game more than an add-on to the original. The real catch of the game is the ability to import your game from the original Dead Island into this one, though, there isn’t much reason to do so.

The combat mechanics seem to be one of the only truly varied aspects of the game with many different types of weapons, mods, and firearms available to the player. From the banal shovel to the insanely badass clawed brass knuckles, this game has a lot to offer as far as combat goes. Mods make things even more fun allowing the player to add poison to blades or saw blades to baseball bats. While there are times that the combat is very responsive, the odd bouts of lag and overall inaccuracy of several of the weapons can make it frustrating at times. The firearms are a great addition to the game (the lack of firearms in Dead Island was a bit ridiculous), though, they are not really obtainable until much later in the game. However, the best portion has to be the specializations. Each survivor has one weapon type that they are better with, making a bit more of a varied experience.

The story mode is where the game really falters. It is just the basic “land on island of zombies, kill zombies, leave island of zombies” motif as players move throughout the game. The characters are flat and are mostly there to serve as fodder to the hordes. The main story (and most of the side-quests) follow pretty basic standards; doing fetch quests, killing zombies and doing all the heavy lifting for a group of survivors that are basically useless without you around to bail them out. The characters have very little going on and respond as such. They are dry in delivery and tone, looking about as alive as the zombies roaming the island.

Summary: Dead Island: Riptide has a few great things going for it: good combat, varied weapons, and specialties and graphics just as well done as the original. The only problem is that Dead Island: Riptide is basically an expansion of the original game, and not something that should have been released as a stand alone sequel. The story is mundane, the characters are flat and boring, and there is very little variation on the premise of the game itself. Thus, making this a very disappointing follow-up to a game that was actually pretty fun.. If you’ve never played a Dead Island game before, this may be worth while. But to save time, money and frustration, play the original, it’s much more fun the first time around.

The Good: Varied Combat System, Old Fashioned Blood And Gore

The Bad: Boring Characters, Droning Story, Rehash Of The First Game

Grade: C-


Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for DigitalNoob.com. He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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