Dead Island: Riptide Review

A fun apocalypse co-op adventure that is filled with numerous technical issues and bugs.

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ead Island: Riptide is a direct sequel to the critically acclaimed zombie apocalypse Dead Island. Dead Island franchise combines MMORPG elements such as talents, leveling up, different qualities of loot and just any basic MMO principle you can think of really.

So how does the sequel fare against the original title? As always, I’ll be going over the presentation of the game, gameplay, trophies and of course the final word. If you’re interested in how to survive this zombie apocalypse adventure with your friends, or alone then continue reading down below.

Presentation

The Dead Island universe was always about immersing players on a beautiful island that is overrun by the civilians who are now zombies that have become an unstoppable force of nature. Techland does a decent job at making the Island beautiful and lush and yet very dangerous and somewhat scary at times.

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The story in Dead Island: Riptide picks up right after the end of the original game and continues on from there. As far as the story itself ,  it’s nothing we haven’t seen or heard of before in movies or video games. Do not expect an amazing thrilling drama ride throughout the course of the game. Basically in a nutshell you and the other three people are immune to the zombie virus and are trying to survive and at the same time figure out who’s behind all this and figure out what’s going on. It works well for the game and makes perfect sense to be stranded on a beautiful island, but that’s about it.

The game looks good overall, however, Dead Island: Riptide is full of technical bugs and graphical issues such as constant frame-rate dipping.

The game looks good overall, however, Dead Island: Riptide is full of technical bugs and graphical issues such as constant frame-rate dipping, noticeable sound clipping and even small occasional one second long freezes that happen way too frequently. The main menus and just the overall theme of the game fits well with what Dead Island: Riptide is trying to convey. It is a horror game that tries to be somewhat scary, but more action packed rather than anything else.

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The soundtrack is good and fits the game well. The music is a combination of suspense and sometimes fast paced techno depending on the scenario in the game. However, I previously stated that there are noticeable sounds clipping issues, and that can get pretty annoying. The zombie sounds are good and sometimes can scare the player if they are caught at a bad moment, especially if they are lurking around from the dark corners.

Overall, the presentation in the game is solid, but the big issue is that it’s hampered by technical problems, and that is quite unfortunate. Hopefully Techland can release a patch and possibly improve the performance of the game and clean out some of the glaring bugs.

Gameplay System

Dead Island: Riptide has an interesting gameplay design that combines first-person action, RPG and MMO elements all together to create jack of all trades and a master of none. This formula is what made the original Dead Island so successful because it managed to take in all these things together and make a fun experience for the players to enjoy.

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Just like a traditional MMO you are free to explore the island at your will and take on side quests, find hidden collectibles such as postcards, tourist guides, audio recordings and secret files. However, you can choose to ignore exploration and just follow the main quest-line instead if you’re eager to finish the story and get it over with. What I love about Dead Island: Riptide’s exploration aspect though is that it always rewards players with loot, experience and random scenarios that can be a lot of fun.

This game was designed for cooperative play from the ground up and its the way it must be played in order to enjoy it to its full potential.

Dead Island: Riptide does a good job at implementing RPG elements into the game design. The talent system is easy to understand, and most abilities or passive bonuses are actually helpful and don’t feel useless. For one of my characters I specialized in survival bonuses where repair costs for items were lowered, less money was lost when you died, more health, bigger inventory space and so on. Survival is quite important in Dead Island: Riptide, the more perks you have to survive, the easier it will be for you tackle on harder zombies and escape tougher situations. However, I could have went into the offensive skill tree instead of survival for faster killing and more damage.

The side-quests in Dead Island: Riptide are your average fetch quests for the most part. Go there, find this, bring it back or kill this monster. Don’t expect any innovation for the quests in this game, it’s not a bad thing though because it works well for the game and gets the job done. However, doing side-missions sometimes feels repetitive at times and you just want to either continue with the main quest or just explore instead.

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Dead Island: Riptide adds a new gameplay element to the franchise that I would like to call “Horde Defense”. During these events,  you and your survivor partners have to bunker up and prepare for an upcoming zombie attack. Players can take fences and put them up at specified spots, mount machine guns and collect ammo and supplies before starting the event.

It’s a cool idea that makes the co-op gameplay more frantic and fun. When the event starts a life-bar appears on top of the screen which indicates the horde’s health. Once the health is completely depleted the horde stops coming and you are finished with defending the zone.

The best thing that Dead Island: Riptide has to offer is definitely the co-op. This game was designed for cooperative play from the ground up and its the way it must be played in order to enjoy it to its full potential. However, if you’re looking for a decent single-player zombie slaying experience then that’s fine to, but its not as enjoyable and engaging as opposed to playing with your buddies. I had a few difficulties trying to start up a co-op game due bugs so I had to find a way around it, but once I did it was a complete blast.

Trophies

Dead Island: Riptide overall is a good game that has a unique experience to offer as opposed to other first-person shooters.

The trophy list in Dead Island: Riptide consists of collecting all the hidden items, completing all of the quests available in the game, finishing the main quest-line cooperatively, killing a certain amount of zombies with specific abilities  and reaching the level cap for your survivor.

Dead Island: Riptide strongly encourages players to explore the world. By doing this, majority of the trophies should be unlocked naturally as you play the game. All in all, this game has a good enjoyable and non-annoying trophy list with an achievable platinum.

Final Verdict

Dead Island: Riptide overall is a good game that has a unique experience to offer as opposed to other first-person shooters. However, the technical bugs, choppy frame-rate and sound clipping issues can hurt the experience, and that makes the game, not as enjoyable as it should be. The co-op mode in the Dead Island franchise is the real meat of the game, and this is where the players will have the most fun for their buck.

Although, starting a co-op game can be a bit of a pain due to bugs. Hopefully Techland releases a patch sometime soon and fix these issues. In a nutshell, if you enjoyed the original Dead Island and want more of it, then Dead Island: Riptide will give you just that.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

The Good

Co-op is a blast, combines elements from different genres pretty well, decent voice acting and good soundtrack, exploring in the game is fun, the gore is fantastic.

The bad

Technical bugs, sound clipping, choppy framerate/bad optimization, side-quests can get somewhat repetitive overtime.

FINAL VERDICT

Dead Island: Riptide excels at delivering a fun co-op zombie experience and the combination of multiple genres into one. However, technical issues and bad optimization can really bog down the overall experience.


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