Review by Rob Roberts

Game Review: Dead Island: Riptide (PS3)

Game Review: Dead Island: Riptide (PS3)

The opening events of Dead Island: Riptide go something like this:

"Aw F*** man you guys, I can't believe we got captured right after the end of the first f***in' game"

"What the f*** is this some type of f***in' conspiracy"


"Aww f*** man, the four of us are f***in locked up again!"


"Hey, who is this f***in new playable guy? Think he's here to help us or hurt us?"

"Awww f*** an all new island!" "LOOK OUT WE MIGHT CRASH"

*CRASH*


"OH NOES!!!! MORE F***IN ZOMBIES!!!!!"


"Wait, yo, wasn't this the plot of Jurassic f***in Park 2?"


Okay, I may have taken some artistic license with the actual events that transpire in the opening moments of Dead Island: Riptide, but let's be real-- if Dead Island: Riptide is a game that sounds up your alley, the plot is of no consequence to you. You are here to kill zombies in as many creative possible ways as you can. You want it bloody and you want it laced with profanity like any good its-so-bad-its-good B movie.



Actually, the B movie comparisons wouldn't get out of my head during my time spent playing Dead Island: Riptide. Calling this game the equivalent of a B movie in video games isn't far off the mark. Cutting some corners with visuals to suit the lower budget? Check. Over the top voice acting that makes the events of the game sound bigger than something it really is? Check. Does it feel like a lower grade version of something we've seen before? Yeah, check.

The gameplay of Dead Island: Riptide will feel a bit more expansion than sequel to you if you played the original Dead Island. It is pretty cool that you can import your character from the first Dead Island game, but don't feel obligated to start there if you missed it. The plot will still be the same. Your character will get a boost to level 15 if you are new, providing you with many talents to start. The game can set these talents for you if you have no idea where to begin. Since Dead Island: Riptide has no difficulty setting, new players might want to go Survival, to stay alive a bit longer.



Like the special effects in Sharktopus, the graphics in Dead Island: Riptide are admirable in parts, but quite flawed in others, even if to the point of humor. I observed glitches such as beams of light that appear and disappear for no reason, shadows that inexplicably jump, and most comically, corpses that suddenly appear and collapse dead. Oh my, that couldn't possibly be one of those corpses set up to be a jump scare sudden zombie when I walk by it, could it?

Okay, so even if B horror movies have silly plots and bad acting, they often still bring the jump scares, and Dead Island does deliver some jumps. In the early stages of the game, I found myself being attacked from behind one too many times, that I was paranoid enough to keep searching around me every few steps. Creepy noises can always let you know if a zombie is close by, even if I thought sometimes they sounded like the creepers from Minecraft.



Honestly though, there's only so much B movie I can take. I really wanted to like the games borderlands-esque structure (you know, like the first game). However, traveling from place to place, the respawn of zombies that were conveniently close to my level got to be irritating more than anything. The scavenger in me liked collecting all the bits and pieces to build new weapons from, but would get irritated when the melee weapons I would build early on in the game would be ready to break after killing only about 15-20 zombies. Sure I can repair them, and things get better by the time you start building guns and things with FIRE, but by this point I was already a bit bored of the combat. Things that should be AWESOME like running over zombies with cars and zooming by them in boats got pretty old quick when zombies would overrun the boat.

I became very familiar with death as I would get overwhelmed by zombies. There's no real permanent penalty for death, per se. You lose cash, but cash can be found in every piece of pottery and woven basket on the island, it seems... so it's not a horrible deal. What's far more frustrating is getting sent to the last checkpoint only to see that trash zombies have respawned... immediately next to the check point. The game provides a little extra boost in health after death to prevent back-to-back deaths, but I wanted a boost in the games stamina bar. While i get it's unrealistic to continuously wail on zombies over and over again with the weapons you create, it the constant tactical retreats in melee combat to recover got old.



Friends make almost any video game better, and a co-op mode was smartly included in the game. It's a little weird as you can't just jump in and play any ol' match. You have to have at least advanced past the prologue, and you can only play with characters that are at the same chapter in the story as you or further back. The game will constantly remind you that story progression in earlier chapters won't carry over into your game. Although the game does contain public co-op via matchmaking, I wanted to play some co-op with Bobby Blackwolf here at VOG. We had a lot of trouble getting the game set up, as we would set up private slots, invite the other person, only to be told that no public slots are available (so then what exactly is a private slot?) but we got it to work by quickly turning on a public slot and hurrying thru the process before a stranger could join. Once we got it, we were able to fend off the packs of mobs with much greater ease. Although it didn't remedy some of the games major flaws, the co-op mode, once we got it working, was a far more enjoyable experience for the limited time we played it than anything I had experienced in single player.

Look, any good B movie has it's cult of fans, and I envision Dead Island: Riptide to be no different. If you enjoyed the first game, you'll be happy enough with the further quests and hundreds of different ways to kill a re-animated piece of flesh that are available here. For most gamers though, Dead Island: Riptide is a below average buggy and repetitive trip that is best "enjoyed" with friends and probably some stiff cocktails.

Format Reviewed: Playstation 3 "Special Edition" Blu-Ray, $49.99 MSRP
  Acquisition Method: Two copies (for co-op) provided by publisher

Our Grade:
D+
Your Grade: B
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
* Diverse lineup of characters and good customization thru talents, even if it's mostly the same group as the first game

* Customized weapons can be quite a bit of fun... even if they require repair far too soon after building them

* Co-op makes the game far more enjoyable... when you get it to work.... and frankly is probably the way this whole game should be played.
The Bad:
* The mob respawns and behavior become a bit predictable, honestly, and start to feel like more of a chore to get from part A to B rather than a fun ride

* Graphic bugs and frameskips provide unintentional comedy

* Nothing screams "throw the controller" like respawning after death to your last checkpoint where 2 respawned zombies are waiting to kill you again!

Rob Roberts, AKA Skie, is one of the co-hosts of Orange Lounge Radio here on the VOG Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @skie

Review by - 4/23/2013 5:20 PM712 views

Your Responses

Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: C+
Dead Island Riptide is one of those games that offers guilty pleasure to those who just want to have fun killing zombies with friends. Yes there have been no real improvements to the graphics and story, but that was never the point for the game. It's still buggy as hell, but it doesn't seem to have any game-breaking bugs like the last one (not yet anyways). Although it feels more like an expansion than a full game, it provides tons of hours of lasting appeal through leveling and new weapons.
See 1 More Dissenting Opinion
PodCulture
PodCulture
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: B+
Is D I: Riptide a great game? No. Is it more of the same? Yes, and that isn't a bad thing. I loved the first game, and being able to import my character from the original made this sequel stand out as a continuation of the story. Sure there are the graphic glitches that were in the 1st game, but like cheesy special effects in a B movie...it just adds to the charm for me. Plus creative ways to kill zombies makes it worth buying. Shooting a zombie in the nards with a flare gun...priceless.

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