Level Up! Dead Island: Riptide Review (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Source: Mania.com

How much you enjoy Dead Island: Riptide will largely depend on how much you enjoyed the original game. Deep Silver’s sequel to the zombie action survival game remains largely the same in terms of gameplay. Riptide takes place immediately after the ending of Dead Island, with the four survivors - ex-football player Logan Carter, rapper Sam B, Hong Kong police officer Xian Mei, and Australian bodyguard Purna - landing on an aircraft carrier after escaping from the prison island. They are taken into custody by the ADF Colonel Sam Hardy and Frank Serpo, a civilian VIP. They meet another immune survivor, John Morgan, a soldier who claims Serpo stopped the military's evacuation. The players wake up to find the ship overrun with zombies. Serpo flees via helicopter shortly before the ship on crashes on the shore of the island of Palanai where they meet Harlow, a WHO researcher, who tells them the zombie infection has spread there as well.

So basically what all this means is you’ve added on new character and exchanged one zombie infected island for another. Like the original, combat is largely hand-to-hand and consists of a large amount of weapon building/customization to create more powerful weapons. This does allow for a wide range of weapon types although when it comes down to it, the effects are not drastically different and combat itself grows tiresome due to the repetitiveness. There’s not much diversification in the way the zombies attack you or in the way you attack them. While there are different types of zombies the way you end up approaching them and their attack patterns is not all that different. Now sure, the blood and gore effects are fantastic, just as in the original Dead Island and theirs is a certain amount of glee in beheading a zombie with a machete and watching the blood spurt. The sound effects of the destructive attacks are also ghoulish and yet amusing.

Dead Island: Riptide is very much a mission-based game. You’ll find yourself traversing the island of Palanai from one end to the other to locate an item and return it. Within the main mission are several side mission, and to complete them all you’ll find yourself fighting through hordes of zombies. Here’s a tip…plowing through them in a vehicle is faster and more fun than engaging them in melee, or at the very least it’s a nice change of pace. But the missions come off as more busy work than anything to give the game some meat. There isn’t a great deal of satisfaction in completing the missions with the exception of gaining experience points.

The XP are used role-playing style to upgrade your combat abilities such as making weapons more powerful, improving your aim with guns, improving your stamina, or adding additional inventory slots. The XP rewards are generous and leveling up becomes the game’s greatest reward. Most of the gameplay is equally as generous. There are frequent checkpoints and unlimited lives with the only penalty being a loss of cash. This is one of those games whose length depends on how much you want to wander about, explore, collect loot, and hack-n-slash zombies but figure 10 – 16 hours or more if your diligent and don’t get bored too easily.

As in the first game the game suffers from some inconsistencies in the graphics in regards to frame rates. Not enough to scare you off but certainly noticeable. The voice acting is also inconsistent and ranges from thrilling drama to over-the-top, “B”movie-style campiness.

Riptide offers four player co-op play and one of the unique aspects is that co-op play scales the enemies to your level, thus a higher level player joining at the beginning of the game will face enemies that are a more even match for his level.

In the end Riptide is more of the same which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Mania Grade: B-
Title: Dead Island: Riptide
Publisher: Deep Silver
Rating: M (Mature)
Platform: PC, Xbox, PS3