Dead Island: Riptide review

by Harry Hughes Featured

38 Comments 28 Votes 31156 Views 03/05/2013 Back to Reviews

More like Dead Franchise, amirite?!

Dead Island: Riptide Got Right
  • + Smooth visuals
  • + Solid gameplay engine
Dead Island: Riptide Got Wrong
  • - Characters are shockingly unconvincing
  • - Missions are tedious and repetitive
  • - Frustrating Plot
  • - Co-op is broken out of the box

It's hard to think of a title in recent memory that has shown so much promise in the opening minutes before fizzling out to become such a standard affair. Such was my experience with Dead Island Riptide, however, which assured me in the opening cinematics that it was not going to repeat the mistakes of its predecessor. The opening segment of play, set aboard a military sea vessel off the coast of Banoi, demonstrates the unforgiving spread of the outbreak that took over Banoi in the events of the original Dead Island title, and convinces players that the story unravelling will be of epic proportions.

What a shame it is that the prologue of this title could be so deceiving..

Once the excitement of the opening scenes dies down, players find themselves stranded on the island of Palanai. This is where the hellish experience of Riptide truly begins. Not hellish as in “OMG THE ZOMBIES THEY’RE POUNDING ME,” either, but hellish due to the deja-vu feeling induced by the issues evident in this game that also hindered its predecessor. It’s hard to even know where to begin in describing the frustrations found in playing through this game.

I suppose the story would be the ideal place to start. While the opening scenes will have players almost drooling, just waiting to find out what will happen, it’s a steep, downhill ride from there. The story quickly degrades into a “He’s the bad guy,” “No, she’s the bad guy,” squabble-fest. Pair this with objective-based play that becomes almost purely-focused on fetch quests and horde survival, and you have a scenario which will force players into watching Days of Our Lives out of boredom.


If an unconvincing plot wasn’t enough in the original title and in this one, then the inevitable third title (as hinted to by the ending in this title) will surely put the nails in the coffin of the Dead Island franchise.

For what it’s worth, the gameplay holds up reasonably well. Combat mechanics are as fluent as one could hope, and movement and game physics allow players ease of movement through the game’s paradise-like environments. In fact, I would say there’s very few issues with the mechanics of play. That said, players are still likely to prefer smashing their face on their keyboard, simply for the fact it offers more variety than collecting items on elongated fetch quests and slaying hundreds of zombies one by one for no apparent reason.

The visuals, like the solid game engine, are deserving of praise. Environments generally look great, with some landscapes looking downright amazing. Idyllic views of Palanai are commonplace, and players will soon find themselves longing to be part of this serene island, despite the health risks it offers in contrast to their homes. Simply put, Riptide looks nice, with beautiful depictions of apocalypse-ravaged islands.


Unfortunately, there’s little else I can describe as enjoyable in this title. In fact, those who can look past the frustrating story and the yawn-inducing missions will find a slew of entirely new problems. I’ll spare detail on a number of issues, but a simple outline of problems evident in this title should be enough to justify my frustrations with it.

The GUI is anything but intuitive. New quests don’t always come into focus. Dialogue is horribly unconvincing, and does not sync up with characters’ mouth movements even remotely. Building and upgrading items is ridiculously expensive -- to the point of being worthless -- and item prices are all over the shop (excuse the horrible pun). Infected enemies come at you wave after wave after wave, even if the area was clear of enemies just seconds before you entered combat.

If these elements of play were added deliberately in order to challenge the player, then I seriously hope they’ll be reconsidered by game designers for any planned sequels, for they serve as nothing more but a mere annoyance to the player. A persistent annoyance at that.


Finally, there’s one huge, gaping hole in the game that was evident out of the box, and that is the lack of a working co-op gamemode (on PC). Co-op is one of the few ways this game can be enjoyable (as was the case with the original Dead Island), and yet, I found myself having to download software to run a virtual network and have my friends do the same if I wanted to play the game with them.

This is an unnecessary amount of effort for something that was supposed to be included with the game’s release, and one that had negative effects on the playing experience for all of us, too.

In 2013, this sort of mistake is not in any way justifiable or excusable. The inability to readily access multiplayer in a co-op game makes me wonder how thorough the testing processes were before Riptide’s release. This goes for many of the aforementioned issues, too.

The Final Verdict

Dead Island: Riptide is not worth your time. Despite a promising prologue, everything turns to crap quickly. Missions are almost universally tedious and repetitive, characters are horribly unconvincing, and co-op multiplayer is apparently missing altogether. If for some reason you still wish to purchase and play this game, simply set your waypoint for each mission and run. You’ll thank me later for saving you from the boring gameplay.

Dead Island: Riptide

Platform: PS3 / Xbox / PC
Developer: Deep Silver
Similar to: Dead Island, Left 4 Dead 2
 
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Dead Island: Riptide review Comments

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Is this game fun? Yes. Review over.

(That's the only thing that matters)
From what I've seen, this is glorified DLC in a new release package.
I actually quite enjoyed this game the storyline was great though I do admit it was repetitive on some missions overall I would give this game a 8.5

CMTony said: Is this game fun? Yes. Review over.
(That's the only thing that matters)


There's nothing about the game that's fun. If I wanted to run between places to collect lone items that characters only intermittently decide are useful, then I'd close this game, and do my grocery shopping at the supermarket one item at a time, while walking between the supermarket and my house.

Heller said: From what I've seen, this is glorified DLC in a new release package.


Indeed. It's a whopping price for what you get, too..
id just like to see them fix up the co-op for console it freezes for a lot of ppl xbox is bad but ps3 is terrible
Ill pick it up once i can get it from a key store under $20.. Nice review Harry.very honest :)
come on bargain bin !
I am about 70% of the way trough the game and really enjoying it. One thing also i think you are missing is the FUN factor. Where you say you just go fetch things here and there you do that in most games.

Yes its not perfect but it is one of the most fun this year so far. 8/10 so far for me.

Heller said: From what I've seen, this is glorified DLC in a new release package.


It's actually as big if not bigger than the previous game, so it may as well be a full blown sequel. There is not alot different between the games, but there is enough. The visuals are nicer, the coop isn't broken for me (bought it on europes release day so possibly any problems had been fixed by then) and I have put many hours into, probably more than alot of other games I have bought.

Than again I loved the first game, I have finished it alone once and in coop 4 times, I always delete my old character and start again to try leveling up different ways or doing different things first or even just running around kicking zombies in the head for a couple of hours.

I said it in the forum thread a couple of weeks ago if you didn't like the first one move along, there is nothing here that will convince you otherwise, but if you did like the first one then you will find more of what you enjoyed in this plus extra stuff that you may or may not enjoy, at the least you know you will enjoy what is the same, so if that is worth the money to you then purchase it

ThrashLord said: I am about 70% of the way trough the game and really enjoying it. One thing also i think you are missing is the FUN factor. Where you say you just go fetch things here and there you do that in most games.


Though I respect that you (and others) found fun in the game's proceedings, I simply can't agree that it's fun. Combat has barely evolved since the original title.. it is pretty much a waste of time, in fact, to bother killing zombies and looting them, as new gear you buy degrades so quickly, and enemies scale to your level anyway..!

Yes, many games feature fetch quests, but not to the extend seen in Riptide.. Within the first two hours alone, I could count the number of missions that didn't involve running a 600m round trip (minimum) for a lone item or two on one hand. This is a trend that continues right through the game.

In my eyes, walking to point A 500m away, slaughtering a few zombies on the way, and walking back having to melee because I ran out of $400 per/round nailgun ammo, is not fun.

Varied missions, likable characters, convincing dialogue are three factors that contribute to fun in video games that were all absent in this game.

A2ra3lI said it in the forum thread a couple of weeks ago if you didn't like the first one move along, there is nothing here that will convince you otherwise, but if you did like the first one then you will find more of what you enjoyed in this plus extra stuff that you may or may not enjoy, at the least you know you will enjoy what is the same, so if that is worth the money to you then purchase it


That's the thing though.. it is so similar to the first in how it plays out and in gameplay mechanics that it might as well be DLC.. very little is actually done to improve the experience. That's okay for some series, especially those with a heavy focus on story, but not so much (in my opinion) for a series that already stood on shaky ground among critics for its plague of bugs and "been there, done that" factor.

As for your coop remark -- I still can not access coop play through the game's in-built interface. This is on PC, mind you.
Still haven't got around to playing the first one yet... May not bother after reading this.

Harry said:

ThrashLord said: I am about 70% of the way trough the game and really enjoying it. One thing also i think you are missing is the FUN factor. Where you say you just go fetch things here and there you do that in most games.


Though I respect that you (and others) found fun in the game's proceedings, I simply can't agree that it's fun. Combat has barely evolved since the original title.. it is pretty much a waste of time, in fact, to bother killing zombies and looting them, as new gear you buy degrades so quickly, and enemies scale to your level anyway..!
Yes, many games feature fetch quests, but not to the extend seen in Riptide.. Within the first two hours alone, I could count the number of missions that didn't involve running a 600m round trip (minimum) for a lone item or two on one hand. This is a trend that continues right through the game.
In my eyes, walking to point A 500m away, slaughtering a few zombies on the way, and walking back having to melee because I ran out of $400 per/round nailgun ammo, is not fun.
Varied missions, likable characters, convincing dialogue are three factors that contribute to fun in video games that were all absent in this game.

A2ra3lI said it in the forum thread a couple of weeks ago if you didn't like the first one move along, there is nothing here that will convince you otherwise, but if you did like the first one then you will find more of what you enjoyed in this plus extra stuff that you may or may not enjoy, at the least you know you will enjoy what is the same, so if that is worth the money to you then purchase it


That's the thing though.. it is so similar to the first in how it plays out and in gameplay mechanics that it might as well be DLC.. very little is actually done to improve the experience. That's okay for some series, especially those with a heavy focus on story, but not so much (in my opinion) for a series that already stood on shaky ground among critics for its plague of bugs and "been there, done that" factor.
As for your coop remark -- I still can not access coop play through the game's in-built interface. This is on PC, mind you.



every COD game's combat is the same, it's the number 1 selling game, Skyrim has many fetch quests, it's still one of the most addictive games ever. yes, riptide may have the same combat but that's why it's fun, i'd hate it if it changed, i love the analog fighting controls, and if zombies don't level with your character, it wouldn't be challenging and feel like a survival game any more, you'll feel too overpowered.
TBH you're making it seem like what made this game so great look like a bad thing which is making the overall game look bad. yes, the story for the first one was like wtf but no one cared about it, only the gameplay, weapons, and hordes of zombies is what everyone focused on
shocking review by ( i bet ) someone that has never played the game or has no idea what so ever what a game is all about (any game for that matter) now run along and go back to Bioshock Infinite

gammaray13 said: shocking review by ( i bet ) someone that has never played the game or has no idea what so ever what a game is all about (any game for that matter) now run along and go back to Bioshock Infinite



Get over yourself man. Why would @Harry put out an official review to the site without playing the damn thing? have some respect for the site and others opinions! -_-

@Harry
Spot on dude, the game is utter trash imo and you cover the issues well here. Straight to the point, honest and a good read. :)

every COD game's combat is the same, it's the number 1 selling game, Skyrim has many fetch quests, it's still one of the most addictive games ever. yes, riptide may have the same combat but that's why it's fun, i'd hate it if it changed, i love the analog fighting controls, and if zombies don't level with your character, it wouldn't be challenging and feel like a survival game any more, you'll feel too overpowered.
TBH you're making it seem like what made this game so great look like a bad thing which is making the overall game look bad. yes, the story for the first one was like wtf but no one cared about it, only the gameplay, weapons, and hordes of zombies is what everyone focused on


Keep in mind I don't like Call of Duty, and I personally don't love Skryim (it was good, but not amazing).

My point about zombie levelling wasn't that it made the game too hard, rather too easy,.. don't even need to bother with combat at all as they stay your level throughout the whole game, unlike similar titles such as Borderlands.

Anyway, if fetch quests and repetitive combat for never-ending waves of zombies is fun for other people, I have no problem with that. But critically speaking, there is nothing about this that makes the game better.

gammaray13 said: shocking review by ( i bet ) someone that has never played the game or has no idea what so ever what a game is all about (any game for that matter) now run along and go back to Bioshock Infinite


Busted again?! Didn't expect I'd be ousted for secretly working for 2K Games.. Drat! [MOG]

OllyEbbz said:

gammaray13 said: shocking review by ( i bet ) someone that has never played the game or has no idea what so ever what a game is all about (any game for that matter) now run along and go back to Bioshock Infinite


Get over yourself man. Why would @Harry put out an official review to the site without playing the damn thing? have some respect for the site and others opinions!
@Harry
Spot on dude, the game is utter trash imo and you cover the issues well here. Straight to the point, honest and a good read.


and its about time you do the same buddy [MOG]
The original was pretty bad.
It's a shame it hasn't progressed much...

gammaray13 said:
and its about time you do the same buddy



Act your age buddy. :)

OllyEbbz said:

gammaray13 said:
and its about time you do the same buddy


Act your age buddy.


Haha I knew he would come eventually and say it was a bad review, its his game of year remember, just like Crysis 3 and every other game this year. I actually suspect he may be acting his age.
I can confirm Harry has in fact played the game, because I co-op'd a fair few hours of it with him.

So that is settled.

Kerosanak said: I can confirm Harry has in fact played the game, because I co-op'd a fair few hours of it with him.
So that is settled.



Like it needed settling but cool ;)

Mealtime said:

OllyEbbz said:

gammaray13 said:
and its about time you do the same buddy


Act your age buddy.


Haha I knew he would come eventually and say it was a bad review, its his game of year remember, just like Crysis 3 and every other game this year. I actually suspect he may be acting his age.


no your wrong as Bioshock Infinite isnt game of the year but it is boring game of the year [Facepalm], so you havent play it either kero ;)
This is a review about Dead Island.

Let's arbitrarily mention Bioshock, shall we?

gammaray13 said:
no your wrong as Bioshock Infinite isnt game of the year but it is boring game of the year , so you havent play it either kero


Dafuq did I just read? [WTF]

Pilkingbod said: This is a review about Dead Island.
Let's arbitrarily mention Bioshock, shall we?


I have no idea why that was brought up. It's probably easier if we just ignore him. Hasn't he used that argument before that a reviewer hasn't actually played the game??
Did i just read " everything turns to crap" in the review =D, well atleast thats how I will summarize the whole series.
Good review :)

gammaray13 said:
no your wrong as Bioshock Infinite isnt game of the year but it is boring game of the year , so you havent play it either kero



OK we get it. Your either extremely dumb or your just trying to stir shit and i'm kinda going with the latter.
Bioshock is completely irrelevant to this review.
From what i'm gathering though you seem to like simple 'fun' games that don't require a lot of thought.

OllyEbbz said:

gammaray13 said:
no your wrong as Bioshock Infinite isnt game of the year but it is boring game of the year , so you havent play it either kero


OK we get it. Your either extremely dumb or your just trying to stir shit and i'm kinda going with the latter.
Bioshock is completely irrelevant to this review.
From what i'm gathering though you seem to like simple 'fun' games that don't require a lot of thought.


spot on!!
I've been playing this and to me it feels like a more complete Dead Island, just still missing a lot of fixes to bugs, etc.
bought it cheap on cdkeys and still feel ripped off, utter crap - digitally shelved already
Pact
+

gammaray13 said:
so you havent play it either kero



Hear that Kero, despite what you think, you DID NOT play this amazing game, this is the peak of gaming, nothing will ever come close to this game.


This piece of shit should have been DLC, but they sold it for a retail price. I bought the first one for $40 and I really regretted it.

Mealtime said:

Pilkingbod said: This is a review about Dead Island.
Let's arbitrarily mention Bioshock, shall we?


I have no idea why that was brought up. It's probably easier if we just ignore him. Hasn't he used that argument before that a reviewer hasn't actually played the game??



Yeah, when I reviewed Crysis 3, even though I gave it a 8.0.

Great review by the way, Harry. It's a shame about Riptide, I'll give it a go eventually but probably not any time soon.

Pact said:

gammaray13 said:
so you havent play it either kero


Hear that Kero, despite what you think, you DID NOT play this amazing game, this is the peak of gaming, nothing will ever come close to this game.
This piece of shit should have been DLC, but they sold it for a retail price. I bought the first one for $40 and I really regretted it.


Nah bro GOTY already!! So was Crysis 3 and most other games out this year -_-
Ok a lot of you guys don't like it. Some of us do and think it is not a bad game and are having some fun with it. It is not just some DLC as some of you are saying. Since i had so many problems with the first dead island and couldn't play it i am enjoying this one and having no issues at all with it. As with the fetch quests as some of you are putting it. They are in all games of this genre, yes it needs to be refined a little but not as drastic as some of you are saying. :D
COD > everything else. FACT.
Well I like the start of this one heaps more then the start of the first dead island.. I'm enjoying it tbh

M@ndyz said: Well I like the start of this one heaps more then the start of the first dead island.. I'm enjoying it tbh


awesome glad you like it, i have just finished it :'( i hope they bring out some DLC, loved the game from start to finish

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