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spawn622

[Review] - Dead Island Riptide

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Developed by: Techland

Published by: Deep Silver

Distributed by: Square Enix

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Available on Steam for $39.99

Physical Copy Available for $49.99

Dead Island Riptide is the follow up to the 2011 game Dead Island. The original was fairly well received and sold very well. That said I’ve never touched the original game. Will this be a hindrance or a blessing for Riptide? Read on and find out if I had as much fun bashing zombies around as most or if I put down my machete and walked away disappointed.Posted Image

As I said, I have never touched a Dead Island game before and I was worried I wouldn’t be the right person to review its follow-up, however after playing the game; I think my fears were unwarranted. While the game isn’t great, it’s not terrible by any means. The visceral feeling of dismembering zombies with all sorts of weapons really works, especially in co-op. There are tons of quests, environments, weapons, and zombie types to keep things fresh throughout. Also, the character progression system is much like other games of the type and gives you the “One More Level” feeling that any good game should. You will find yourself up to the wee hours of the morning before you know it.

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The game features, as expected, 4 player co-op and this is where the game really shines. I was only able to test it out with 2 players, but what I can imagine 4 players would only enhance the experience greatly. The character classes complement each other so well. I chose Sam B. and my co-op partner was Xian. Where Xian would work to sneak behind the zombies to use her bladed weapons with sneak attacks, I would face them head on and bash their heads in with mainly blunt weapons. The co-op is also great because no matter your level, you will always be fighting zombies at your same level. While your partner, who may be at a lower/higher level than you, will be fighting zombies at their same level. I’ve read this was patched in to the original game later and really is a good feature. This allows you to play with your buddies and keeps you from managing multiple characters at various levels.

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Now, you may have noticed I have yet to mention anything about the story in Dead Island Riptide. This is for good reason and brings me to my first issue with the game. The story is useless here and very much seems like an afterthought. Almost as if the game and environment were created and the story was tacked on later. Picking up where the first game left off and moving the survivors (And a new survivor apparently) to a new island full of rampaging zombies just isn’t inventive or taking any type of story leap. The cut scenes move the story along fairly well. Voice acting is mixed here. Some are quite good, others are just awful. A useless story isn’t always a bad thing though. In this case, strategizing before heading out on a mission can be done at almost any time without worrying about missing anything in a cut scene or during dialogue.

Speaking of cut scenes, this brings me to my next semi-gripe with the game. It’s not pretty. Screen tearing, texture pop in/out, frame drop issues, etc all plague the game. It doesn’t ever become a real problem, but in today’s gaming world, these things shouldn’t ever be an issue. Reports online show that the PS3 shows the most problems and the PC is the most solid overall. Playing on the Xbox 360 did show some of these issues but I’ve not run in to anything game breaking.

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Being an RPG, Riptide succeeds in keeping you busy. Story missions, side quests, team missions, and just general exploration keeps you from ever getting bored while on the island. All these things keep the game fun and help you to ignore its shortcomings. I think if these weren’t there the game would fare much worse. The only stumble the game makes in this area is not giving you an open world to explore after you complete the game. Be sure to get your missions done prior to making the push to the end.

Overall Dead Island Riptide is a solid RPG. Never playing the first game doesn’t pose any problems and honestly may help some to overlook some of the issues. Graphically the game isn’t a stunner, which is extremely disappointing in today’s gaming climate. Also, the story really needs to be looked at for any more sequels. Hopefully it can be salvaged down the line. However, the game play actually saves the day. Dismembering zombies with buddies and having an overflowing quest log of things to do is great fun. In summation, Dead Island Riptide is a decent game. If you’re looking for something fun to play with friends or are a fan of the first game, I’d recommend picking this one up.

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I played it until 5 am this morning. I'm enjoying my time in the game. Also really glad I didn't need to start a brand new character. The imported save feature that uses your saved game data from the first game, worked like a charm.

 

Here's what I don't get about many of the negative reviews. Go and read some Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood reviews. Is that game looked down on for more of the same? For not having enough new things to justify another release? I don't see Riptide as a direct sequel. I think if and when they do make one, it'll have a big fat "2" after it.

 

Enjoyed your review, Spawn. Thanks for writing it for us.

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Great review Spawn. Between your review and others it sounds like a lot more of the same. Not a bad thing, but I didn't think the first game was all that great. I had fun with friends, but I was left wishing I had waited and not preordered it.

So I'll wait until this hits the half price mark and grab it. Though, it's tempting fo $40 on the PC. That was a pretty good move on their part.

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Just read this comment on the Steam forums and had to agree with the person.

 

You guys are funny with your DI is an overpriced expansion. Yet you go out and buy a $60 CoD, or AC every year.

 

I guess the same could almost be said of L4D and L4D2. Mostly the same assets, engine and the story was basically the same.

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To be fair, when L4D2 hit, lots of people were pissed that it wasn't just an expansion or addon. It fell to the same crowd though. Some stuck with 1 as long as possible and some jumped right into 2.

I didn't like it, but I bought L4D2 when it released because I enjoyed the first and knew I'd enjoy the second. I also own all the AssCreed games, but I bought all but the first two once they were on sale. And I haven't played any of the others yet.

I don't think it would have been an issue for both Dead Islands to be similar if the first was a big success.

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Assassin's Creed is a great example of sequels being released that are the same thing.  I've played all of them and they are good fun (Except 3 which is maddening and made me swear off the series, different story though), but they are all the same.  They try adding in new things and people complain about the new stuff (Save for 3's naval battles, which are pure ass to me).  Only difference here is, Ass Creed changes the location and Riptide did not.

 

Not playing the first Dead Island, I think, was a good thing for me.  It allowed me to be fully objective about this one.  I'll say this, with me liking this one, I may go back and snag the first one.  I think Techland's plan was "Over 5 million copies of Dead Island sold...Why would we fix something that isn't broken.  People obviously like the formula."

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It's fun reading comments from the articles back in June 2012 and reading how excited commenters were for this game. Then the zombie torso collectors edition was announced and the hate seems to have started.

 

Also just read this and have to sort of agree - "So it sounds like the first one, just without the mad hype the CGI trailer created. So people are looking at it more objectively this time.". So many people bring up that trailer to me and I don't get it. A trailer never defines what a game will be. It's made to get you excited for the release of their game. It's Marketing 101. It's why we bought Irish Spring and Lever 2000. lol

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I don't have a problem with that approach at all. Enough people bought the game that they made profit. Instead of catering to people who didn't like it, they just released a similar game. Which should net similar sales. Seems a fine approach to me.

However, the reviewers and gamers complaining about the similarities are the ones who didn't really like the original to begin with. So obviously they are going to complain. If they had really enjoyed the first then the similarities wouldn't have mattered as much.

I think it makes it a pretty damn easy decision. If you liked the first one you will like this one. I'm on the fence. I had fun times with the first one, but I was disappointed. I won't expect as much out of this one, and I will likely end up buying it and having fun. I just won't be buying it right away.

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No issue at all with releasing an pandering to your target demographic.  Hell, hasn't Nintendo been doing it for years with Mario, Zelda, Samus, etc?  And when they try to do something different with those franchises proper, they get raped to shreds in reviews.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't in most cases it seems.

 

I will say that reviewers need to get their heads out of PR groups and developers' asses and be objective.  Write what you feel about these things.  Many gamers don't have the disposable income to waste on games and depend on reviewers and it sickens me to think people pander to these guys just to be friends and hope for personal gain.  Do your damn jobs and if you can't do it correctly go away.

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You never base a game's graphics on a trailer, I'll say. But the trailer was trying to capture the mood of Dead Island - which the game itself completely failed to do for me (and a lot of other people). I think I talked through every mission, I had no idea what was going on half the time because I was just shouting "SAM B SAM B SAM B" all the time. They were toting the game - to players during development - as a in-depth storytelling RPG/FPS/awesome thing. And yeah, it did the levelling up system GREAT (loved it) and their decay system was extremely meh, but it's the glitches. I just have little to no tolerance for game-breaking glitches. Beachballs should not murder me, trees should not jetrocket me into the sky, and cars should not suddenly fall through the world as I hit rocks. This is just a handful of problems I had in the game, performance wise. 

 

Still, I enjoyed smacking the shit out of zombies. DI:R isn't too pricey, so it's not a bad thing to buy, and not having the disappointment of DI behind it is good. However, I'm not judging DI:R because I haven't played it.

 

I should just link my DI "oh hey DI:R is coming out" rant to give a better idea I guess. I will say, I'm glad they stuck to the tropical island thang though, it's nice to see the island being utilized instead of dumping me into a city again.

 

 

As for L4D and L4D2 - I do agree there wasn't enough of a change, but they did improve the Director AI, as well as specialty zombies AI as well. L4D2 also saw the introduction of Mutations, as well as additional campaigns slapped on with no additional cost, thank god, to keep things fresh. L4D was kind of the starting point, and L4D2 introduced all the little bits and pieces they wanted to probably do with the first game. Plus, there were pills here.

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I love me some glitches. I was upset when Gearbox took out car flipping in Borderlands 2. The beach balls of Dead Island were too much fun for me in co-op, and I probably would have loved being shot in the air by trees. Seriously I'd do it on purpose. Never seen that when I played, or the cars falling through the world. I did play it late, though, so maybe it was patched by then.

 

Aren't all of Valve's DLCs free? Booze and pills in DI. =p

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I DID play it on PS3, which made a huge difference in the amount of glitches I suffered from. PC users didn't get the brunt of it, which is good. The tree jet rocketing was pretty hilarious, except when you were backing into a tree by accident trying to run away, and suddenly have an aerial view of Banoi.

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