The original Dead Island was one of my top 10 games of 2011. I'm a sucker for zombie games, and Dead Island did an awesome job of scratching that itch. That's not to say the game was perfect, far from it. But since the next title in the franchise, Riptide, is in full development, I'd like to sit down and think about what (hopefully) will be improved in Riptide.
Oh God, The Bugs!
Dead Island was a complete mess when it was released, no doubt about it. Especially the PC community suffered to no end (I played on the 360), but console players were not strangers to the myriad of bugs in the game. Corrupted saves, buggy AI, terrible connections when playing co-op, the list goes on. I really hope Techland learned from their mistakes and spend more time in QA with Riptide. It was extremely hard to defend the game, when even weeks after its release people were unable to play for various reasons.
Let's Hit the Sewers!
I'm probably not alone when I say that my favorite area in the game was during the first act. The beach, the exploring, the everything. From there it seems it was a constant downhill in area design, and when you slogged through the godawful sewers for the third time you just about had enough. The city was uninspiring (especially since there were next to no actual buildings to explore), the jungle that followed was just a big empty nothingness, and eventually the prison was a linear snorefest. I'm exaggerating, but that's pretty much Dead Island summed up. The first area was superb, and the rest disappointment after disappointment when compared to it. Techland should take a page from the Fallout book, and hopefully include more buildings to explore and such (but still keep a fleshed out area outside of the buildings as well).
My Ears Are Bleeding!
I don't go into a zombie game expecting Hemingway level of writing, but holy hell it was awful sometimes. The voice acting, the story, and the characters were all quite...well, terrible. Not much else to say here, other than I hope they put a bit more 'oomph' into it in Riptide.
Loot, Loot, More Loot!
Half the fun of games like these is the loot and everything surrounding it. You want to find awesome loot, and you want to feel awesome when using it. Dead Island had its share of fun loot, but I really wish they'd expand it for the next game. Why limit it to weapons, why not let us equip clothing and accessories for example? Flesh out the crafting system, and expand the RPG mechanics! I'm no game designer, otherwise I'd list awesome solutions to this point, but I'd like to see it expanded (to say the least) in Riptide.
No CO-OP? No Fun!
I must admit that the biggest reason Dead Island made such a high mark on my top 10 list in 2011, other than the fact that I'm poor and can't afford that many games, is the awesome time I had with my GB buddy Aishan. We played through the story together, and it was a fucking blast. Of course I want to see Techland keep up with that achievement, but I must say that playing the game in single player was far from a stellar experience. It's certainly not easy to keep the balance of making a game that's fun for both single player and co-op, but I'm thinking this is where my other complaints come in. Improve on the previous four points, and I'm sure it will be a much better single player experience.
With all this said and done; I'm hyped. I'm totally hyped. And I really can't wait until we get more information about Riptide. I just...really hope they take a long hard look at Dead Island, realize they have major issues that needs improvement, and deliver those to us in Riptide. I for one can't wait for the next entry in Truck-TNT.