Quick Look: Dead Island Riptide

Those tropical zombies are up to their old tricks again. Brad is not amused.

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Dead Island Riptide Review

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  • X360

Riptide is more Dead Island, but not better Dead Island.

There are a few new things going on here, but not many.

It might sound dismissive to sum up Dead Island Riptide as just "more Dead Island," but that's exactly what it is. This is the sort of follow-up that's bigger than an expansion pack but far lesser in scope than a true sequel; it simply feels like a full-length game's worth of additional content shoved into the previous game's framework. The two games are so similar--Riptide reuses just about all of the first game's interface elements, art assets, and gameplay systems--you'd often find it tough to even tell which game is which. If I'd come out of Dead Island with a burning desire for more Dead Island, Riptide would go down a lot easier, but since that original game started out strong and just got weaker as it wore on, playing through another 15 hours of almost exactly the same thing, when the first one already felt like more than enough, instead just becomes a tiresome exercise.

That first game was rotten with bugs and odd design quirks, but I was willing to forgive a lot because its strongest aspects--namely the exacting first-person melee combat, and all the loot and RPG trappings that propped it up--were so enticing. Still, despite a fantastic first act, Dead Island dragged on longer than it should have given its issues, and at least for me it had expended much of the good will it built up by the end of the game. Exactly one game's worth of Dead Island was plenty for me, so when I jumped back into Riptide and immediately felt a sense of fatigue with the gameplay mechanics after just the first few minutes, I knew it was a bad sign. Unfortunately none of the meager additions to the formula here are enough to counteract the awkward design and shoddy production values that carried over from the first game.

There wasn't much of a storyline in Dead Island, but at least the setting was entertaining, taking a pampered tropical resort populated by spoiled rich kids and dropping the zombie end of the world right in the middle of it. There's nothing half as interesting in Riptide, as your same four survivors (joined by one new playable character) have managed to escape one island hellhole only to wash up on the shores of another one, the landscape of which looks conspicuously similar to the first one. Here you're running quests through a boring jungle, a shantytown, an old military base, and other zombie-game cliches that don't allow the freedom of movement or even compelling visual design of the resort in the first game. All of Riptide reminded me of Dead Island's weak third act, while none of it recalled that great first act, as if the designers themselves didn't realize what was actually great about their own game.

Hey, remember all these guys?

It's worth noting the new things Riptide does, since there aren't many of them. There are a handful of base-defense missions that take a direct cue from Call of Duty's own zombies mode, since you're running around putting up barbed wire to keep enemies out and manning gatling-gun turrets to mow them down as they try to get in. These missions are fun enough in co-op, and even when you're alone, your NPC allies do a decent job of helping control the zombie crowd (though the game still pulls the ridiculous trick of having all your ally characters pop up in cutscenes when you've been running around the entire game by yourself). There's a couple of new enemies, like the screamer, who can, well, scream to incapacitate you briefly, and the wrestler, who has a gigantic gross tumor of an arm it can swing around like a club, but you're still going to kill hundreds upon hundreds of the fodder-like infected and walkers ad nauseam from beginning to end. If you were already burned out on fighting those things from the last game, you aren't going to find it anymore entertaining here, despite the presence of a paltry few new weapons and mods (that are barely distinguishable from the ones last time around). Oh, and there are some boats to drive clumsily around the inland rivers here and there, but they hardly make up for the paucity of drivable trucks on the island.

Never has "more of the same" been more apt.

Other than the occasional base defense, most of the quest design in the game has you merely running from one place to another to grab an item or throw a switch, then moving on to the next area to do the same thing, with occasional poorly produced and dramatically bankrupt cutscenes punctuating the events of the story, such as it is. The rough production quality of the cinematics was strangely endearing in the first game in a kind of backwards way. But two games in, it's just gotten irksome, especially as this game halfheartedly makes some overtures toward the origin of this whole zombie mess before taking a hard left turn into a completely ridiculous, unearned plot twist, and then just...ending. Parts of the game are still kind of fun to play through cooperatively with friends--though, unlike in the first game, you sometimes feel like you have to be playing in co-op to avoid being overwhelmed by awful infinite enemy spawns--but coming from the Dead Island, getting through Riptide mostly just felt like a slog that I wanted to be done with.

The first Dead Island was long on good ideas but short on skillful execution, and while there's still a truly great game lurking in there somewhere, Riptide is not it. It's a shame Techland didn't take this opportunity to take a step back and figure out how to properly evolve this formula before iterating on the franchise again. Maybe that truly improved Dead Island will still come along someday, but in the meantime, Riptide feels like a game that didn't really need to be made.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Edited by Godlyawesomeguy

I really liked Dead Island but this has the words "unnecessary sequel" written all over it.

Edited by Vance_Helsing

@humanity said:

@immortalsaiyan said:

Reads like a one star game to me. Is it that hard to give out one stars?

I'm pretty sure 1 star reviews are reserved for borderline unplayable titles and 2 stars is just a really lackluster game.

One could argue that this game shouldn't have existed in the first place (which could result in a one-star), but yeah, this doesn't seem like an offensively poor, broken, mess of a game. Just a trifle.

Edited by Abendlaender

I'm going to replay the old game with the Ken's Rage mod instead. Cause it's amazing.

Posted by fiberpay

Sounds like brad went in thinking this was a full on sequel, when they have clearly not been marketing it that way. It's a shame he knocked Tomb Raider so much for its marketing but yet he clearly paid no attention to how this game was marketed.

Posted by DeviTiffany

Just seems like if you like the first Dead Island you'll probably like this one too. I like the first Dead Island, so I'll probably get this on sale.

Edited by MordeaniisChaos

@benmo316 said:

It's odd that a game that takes so much from the original took almost two years to come out. From Brad's review, and a few others, Riptide sounds like it could've been released six months after Dead Island. Looks like I won't play this Dead Island game, either.

Back in the day, PC players used to call em "expansion packs."

>_>

Most expansion packs I've played were far more interesting than this. They either introduced new mechanics, took you to new spots, or just gave you knew shit to look at at the least. This doesn't even go that far. It's almost an alternate dimension. "What if the Story was different in Dead Island, but nothing else?"

Posted by SCHULTZ

Really enjoyed the first DI, esp with friends. Not sure how more of the same can be a bad (or worse) thing. For $40, I'll be playing it.

Seems like many reviewers are getting a bit jaded as we drag through this extra-long console generation. Seeing review scores from many sites that are just a bit too harsh, when the reality of the games is no where near as weak as the review opinions.

Edited by ThomasG666

Shame. Had some hopes with this one. Oh well...

Posted by MiniPato

NO TRUCKS NO SALE.

Posted by gesi1223

I have not played Dead Island at all, and was a little interested to give it a chance.

My question is, would it be a better idea to play the original over Riptide? Because my assumption from this review is, Riptide is overall worse than the original.

Edited by SupberUber

What a shame. I genuinely enjoyed spending time looking around the beach resort. I hope Techland listens, because they're sitting on something good.

Posted by development

This sounds like 1 star. That first game went from good to terrible the second the resort ended, and each passing moment got progressively worse in design, in such a way that I couldn't believe how terrible the design decisions were. Now, they made a second game entirely similar to the worst parts of the first game?? What?! I literally can't believe these guys are this stupid. I'd love to hear their reasoning behind this game.

Dead Island 3: Sewers

Edited by golguin

This may be the lowest scoring game that I'll still play. If you tell me Dead Island Riptide is basically Dead Island with more stuff (like an expansion pack) then I'm already in.

Posted by Fearbeard

I enjoyed Dead Island all the way through and always thought this was billed as an expansion pack more then a sequel so I'm eager to dive into it. It would be nice if they fixed a few more of the issues though.

Posted by Bigandtasty

whoa that's surprising.

I think it'll still be a decent play when it gets to $10 or so on Steam in 6-12 months, though.

Posted by Haruko

Name for new stand alone pack I say "Extension Pack"

Posted by McShank

So much hate towards this game. First one was awesome. The bugs made the game better at times and rarely did I run into a bug that messed something up in the dozen playthroughs that I have had. Its the same thing but with a new location and a new character? Well damn, Time for more zombie killing, with or without online people to play due to people criticizing it over stuff that really doesnt matter much for this style.

Posted by President_Barackbar

@schultz said:

Really enjoyed the first DI, esp with friends. Not sure how more of the same can be a bad (or worse) thing. For $40, I'll be playing it.

Seems like many reviewers are getting a bit jaded as we drag through this extra-long console generation. Seeing review scores from many sites that are just a bit too harsh, when the reality of the games is no where near as weak as the review opinions.

I don't get how not liking this game makes Brad jaded. He didn't like it. If you like it, good for you. I have a few friends who would have given the first game a 2/5, so the idea that Brad would give this "extension" of the first game a 2 doesn't strike me as jaded at all.

Edited by Jezz_Torrent

@sackmanjones said:

If you are planning on picking this up, pc version is only 40 bucks which helps justify the feeling of "more of the same"

Eh, if you're a PC gamer, you likely have a boatload of unplayed games you bought for 3 bucks at a Steam sale that are better than this game.

Although I might be biased, because:

@rasmoss said:

I'm strongly opposed to the notion that the first Dead Island was any good at all.

Edited by OddParticle

Sounds like I got fed up with the original Dead Island at about the same time everyone else did. The really disappointing part for me is that the game trailer for the original was one of the most intense, heartbreaking, promising piece of marketing media that has ever been developed for the industry.... and the game failed to deliver on any of it.

And then they continued to not deliver on any of it, it seems. What a shame.

Edited by bgdiner

I thought this game would be a completely new experience, but apparently I was wrong. Techland may have been correct in thinking that many of its fans wanted more of the same, but those who aren't fans are left by the wayside. It seems like it was just a lazy creation devoid of creativity or ingenuity, and despite its comparably low price, it seems like more of a cashgrab than a game that can survive on its own merits. Shame.

Posted by bobafettjm

I really enjoyed the first game, warts and all. I even played through it a total of 3 times, so I will probably give this one a shot down the line somewhere.

Posted by NPfeifer

Sounds like he played solo, which is an automatic four points off of this game.

Edited by Reisz

Put out both on steam in a pack for $34.99 and I'll buy it today, I never played the first game because it didn't seem like it would live up to the tone of that first CG trailer. I actually didn't even know it mechanically had as much merit as Brad attributes to it. Weirdly the quick look and this review make me more interested in the game.

Besides, did someone just mention a Ken's Rage mod? because aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATAH'ing some zombies to bits sounds like the best thing in video games right now.

Edited by taylora_lewis_165

I'm not buying it, someone else is for me, so a game is a game, a free game is all the better i say and you know whats funny all of you at one point or another at least 65% of you or more will still play Dead Island Riptide you why i know this? Because some sort of source tells me that what people say, and what people actually do are two different things, and you guys will always be tempted to try it spite what others say about it you don't watch Star Wars : A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and then not watch Return of the Jedi, once you start something you always finish it, am i right or am i wrong, hmm?

Edited by Letter11

I'm going to replay the old game with the Ken's Rage mod instead. Cause it's amazing.

When I found out about this I was laughing for days. Just in case people don't know what we're talking about:

Posted by karmaghost

@krakn3dfx: At the very least, Brad is saying it's more of the first game except worse. If you're willing to spend $60 on a full retail game that is being released almost 20 months after the first and nothing has been improved upon and almost everything is worse, then go ahead. But don't defend it because there is no "2" in the title, that's bullshit.

Posted by JuggaloAcidman

After playing MMOs like SWTOR and WoW... After playing any of the Final Fantasy games after 10... another 15 hours of Dead Island sounds pretty awesome to me! But hey... One man's trash is another's treasure.

Online
Edited by JuggaloAcidman

<p>After playing MMOs like SWTOR and WoW... After playing any of the Final Fantasy games after 10... another 15 hours of Dead Island sounds pretty awesome to me! But hey... One man's trash is another's treasure.</p>

Online
Posted by BeachThunder

Everything I hear about these games makes me want to frown. The base concept appeals to me, but there seems to be so many crummy things in both of these games :( I keep feeling tempted to pick of the first one on Steam for cheap, but then I just can't bring myself to deal with all of the issues. It's a pity that this game doesn't seem to improve on those issues.

Posted by radioactivez0r

I swear when Dead Island came out, a lot more people took a shine to it despite it's shortcomings. Reading these comments you'd think it was a colossal failure. Anyway, I played the entire first game co-op, had a great time, and never got tired of the combat or crafting weapons. More of the same but in a different location, you say? Sweet.

Posted by Mr_Scumbag

I'm one of the few people who really enjoyed the first Dead Island, even acknowledging all of its flaws. When I first learned about Riptide, it seemed to me that very little was changed and I was completely ok with that, as all I wanted was more content to play through and a new playable character was a nice bonus.

I understand that there were many people who thought DI1 was a good idea which could have been executed better and hoped for improvements in Riptide, but in all the media and videos I've seen, I've never gotten the impression that anyone was trying to convince us that we were getting anything other than just more Dead Island, with a few tweaks here and there and if that was the promise, and it's been delivered I don't see too much of a problem there. The only problem I have with Riptide is the price, to be honest. I think it's a little much for what it apparently is.

That said, I would like to see a whole new Dead Island built from the ground up someday, and I suspect something for next-gen is probably already in the works but as a fan of the first game, I can't wait to dig into "more of the same".

Posted by probablytuna

I really enjoyed my time with Dead Island, though I kinda stopped around the time I reached the jungle because my co-op friends were just speeding it through for me and I wanted to slow down. Then I haven't went back since. Still a really cool game, but I think I'll skip Riptide if it's more of the same.

Edited by jaks

If this is how deep silver is going to respect sequels then saint's row is DOA.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

@golguin said:

This may be the lowest scoring game that I'll still play. If you tell me Dead Island Riptide is basically Dead Island with more stuff (like an expansion pack) then I'm already in.

Yeah, this sounds about like my point of view too. I liked the original enough to max out two characters, and I'm all for a little more Dead Island, even if it means a lot of the problems are still there. I can't believe I pre-ordered it, though. Sometimes I wish Amazon would force me to take a breathalyzer before buying shit.

Moderator
Edited by Mr_Scumbag

I've just played up to the first settlement as the new character and fuck, it's satisfying to play as him. If you run and kick, you can send zombies flying ragdoll style and fairly often one hit kill them. Sometimes they hit objects so hard their limbs fly off. It's great fun. Combine that with fast flurries of fist weapon attacks as well as his slower uppercut attack and you feel like a complete badass. I'm really enjoying it so far. My recommendation is to get all of his stamina skills, as you'll need them to take advantage of his combat options.

So far, Riptide is exceeding my expectations, given how much fun the new character is to play. We'll see how it does in the long run, though.

But fuck, the FOV is way to low on PCs. You'd think they'd fix that. Anyone know if the FOV tool for the original works with Riptide?

Edited by HellknightLeon

Just got the first game... Dont need more and dont want more even from DLC. I think it has to be "better" than more. I will pass.

Edited by tyler1285

Anyone who wants to play this game despite it's flaws just stop. It's not worth it man. Its not worth it.

Edited by ch3burashka

It's as if they saw the success of the first and thought, "WE MUST RECREATE IT EXACTLY". The same emotional trailer, and apparently the exact same game. A damn shame that they thought they could sucker people out of their money with a not-even-an-expansion. Please mindless masses, don't reward their laziness.

Edit: On the one hand, it's kind of weird we're so used to sequels completely overhauling their menus and UI elements, or at least changing them up to give a fresher feel - it should make complete sense that the sequel should have recognizable UI elements so that you can jump in easier. On the other, when that 'sameness' permeates the entire game, it's tougher to forgive that decision.

Edited by deathstriker666

@krakn3dfx said:

More of the same is expected, there's no '2' after the name, so it's implied IMO. I'm still excited to play it. Definitely been a divisive game among reviewers so far, tho.

Also, look at that monster dude's big ass hand!

Exactly. What did people expect of a game that comes out a year and a half after the original? I'd be shocked if it wasn't "more of the same" and the marketing for this game seemed to imply just that. I can't understand the unfair expectations for this game, the first game was in no way revolutionary or groundbreaking. And it puzzles me why anybody thinks this game would've been something else.

Posted by deathstriker666

@karmaghost said:

@krakn3dfx: At the very least, Brad is saying it's more of the first game except worse. If you're willing to spend $60 on a full retail game that is being released almost 20 months after the first and nothing has been improved upon and almost everything is worse, then go ahead. But don't defend it because there is no "2" in the title, that's bullshit.

You're must be joking. 20 months is nothing in development time. This isn't like making movies or books here. Valve took a full 7 years to make Half-life 2, in stark contrast to 12 months to release Left 4 Dead 2. And in much the same way as Riptide, L4D 2 didn't improve upon the formula at all, yet Brad really seemed to enjoy it at the time. Same UI, same visuals, same hack and slash melee combat, side for a new campaign almost everything is the exact same. And it's perfectly fine that Valve did that, just as it should be for Techland. Iteration doesn't always have to be innovative. The marketing for both games certainly didn't imply anything more. There's an unprecedented amount of shit is being thrown at this game, where is it coming from? Also, it's not even $60. It's $40 both on Amazon and Steam.

Posted by Mr_Scumbag

A damn shame that they thought they could sucker people out of their money with a not-even-an-expansion. Please mindless masses, don't reward their laziness.

Could you point me to the PR where they claim that the game is anything other that what it turned out to be? Cause I followed it fairly closely and I feel like I got exactly what I was expecting. They never promised revolution or change or massive improvements. Therefore, they aren't attempting to sucker anyone, as far as I can tell. The price is too much, but I don't feel like they have given anyone unrealistic expectations. If anyone expected this to be something much improved and refined, they didn't do their homework. That's not Deep Silver's fault.

I doubt you know German but here's a link to an interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JOKYVwbTiJg#t=1218s Where the interviewer asks the PR guy what improvements have been made over the first Dead Island. The guy answered: "What do you mean with improvements ? It is the same shit, but more of it."

Posted by dropabombonit

I love how Brad gives this game it deserves. I have seen a couple of other reviews with similar sentiment but they gave it a 7 or 8 whereas Brad smartly makes his words match his score

Edited by Sarx

So what if I thoroughly enjoyed DI1 and still love to play it hours on end. Will I like Riptide? Do I need Riptide? That is something the review did not answer for me.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969

Techland is NEVER going to make a good game folks. The first game was total serendipity and probably and accident that some good ideas leaked in and were half-way followed through. Nevertheless, there isn't a system or culture of quality at the company, so nothing good will ever regularly come out of the company. They will just go through the motions of game design like any anonymous cubicle filled office making widgets.

They don't make games, they make products.

They have about as much passion for games as the people who mass produce pens with a company logo on them have a passion for pens.

Edited by Mr_Scumbag

@monkeyking1969: A bunch of questions here. What is a "good game"? What makes a "good game". What makes a "bad game"? I kind of like a decent amount of their games. What does that say about me? And what does your answer to that question say about you?

When is comes down to it, you sound terribly butthurt about Deep Silver for some reason.

If you were to just accept that good vs bad when it comes to entertainment and art was subjective, you'd save us both a lot of trouble.

Edited by NekuSakuraba

I just finished the first one at the end of Decemeber, I also completed pretty much all the side missions and spent around 35 hours playing the game. I wasn't going to get this anyway, but damn, it sure does look like more of the same... And even though I liked the first game, I'm not ready for more quite yet.

Great review as always Brad!

Posted by politicalscientist

not enough zombie boobs

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