Dead Island: Riptide review
Spend a relaxing holiday at the beach, but avoid the shambling undead
Techland's Dead Island was a unique mix of Valve's Left 4 Dead, and Gearbox's Borderlands. It saw players attempt to survive a zombie-infested tropical paradise, using makeshift weapons to defend themselves against various types of zombie. It was fairly well-received, but was also a little disappointing in places, specifically when it came to variety and polish.
Riptide is the next entry into the series and sees the original protagonists return for events that take place directly after the first instalment. Joined by John Morgan, an ex-soldier, the team is placed in danger on a new tropical island, which they have to escape, lest they be nuked into the next century. This island has been hit by tropical storms, and parts have been so battered by the elements, finding your way to freedom isn't going to be easy.
Some new features have been introduced here, such as fetch quest-focused team missions, and new skills and levelling elements are available, including weapon proficiencies. If you use a type of weapon for a while, you'll get better and better, able to do more damage, so it pays to experiment.
Boats can now be used to traverse the more water-laden environments, and there are some new zombie types to take care of with brutal gusto. Thanks to a better dismemberment system, the satisfaction of chopping up the infected is always present, and the combat, although not perfect, remains solid enough.
It's all perfectly enjoyable, particularly when played in co-op with friends, but sadly it also suffers from many of the same problems that plagued the first release. Technical issues such as collision and snagging problems that see players getting stuck on even the smallest step, and poor vehicle controls are joined by the unavoidable threat of tedium, thanks to little mission variation and never-ending button-mash zombie slaughter.
Some zombie types do offer a little change in tactics, requiring a little planning and careful item usage to dispatch safely, but for the most part this is very samey stuff, and certainly not the kind of thing you'll be looking for if you want to be treated to a deep narrative and varied gameplay.
Still, Dead Island: Riptide isn't a game that your average, complex role player or RTS nut is going to go for. Instead, it's a game that offers myriad quests, a large open-world to explore, endless zombie slaughter, and gallon upon gallon of blood and gore. If this is the kind of thing that floats your soon to be zombie-laden boat, then you'll find plenty of satisfying, if highly repetitive action here.
• Price: £29.99
• Manufacturer: Square Enix
• Website: deadisland.deepsilver.com
• Required spec: 2.6GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 1GB DirectX 9 graphics card, 7GB HDD space, Windows XP or later