Dead Island: Riptide Review [XBox 360]

Rating: You know that moment in LOST when you realise they probably should have ended it sooner, and well. That’s…

Michael Atkinson

Contributor

Dead Island Riptide

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

You know that moment in LOST when you realise they probably should have ended it sooner, and well. That’s what Dead Island: Riptide feels like.

Having spent so much time in jungles recently, in FarCry 3 and Tomb Raider, finding myself on another island isn’t exactly where I want to be when this island has far more problems than the other two. And no, not just in the zombie infestation thing that seems to be going on, but in the stream of glitches and anomalies that could very well make this the island from LOST. Instant rain turned on and off like a tap. Vanishing skies and cliff faces. An inability to move the body in times of need. Dead Island: Riptide is a tour de force of poor game mechanics…and it might not matter.

If you liked the original Dead Island beyond the superb trailer that-had-nothing-to-do-with the-game then you’re probably going to enjoy this. The flaws in the original remain, but playing this game with friends turns into something that at times can be hilarious, because it is such a mess. If you’re on your own however you’ll find yourself completing repetitive quests and tasks as a vacant expression drifts over your face, such are the unfunny monotone quips and unblinking teammates with lockjaw. The personality of everyone on this island, is a little off to say the least.

Both the characters (all returning from the original with one newcomer) and the landscape are crippled by the graphics on show here, thanks in large part to the constant clipping as the game tries to load in time with you moving. This isn’t exclusive to an influx of zombies as you fight off another horde, this occurs throughout. Again, this could be overlooked if the reason for moving was worth it, but the quests available are repetitive and unsatisfying as they generally involving moving something you don’t need to somewhere you don’t want to go. Yet it gets around this in the game’s actual purpose – levelling up.

Dead Island: Riptide does a fairly good job in this area, because it is so generous with its XP, nothing happens here in which you aren’t being showered with numbers and information telling you how many more kills you need in a vast variety of ways. You almost forget that you move like you’re levitating, because you’re levitating to 100 decapitations with a hammer. It’s a game for people who enjoy multiplayer with levelling up as their purpose. The zombie setting should be ideal for such things, and they at least created a number of different breeds with which to experiment with weaponry.

And that’s maybe why the game feels like more a disappointment than failure. Lessons were not learned from the previous game, but the idea is sound with the character development through the earning of skill points, the manufacturing of weapons through acquired items, and zombie hordes to wipe out with a group of friends. The online actions are both simple and effective as anyone in the vicinity can jump into your game, should they be of similar rank. As I said, it can be hilarious, and with that comes enjoyment.

Aside from the online operations though, most of the positives are done averagely, appealing to only those who LOVE to grind without a defined endgame. And that would be ok if that aspect had gained more focus, why did they bother making such a drawn out intro with bad voice actors and even worse animation? The previous game was not Hemingway, it wasn’t even Michael Bay, so why bother spending so much time on it?

And that’s the over-riding problem. Dead Island: Riptide lacks focus, too many aspects within the game, all done to minimum spec. If you enjoyed the first one then you’ll probably enjoy this, just make sure your friends get it as well.

 

[easyreview title=”Dead Island: Riptide XBox360 Scoring” cat1title=”Gameplay” cat1detail=”The mechanics of movement are slightly off, and as such the whole game never grasps the player, though the premise is sound.” cat1rating=”2.5″ cat2title=”Graphics” cat2detail=”Clipping and glitches throughout make this propaganda for those wanting the next generation of consoles.” cat2rating=”2″ cat3title=”Sound” cat3detail=”The script certainly didn’t help, but the human audio is so bad that it makes you think it has to be deliberate. Zombie effects work well though.” cat3rating=”2″ cat4title=”Replay Value” cat4detail=”Good, but deduct two stars if you have no interest in levelling up characters.” cat4rating=”4″ cat5title=”Presentation” cat5detail=”Needlessly irrelevant story badly done. Online connectivity a highpoint but overall, the game feels unfinished.” cat5rating=”2″ cat6title=”Overall” cat6detail=”A sound idea ruined by failure to address glaring issues from the original. If however you enjoyed the original, there’s definitely more of the same for you here.” cat6rating=”2″]

Dead Island: Riptide is out now.