“DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE” (Video Game Review)
Zombie games have exploded over the past few years. With such titles a LEFT 4 DEAD and DEAD RISING leading the pack, the primarily PC platform company Techland has also jumped on-board the gore freight train with DEAD ISLAND and its current follow-up DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE. RIPTIDE follows the five main characters as they attempt to survive another zombie outbreak while scavenging for items on an infested tourist island. A blood-and-guts filled detour into an undead Hell, this first person, survival action game has received mixed reaction from both fans and critics, yet still manages to satisfy a hankering to stab and slash the walking dead.
When RIPTIDE starts, the player has a choice of five characters, and focuses the story on whichever previous survivor they choose. Soon, the game cut scenes into the story, where we are witness to the character’s glorious escape from the prison island of the first game via helicopter. As the chopper lands on the deck of a navy ship, everyone is carted down into quarantine so that their immunity cells could be studied to prevent future zombie outbreaks. Unfortunately, a brief nap finds you waking to the ship both on fire and filling with water while teeming with freshly bitten soldiers. After a quick hack job through the ship, the boat crashes into a popular tourist island, and the main story begins.
There, RIPTIDE becomes an open world platform with options to either explore the island and gather items or accomplish missions set out by your friends-in-arms. Eventually, as you carry out your orders (and smash skulls), a more sinister plot begins to unfold, threatening everyone, both alive and dead, on the island.
Though the game has been out for over a month, there are a lot of good things about this shooter that would appeal to fans of the original DEAD ISLAND. The open-world exploration is larger and more developed than the first series and there is a greater variety of quests. It also presents a chance to co-op with a friend and the option to port your old saved files to the new game, keeping all your stats and level-ups. The level design of the island is beautiful, if a bit awkward with the sporadic bursts of rain and sunshine.
If you’ve played the original game, RIPTIDE is essentially an extension, versus a true sequel though. The gameplay, attacks, repetitive scavenging and killing really wrecks any originality. Despite a few new baddies and a couple of new skills, it’s essentially a rehash of the original title with improved graphics. Regardless, it’s still a fun time for taking out your anger on some biters, or at least for that rush of satisfaction you’ll get when plowing down a group of zombies with a car.