Dead Island: Riptide is a sequel to 2011’s Dead Island. Having not played that game, I can’t offer any direct comparisons, but I can say that on its own merit, Dead Island: Riptide is a pretty fun game. It is a first person zombie-killing role playing game that offers both co-op and individual playing options. The game is available in a cool “Rigor Mortis Collector’s Edition,” which includes the game with alternate box art, a zombie hula-girl figurine, a severed head bottle-opener/magnet, and a key with a wooden keychain all housed in a suitcase styled box. More importantly this edition includes some extra features to the game itself – a digital strategy map, unlockable content, a pack of weapon MODs, and an alternate character skin.
The story is pretty simple. Four survivors from the original Dead Island find themselves shipwrecked on a tropical island during a zombie outbreak. The first playable mission actually takes place on a military battleship that the characters have arrived on after having escaped a zombie overrun island. On the ship, the are interrogated by the military. They are given a medication that knocks them out, only to wake up in the same sort of zombie-infested situation they had just escaped. Players pick which character they want to play as and work their way through each mission trying to stay alive. I like the aspect of getting to choose between different characters, because the game is a little different depending on which one is picked. Each character has a different set of zombie killing, and survival, skills.
Dead Island: Riptide is fairly challenging right from the start. Learning to fight the zombies effectively takes some trial and error, and I couldn’t instantly complete the first mission. It also took me a while to get good at picking up all the little goodies lying around the terrain. Characters can pick up cash – an absolute necessity for getting pretty much anything else useful – along with food, weapons, and weapons components. There are stations where better weapons can be manufactured from parts that have been accumulated (similar to Dead Rising). Playability is a little difficult at first though improves once you get used to the controls.
Exploring each location is my favorite part of the game. The detail of the surroundings are very good. There are a lot of hidden places to look for supplies. Though it is fun to look through everything, finding all the weapons’ components proves to be difficult. The game provides little hints along the way, one being that Molotov cocktails are effective against swarms of zombies. That is great, but you can have hard time coming up with all the necessary ingredients to make one. In the end, this game is a learning experience. It takes some playing to get good at being a survivor. Although at times frustrating, ultimately this challenge makes the game more fun.
Co-op play allows four players to work on an objective together. The cool thing about this is game play is not limited to the fighting style of one character. With multiple players utilizing the skills of each character, a lot more zombie-killing mayhem can be had. And the objective can be accomplished more creatively, and hopefully more quickly. The co-op mode also allow characters to use the skills at whatever point they are leveled up to. So if a player joins a friend in co-op mode who is at a lower level, your character will fight with all the skills you have earned, instead of being knocked down to the other player’s level.
Overall, Dead Island: Riptide is a pretty fun game. Fans of zombie-killing games are likely to enjoy what this title has to offer. The co-op mode offers the opportunity to play with friends, adding an increased element of challenge and fun to the game. The different characters make this game satisfying for hours of playing.