sun 25/02/2024

Dead Island: Riptide | reviews, news & interviews

Dead Island: Riptide

Dead Island: Riptide

Paradise island? More like zombie action armageddon

'Dead Island: Riptide': Zombies and games swim in the same murky waters

It has to have been the trailer, there's really no other explanation. Before the original Dead Island came out, there was a trailer. And not just a trailer, but the trailer – probably the most finely-crafted, greatest piece of teaser content ever created for film, TV or games. It's the only possible reason why Dead Island sold as well as it did... and unfortunately, there isn't a similarly brilliant trailer for its sequel, Riptide.

The original trailer (see it here) used some beautifully heart-tugging music and a time-running-backwards schtick to pick apart a holidaying family's descent into zombie armageddon. It made people cry – for a game trailer, that's unheard of. And when the game came out it sold over five million copies, despite middling reviews and, worse, despite the fact that the game bore no real resemblance to the trailer.

Zombies attack in Dead Island RiptideFive million people had been misled by a very smart marketing campaign. Because while the trailer was emotional and elegaic, Dead Island was a scrappily bolted-together affair that cut-and-shut together a paradise island setting, four-player cooperative action and ludicrous weapon crafting for a very dumb, action-oriented take on zombies.

Now its makers are back with a sequel – a new island, new zombie types and a new hero to take on the shambling undead. But no beautifully-crafted trailer. After all, gamers have seen the little guy behind the curtain now – they won't be fooled again.

That's bad news for Riptide though. Because in every other detail, this really is a very direct and simple sequel to the original. It's still a dumb, enthusiastic run-and-stab/gun/run over action game. It's still at its best when played four-player rather than solo. And it's still got pretty much all the bad bits held over from the original.

Those are: copious bugs, glitches and errors (although nowhere near as many as in the original game at launch); an incredibly over-complex weapon crafting system that's less fun than jabbing yourself with your own hand-crafted electrified fish knife while trying to scroll through gigantic and nonsensical spreadsheets; and plot and character writing that makes Michael Jackson's Thriller video look like 28 Days Later in comparison.

Island holidays from hell - zombie armageddon in Dead Island RiptideWorst of all though, there's a serious lack of variety to the actual play – missions are the worst offenders here, they're either "get this thing from across the island" or "protect our base from another wave of zombies". That demonstrates a serious lack of ambition on the part of the developers and delivers a game that offers few reasons to wade all the way through.

A few new enemies, a new main character and the ability to get in and out of incredibly annoying and hard-to-control boats – that's the new meat on the bone of Riptide. So, if you're hankering for a mainstream game that's mostly knockabout zombie-hacking fun, enjoy. But if you're after something a bit deeper, smarter and better – well, perhaps the Dead Island franchise will finally live up the promise of its trailer next time (don't hold your breath).

Less fun than jabbing yourself with your own hand-crafted electrified fish knife while trying to scroll through gigantic and nonsensical spreadsheets


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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