25th Apr2013

‘Dead Island: Riptide’ Review (Xbox 360)

by Phil Wheat

Oh my god… Just when you thought Techland’s Dead Island couldn’t get any worse, along comes the sequel!

DI-Rip

I think it’s safe to say gamers were severely burned by the original Dead Island – after all the original filmic trailer bore ZERO resemblance to the finished product, which itself was full of bugs, glitches and issues that rendered the game almost unplayable. Those that did persevere with the game weren’t rewarded for their patience either. So now comes the sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, which developers Techland promises is a much more polished affair.

They lied.

Dead Island: Riptide continues on with the same abominable problems as the first game,  including terrible collision detection that seems to have a mind of its own, ropey graphics complete with tons of screen tear (even in the cut scenes for christ’s sake!), and what look to be unfinished graphics in both the zombies and their surroundings. Of all the problems, the collision detection is my biggest bug-bear with the game. The completely unpredictable way in which you can one minute be hack your way through crowds of zombies with ease, and then suddenly have your weapon literally pass through the same crowd of zombies WITHOUT DOING THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF DAMAGE is so frustrating it puts a damper on any “good” the game may do.

The game sees you once again (following a fantastic first few scenes set on a ship) wandering around the beautiful locale hacking and slashing your way, FPS-style, through hordes of zombies whilst trying to complete various missions, level your character up, build new weapons and basically survive. There have been changes to how the leveling mechanic works but it still takes too long to build up a decent cache of weaponry (the early guns not included). Fair enough, you do get a crowbar in the early stage of the game but the fact you run out of “power” whilst wielding it does absolutely nothing to help bolster any confidence is the combat system.

Characters from the first game are brought back for Dead Island: Riptide, alongside new character John Morgan – whose only admirable character trait is a hefty new kick mechanic that can make close combat and melee situations a little more even-sided. You can, as I did, import your already levelled up character from the first game. But fat lot of good that will do you  when the collision detection is so bad… Although I will say some of the zombies in this game are so ” dead” they have no clue you’re in the vicinity until you lump them on the head with the crowbar! Which means you can, if you choose to, run past all the games stupider zombies.

I can’t stress this enough. Dead Island: Riptide does not correct ANY of the mistakes of the original. If you didn’t have any fun playing the first game, you really won’t like this one either. My advise? Rent or borrow this. Definitely not worth buying, which is probably why Techland/Deep Silver are still offering the controversial “zombie torso” collectors edition for sale – to tempt suckers!

* 1/5

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