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Dead Island Riptide (Video Game Review)

Developer Techland and publisher Deep Silver released a truly unique new series to the world back in September 2011 with the release of the original Dead Island. Though the game featured many technical problems and lacked the polish of larger budget releases, nobody could deny the fun of bashing and slashing undead hordes to level up and choose another skill for their unique character class, and that fun was increased dramatically when playing online with up to three other players.

Dead Island Riptide
continues to improve on the original title with an all new storyline, a fifth protagonist and a different island location to explore. Players who enjoyed the original game will want to pick up Dead Island Riptide immediately, but the new release has made enough improvements to draw in a new crowd desperate for a unique new shooter.

Dead Island Riptide
picks up shortly after the ending of the original Dead Island. Our four heroes Xian Mei, Sam B., Logan Carter and Purna have made their way to an escape helicopter away from the zombie infested island of Banoi and onto a military liner. This is where the team meets up with John Morgan who spends his days as a cook for the military and nights mastering his hand-to-hand combat skills. Morgan will have to put his skills to the test when yet another zombie outbreak finds the group on the island of Palanai fighting for survival in a situations and locale very similar to the last game. Still, Dead Island Riptide features a new island location with plenty of memorable landmarks including most notably Dead Zones that house plenty of good loot and deadly monsters for the adventurous survivors among us. Dead Island Riptide's storyline is predictable and not overly exciting, as the early story missions find the group at each others' throats with trust issues but ultimately coming together to battle the true enemy in yet another forgettable final boss encounter. Narrative is the strongest feature in the Dead Island, but grinding out levels and customizing weapons is still just as addictive as ever in Dead Island Riptide.

For those that don't know, Dead Island Riptide is like a first-person action game and shooter with plenty of RPG elements not completely unlike a game such as Borderlands. Players will gain access to both story missions and gain side quests from NPCs throughout the game, and experience points, money and loot can be earned and unlocked through repetition of completing missions and searching the game's environments for hidden items. Characters progress through level and earn skill points to spend on special abilities such as the newcomers unique brawler moves that make him deadly with hand-to-hand weapons and grant special attacks such as the ability to kick a zombie all the way across the island. Depending on how far a player has progressed through the game will still determine how rare firearm and ammunition drops are, and melee weapons are always plentiful. One cool new additions allows veterans of the series to import characters and statistics into Dead Island Riptide to continue leveling and battling against zombies exactly where the character left off in the first game. The game manages to do a great job of balancing high level and low level characters by giving each player their own benefits from killing zombies, and no matter what level the player is, the zombie enemies will match that player's strength and abilities only. Other new mechanics include new weapons such as metal knuckles perfect for the new brawler character. It all adds up to make an already fun and addictive formula even better this time around.

Along with a forgettable story, Dead Island Riptide doesn't feature a strong voicecast once again either, and this only leads players to quickly lose interest in why they're fighting, and luckily the game is still fun even without a strong narrative driving the player forward. A strong soundtrack from composer Pawal Blaszczak helps sets the tone for the entire game however making for a more immersive experience when exploring Palanai. Creepy sound effects and the satisfying sound of leveling up or slicing off a zombie's limbs is rewarding as ever too. Along with some new environments, new zombies such as the Drowner that appears to be a lifeless corpse lying underwater until a survivor walks past making it quickly spring to life and grab the survivor for a surprising scare! If you've yet to experience the Dead Island franchise, there's never been a better time to start playing the series, and a discounted launch price should make this an obvious choice for fans of the series. Though the game has a few limitations, fun new additions make Dead Island Riptide the best zombie game in years and a whole lot of fun when playing together with some buddies no matter what level each player is at the time. Pick up your copy of Dead Island Riptide for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or PC today for some good old fashioned zombie killing fun!

Dead Island Riptide is now available from most major retailers for the MSRP of $49.99 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Dead Island Riptide is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language & Use of Drugs. For more information on the game, check out the official Dead Island Riptide website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-4
  • 5 Playable Characters
  • New Zombies, Weapons and Location
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Techland
    Publisher: Deep Silver
    Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed) & PC
    Release Date: April 23, 2013

    Score: 8 out of 10


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