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Review

Dead Island: Riptide Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: April 22, 2013
  • PC

Dead Island: Riptide might look like an idyllic zombie-fest, but it's little more than a frustrating mess of half-baked ideas and repetitive combat.

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It starts promisingly enough: a mad dash off a sinking ship, a military coup, and a zombie horde just aching to be shown the business end of a shotgun. And then, just like that, the promise is taken away. Dead Island: Riptide teases far more in its opening minutes than it ever manages to deliver across its lengthy campaign. There's no drama, and little excitement. Instead, there's a rehash of old ideas, combat that's fun for all of five minutes, and a seemingly never-ending slog of repetitive missions filled with characters that have the emotional depth of a wet sponge. If there were ever a video game equivalent of smacking your head against a brick wall, Riptide would be it.

The story--and that's using the word generously--is filled with the sort of terrible dialogue, hammy voice acting, and cliches you'd expect to see in an awful zombie spoof, or at best, a trashy B movie. But there's no sense of humour or self-awareness here: to Riptide's detriment, it takes itself very seriously. And that seriousness is hard to swallow when you have to look after a bunch of shallow, argumentative characters who utter irritating swears every few minutes and prove so unlikable that you're willing them to be torn apart by the zombie horde, just so you can have some peace and quiet. Then there's the plot itself, which endlessly meanders between government conspiracy, sci-fi, and human interest, without even the slightest sense of direction.

This all makes it so very hard to care about anything that happens in Riptide. By the time you drag yourself through to the disappointing ending, apathy has taken over to the point where you wouldn't bat an eyelid at even the most grand of revelations. And that's only if you can muster up enough energy to make it that far. Riptide's sandbox island of Hanoi isn't filled with the fun zombie-killing adventures you might expect. Instead, there are fetch quests: lots of fetch quests. And within those fetch quests are yet more fetch quests.

Nearly every single one of the main missions and side quests requires you to head over to a part of the island, find an item, and bring it back to base. Often, before you can retrieve said item, the game makes you fetch something for the person who holds the item, thus creating a fetch quest within a fetch quest. What's more, the narrative reasoning behind each quest is questionable. Why some stranded villager might be after a few measly bucks when the entire island has been overrun with flesh-eating zombies that threaten the very existence of humankind is puzzling.

To make matters worse, the combat that ties the whole thing together remains largely unchanged from that of Dead Island, which is to say it's massively frustrating. The focus is on melee weapons, ranging from blunt objects like baseball bats and shovels, through to blades like carving knives and sickles. Most can be upgraded using items scavenged from around the island, with hidden blueprints giving you access to wilder designs. And initially at least, bludgeoning a zombie to death with an improvised, nail-covered baseball bat is amusing, thanks to the resulting blood splatters, severed limbs, and grisly sound effects.

The limitations of the combat soon become clear, though. Attacking zombies still feels wildly inaccurate, slow, and very dull, making it difficult to truly master. The result is that the combat quickly deteriorates into a repetitive mess as you kick a zombie backward, flail randomly at it, back off while it attacks, and then repeat the whole process ad nauseam. A stamina bar ensures you can't just spam an attack--particularly when you're using heavier weapons that drain the bar faster--but rather than giving the game a more realistic feel, it just further enhances the dull combat.

The vast majority of the zombies you face attack in the same way, rushing towards you until you knock them back with a kick to start the dull attack process. There are some special zombies that remain unchanged from those in Dead Island, including charger, spitter, and boomer types; they have slightly different movesets here, but you end up tackling them in exactly the same way, because your options are so limited. For a game so focused on combat, it's galling that you spend most of your time wanting to avoid zombies, just so you can spare yourself the resulting tedium.

Using a vehicle to get around takes some of the edge off of that tedium, because ploughing through groups of zombies in a jeep or cutting through them in a rickety old boat is far quicker than melee. Inevitably, though, you're still forced to engage in hand-to-hand combat once you reach your destination. Guns do arrive much later, but the weedy, inaccurate shooting isn't something to look forward to. Neither are Riptide's few horde missions, where you must protect your base from an onslaught of evil zombies. You can put up fences, lay mines, and take on a few side quests (of the fetch variety, naturally) in order to strengthen your defences, but it's all moot: just repeat your trusty "kick, swipe, back off" pattern a few hundred times, and the job's done.

Your reward for the hard combat slog is experience points, which are used to level up your character and unlock new skills, such as increased weapon accuracy and faster recovery times. Not that they make a whole lot of difference to the way the game plays, mind: it's all about keeping your level up to that of the zombies around you so you can fetch those items for other characters. Fortunately, levelling up is swift thanks to generous XP allocations, frequent checkpointing, and a death system that gives you unlimited lives, with the only penalty being the loss of cash you may have earned during missions or scrounged from the environment.

Riptide's role-playing game elements mean that as much as you might want to, you can't avoid combat entirely. But then, even if you did, what you'd be left with is a shallow husk of a storyline and an irritating cast of characters that you'd much rather see turned into a bloody mess than offered rescue. Not to mention that if you played the original Dead Island, there's not much new to see here. There's so little to like in Riptide that mustering up the enthusiasm to reach the lacklustre ending is a challenge for only the most hardcore of zombie fans to take on.

And don't try enlisting a few friends for some four-player co-op: it doesn't make the game any more exciting. Sure, having a few friends around makes those hordes disappear a little faster, and there are some extra quests you can take on, but the core experience remains as glacial as ever. Riptide is dumb, and mind-numbingly slow, and somehow manages to make the art of zombie-slaying feel like utter tedium. And if slaying zombies isn't fun in a game that's all about slaying zombies, why bother?

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The Good
Cool blood effects and dismemberments
The Bad
Boring, repetitive missions
Weak voice acting and dialogue
Soulless, irritating characters
Frustrating combat
4
Poor
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Discussion

2073 comments
razzledazzle666
razzledazzle666

I must have a different game to this reviewer, i think it's a vast improvement over the first game. While it does have problems i feel the overall experience is worth the money. The combat has been improved basically by making the zombies more aggresive. In the first game the zombies were usually just standing around waiting to be hit or ambling towards you begging to be decapitated. In Dead Island Riptide even the basic walkers charge and swing at you making combat against 3 or more walkers deadly if you don't take them seriously. The driving feels more weighty and responsive and the boats are a nice change of pace with zombies clinging to your boat as you speed away from a chasing pack of infected sprinters,, thrilling stuff. Using guns is now a legitimate option ( especially for Purna) as headshots now do massive damage and the aiming has been tightened up. Base defence is exciting and frantic, new horrific monsters to kill including boss zombies! Fantastic beach views and man those tunnels are scary and claustrophobic! I think to get the best out of this game you have to sit in a dark room at night with the volume up loud just like horror movies, if you play while eating your dinner in an office full of people with the sun coming through the windows you just wont get the atmosphere needed to enjoy the horror. It's certainly not perfect by all means.. a few bugs and glitches here and there and repetitive dialogue from NPC's is annoying but overall i feel this game should get a score of 8/10.. certainly better than a 4!

shindark
shindark

Seriously... this game sucks!!!

Just the same as the prequel without any improvements.

First Dead Island was little more than mediocre. If you release a carbon copy of a mediocre game the result can be only worst than the original one.

Def_DC
Def_DC

Crazy.  I admit DI and DI:R aren't PERFECT games, but they are FUN!  I bought DI:R after the price plummeted and I'm having a blast.  I enjoyed the first as well.   They are both a solid 7 / 7.5.   


I started playing as the blade chick using, well...  blades.  Then a modified staff was whooping some ass.  And then more mods.  And then realizing the power of throwing a few heavily modded weapons.   And the harpoon gun!   

This game is fun!  

airborne26
airborne26

If the reviewer was the guy who was playing in the video review its no wonder why he hates the game so much, he totally sucks at it. Zombies don't even have a chance of getting a bite outta me.

krayzgerman
krayzgerman

lol... the only good thing about this game is the exact reason why Germany banned it... So ridiculous.

outlawst
outlawst

almost nothing new ,but,walking at those beautiful beaches and chop off some zombie heads is still fun...  

BallsCon
BallsCon

I give this game 7/10. I give this abysmal review 1/10. Hello IGN here i come.

themaster22
themaster22

Look at the feebackula. some idiot says this game is a pile of poo. Would you like your children to talk in this quite infantile manner? The reviewers on this site are a collection of ill-educated childish scum, who have massive egos and cannot communicate their opinions without resorting to hyperbole. They make me laugh. The game is still selling well and it's solid. Don't knock a game you cant review.

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

This is basically DLC for the first game. Don't get me wrong, the first DI was a great change of pace from other zombie games. It brought a new experience to the table. It just seems like they didn't try as hard on Riptide as they did the first time around. The cut-scenes' dialogue runs over itself consistently and the voices don't match their mouths. Now before you tell me that graphics aren't all that matters; I know that. They are helpful though. And when a character doesn't pack any emotion into their words, it is hard to form bonds with them. Combat is exactly the same as it was. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, but I expected them to renovate the game, at least a little bit, in that department. Another tropical island? Really? Quests are hard to come up with, so I kind of understand their lack of creativity on that part, however, fetch missions are the worst kind, especially when they're part of the main story. 

Overall I give the game a 5.0 for not being innovative and basically reissuing the same game.

themaster22
themaster22

So you post some ignorant self opinionated crap on video. You never mention my statements. Is this supposed to justify your review you idiot. You're best way out is to pick bits out of reviews because of the spelling. Your review is pathetic and it is way out of line.

Gamespot UK send me the next 3 games he reviews and I will review them for nothing. Then sack him if my reviews are more balanced than his. This review is a slanted attack on a game and a genre. It is pedantic and totally misinformed. 

Making videos that slate customers is quite obscene. I hope I get the chance to make those 3 reviews.

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

Whats worse? A reviewer that expresses an independent opinion, or one that takes a poll of all the others before offering one.  I don't know anything about this game but I find it refreshing seeing someone with the stones to say what he thinks.

zector45
zector45

"Mark Walton"

"He's known to respond well to Long Island Iced Tea, falafels, and karaoke, but not necessarily in that order."

Well... that explains his problem.

Anyone with half a brain knows that Dead Island is an awesome game. Sure, the story isn't deep, but we all knew that going in. The main focus of Dead Island is the zombie killing, and I haven't seen any other game do it better. Left 4 Dead and L4D2 received rave reviews, and it doesn't even have a story, good graphics, customizable characters, vehicles, customizable weapons, a variety of weapons, interactive players, quests, collectable items, etc. Granted L4D is a good game in it's own way, but Dead Island is a way bigger animal and should be recognized as such. I haven't played a more addicting zombie game since Dead Island. Even the recent Resident Evils are starting to suck and get boring. A 4/10 is unjustifiable for a game that does what no other game has.


Mark should head on over to IGN and see how intelligent reviewers rate a game:

http://www.ign.com/games/dead-island-2/pc-121880

themaster22
themaster22

You lost your tongue Mr Walton? Haven't you bothered to read the comments made about your review. Think gamers can't express an opinion? Well think again, I want answers from you, ignorant cretin. 


themaster22
themaster22

This review is an insult to the game, I invite Mark Walton to defend his comments. They are vapid, unjustified and they demean the game. As a reviewer I feel he has a duty to either pull the review or justify it. That's two options, no off switch.

vicke32
vicke32

And CoD Blops2 got 8/10, seems legit.

toshineon
toshineon

I agree that it isn't the greatest game, but c'mon... you gave it the "Same As Last Year" emblem, I can think of quite a few games that deserve that more than this and still doesn't get it.

cuk2uk
cuk2uk

Gamespot u gave it 4 wtf

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

Look, I appreciate your views, I do.

I just can't accept that a whole new, full title release without a number at the end of it, is not considered a sequel to the original?

It doesn't matter how you (Deep Silver) dress it up, it is what it is, number or not! It is not the first game after all, is it? It's the second game in the series!

Would you class Rocky Balboa as an extended movie of Rocky V? No it's the sixth movie. The same can be said of other movies too.

It is the same with anything, if it's the second of something, ie. not the first, then naturally it is the second, by definition a sequel, the number after the previous instalment! It can't be anything else! lol

Latebloomer9
Latebloomer9

I picked up my Pre-order & I'm into chapter 2.... I'm LOVING this game so far.  Ya it's just more of Dead Island with some tweaks & adds but if you loved the first one, you should love this one. 
Since Deep Silver has stated that this isn't DI2 (a full sequel), this should be enjoyed for what it is.
I  like that so far you're at least doing some fighting alongside other AI teams in Single Play.  There's more zombies/herds & they're more powerful than before - they can climb into your boat & onto rocks. This is not easier than DI was.
The story doesn't suck so far either.  Imo, this reviewer had to of hated the first one to rate this one so poorly.  To me, it's a great game & I'm so glad I bought it.

AlexFili
AlexFili

Shame the developers failed to innovate. What were they thinking?

smithster77
smithster77

I have already commented a few days ago, but I have just re-watched this review after having a look at the IGN review and it seems IGN to be spot on the mark. I own the original Dead Island and am not defending this game which has done little to deserve any decent score, but a 7.2 (IGN) sounds on the mark add that to Gamespot User Scores of 7.4, Metacritic Scores of 6.6 and IGN Community Scores of 8.4, doesn't really average out to anything close to a 4! hmmm.... please explain Gamespot

My original post stated "chip on ones shoulder for some reason". My own statement keeps niggling away at me lol.

Brumbek
Brumbek

This review should be pulled because it is tainted with mean-spirited normative statements telling the player how they will FEEL instead of simply educating the player so he or she can make an informed decision. The following is a long list to prove my point.

Consider Mr. Walton’s following statement: “If there were ever a video game equivalent of smacking your head against a brick wall, Riptide would be it.” Is he serious? Playing Riptide is as bad as seriously injuring yourself? Hyperbole has no place in professional reviews. Moreover, if Riptide is truly excruciating, how is it not a 1 or 2 score? To show his absurdity, I conclude Mr. Walton thinks smashing his head against a wall is just a “poor” experience but not terrible.

Mr. Walton then says the game has “combat that's fun for all of five minutes”. This is a normative statement that directly contradicts the fact that many of us enjoy the combat for hours on end. Notice, Mr. Walton isn’t saying HE had fun for 5 minutes, he is telling us combat CANNOT be enjoyed for more than 5 minutes. Words have meaning, and professionals are supposed to use words well. Mr. Walton has not.

Mr. Walton also says combat revolves around “the dull attack process”. You mean dull as in how I upgrade a rare machete then craft it to add fire so I can chop off zombie limbs one by one as the zombie burns? The game is what you make it. It appears Walton fails to recognize how proper skill and weapon selection combined with proper tactics is what makes the game interesting. I fear Walton got repeatedly killed by Thugs (which is irksome) because he didn’t know about the quick lunging back and forth (which the game doesn’t explain in his defense).

To prove Walton’s lack of understanding about combat, he says about skills, “Not that they make a whole lot of difference to the way the game plays…”. Dead wrong; the math doesn’t lie. With Xian, you can make your blade weapons last over 50% longer, do over 15% higher critical chance, rarely run out of stamina, cause major bleeding, and so on. Xian with proper skills is a slicing and dicing FIEND. 

The other characters also become very good with smart skill selection and practice. I worry Mr. Walton was using blunt weapons with a blade build or vice-versa, which does make the game REALLY frustrating.

Also, the video review’s bizarre mocking of Sam B being the blunt weapons guy is totally in poor taste. Sam B is physically large and most fit for blunt weapons…a fact lost on Walton it seems since he’d rather mock it for some secondary drug reference I had never even considered.

Most importantly, Mr. Walton doesn’t point out the characters are very class-based, unlike L4D for instance. Although he doesn’t mind insinuating the special monsters are L4D clones. Comparison is fine, but you owe it to your readers to compare responsibility. DI borrows a lot from L4D, Dead Rising, and Borderlands, which many of us find totally fantastic!

Continuing on he says “you spend most of your time wanting to avoid zombies”. Again he’s telling me what I WILL DO AND WANT! Uh, no. In DI1, I actively sought out packs of zombies so I could slice and dice for big experience combos! The point is his statement offers ZERO helpful analysis and has no place in a professional review.

Even worse he says, “There's so little to like in Riptide that…”. Again with the normative statements! Your job is not to tell us what to think but to describe the game accurately so we can make up our OWN MINDS. Funny that I find there’s so MUCH to like in Riptide that the flaws are overlooked.

To put the nail in the coffin, he says, “And don't try enlisting a few friends for some four-player co-op: it doesn't make the game any more exciting…” Are you serious? DI1 & Riptide flow really nicely when you have a blunt, blade, and guns focus character working together. Did you play with a competent Sam B partner? He knocks zombies back and Xian runs in and slices and dices. But you wouldn’t know it seems. You just tell us coop isn’t fun. That isn’t good enough for a professional.

Lastly, the review fails to acknowledge that Riptide is still a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else. It also fails to reconcile how the combat from DI1 could be praised yet ripped apart in Riptide.

In conclusion, Mr. Walton seems to have despised Riptide and let his loathing color his whole review. We’ve all unfairly judged something before, but professionals are held to a higher standard. I say pull this mean-spirited review and let someone else take a fair look at the game. If you still think it is worse than Aliens: CM then so be it. Just give me the information without telling me what to think, please.

RichardLG
RichardLG

@themaster22He's too busy obsessing over high top trainers and mobile games to give a crap about what we think of actual games.

Warriorpoet2007
Warriorpoet2007

Have you played the game?, I think he is spot on....not to mention the glitchiness

glassDance
glassDance

Blops2 is a much, much better game.

bannermanner
bannermanner

@toshineon Really?  I can't.  Dead Island is the same right down to the music in the pause menu.

potamus66
potamus66

@Latebloomer9 

sounds like you just don't want to admit you pre-ordered and bought a shitty game.

razzledazzle666
razzledazzle666

@Brumbek Brilliant post my friend! I wish you were the reviewer.. you obviously ' get' what Dead Island is all about and i couldn't have said it better myself. Top Comment!!

zector45
zector45

@Brumbek Best comment ever! but of course Gamespot won't pull the review. They are too smug to do something so rational. Although they did fire Jeff Gerstmann for giving Kane and Lynch a bad score, which the game deserved very much; and he didn't deserve to lose his job over telling the truth! This is why I go to IGN instead of Gamespot 100% of the time! I only come here for comparison purposes, and I regret it every time I do because it seems they are hiring "ill-equipped" reviewers who lack any form of professionalism or objectivity. 

glassDance
glassDance

Absolute rubbish. Hyperbole is absolutely fine in professional reviews, it allows the reviewer to make entertaining analogies and metaphors and things. The reviewer assumes we understand how hyperbole can be used this way and that we don't actually think he's relating it to actual physical pain. We very obviously know this, so your point is completely weightless.

The reviewer doesn't need to wrap IMO tags around statements for the simple reason that the /entire/ written piece is his opinion. That's the point of a review, to state your opinion. We can take normative statements in the context of this knowledge and realise they're not telling us how everyone thinks.

I'm sure the reviewer, a person paid to play and review video games, doesn't need you to inform him how to play a game. I'm sure he was aware of the way combat works, and simply found it dull. Just because you enjoyed hacking the limbs off zombies over and over with slight variation doesn't mean everyone will.

The reviewer is absolutely correct when he states the stats and skills do little to change how the game plays. Yes, the characters and skills let you slightly vary attacks and let certain characters become more effective in certain ways than others, but the brunt of the game will still be made up of almost identical actions. You might think adding bleed attack significantly mixes it up, others will find the fact they're endlessly hacking/averting to be slightly off putting.

I played the game with four players and it was, IMO, boring and repetitive and extremely lacking in charm or excitement. The story and characters were flat, poorly written, and combat was a chore. I played the first game on PC with a tonne of mods that improved combat dramatically, and the game still became dull after a few hours simply because it repeats itself over and over. Riptide does the same thing.

YOU might enjoy it, but that doesn't mean 4/10 isn't a valid opinion. The majority see this game as a disappointment, just check user reviews and sites like meta critic. The critiques are valid and shared by many. And while that doesn't in anyway mean your own opinions are less so, you certainly need to realise this fact for yourself.

The reviewer did a fine job, get over the face he didn't like something you obviously like a lot.

smithster77
smithster77

@Brumbek Its because its not exactly like Call of Duty Black Ops, which every first person game  review seems to be based on! It will be interesting to see if Gamespot staff actually give a rats about our opinions I wonder, because there is a lot of us in your court Brumbek.

themaster22
themaster22

@Warriorpoet2007 No I've never played the game, that's why I posted. Has anyone seen such a stupid post as this. 

Refer to the user scores and metacritic scores. 4/10 is indefensible. This is a decent game and yes I am playing it.

wilson336
wilson336

@Warlord_Irochi @wilson336 Oh, I agree. I enjoyed the first (and this one). I find it humorous that there are so many bad to mediocre reviews, yet so many people find this game highly entertaining. Makes you wonder where the disconnect is.

Pablo_lurbe
Pablo_lurbe

@glassDance Better? haha tell me more please
i have bops2, and No, its not better, 60$ for a crap campaign and a multiplayer and 60$ dlc pack its not better than a 35$ open world full of zombie coop play game.

vicke32
vicke32

@glassDance
>is
>3rd person singular present of be
>be
>exist
>objective
So, Blops2, same as Blops1 and/or MW3, a few new levels, a few new guns, a supply-drop or two, 8/10
Dead Island: Riptide, same as Dead Island, a few new levels, a few new guns, a skill or two, 4/10
Don't ever say that a game is "better" than another one, you can't compare/measure something so subjective.
Riptide is a better sequel than Blobs2 in that it actually adds something new. Blops2 did to Blops what Blops did to MW2, basically nothing.

toshineon
toshineon

@bannermanner @toshineon Sure, but you can't really call Dead Island an annual franchise, which is essentially what that emblem says. There's only one other Dead Island game, and it was released years ago.

cuk2uk
cuk2uk

@bmart970 @cuk2uk ive almost finished the game and its at least 7        in the worst case scenario due to repetitive environments 6

Brumbek
Brumbek

@glassDanceIt seems you subscribe to the incorrect notion that a review is 'just an opinion'. A review is defined as "a formal assessment or examination of something." An opinion is "a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge." The two are not synonymous.

You say, "Just because you enjoyed hacking the limbs off zombies over and over with slight variation doesn't mean everyone will." That is EXACTLY my point. Quite ironic you are proving my point accidentally.

Regardless, I salute you for keeping this civil.

RichardLG
RichardLG

@wilson336 it's because games like these are better with good friends and this guy has none.

slayer1090
slayer1090

@wilson336 There are more mindless people in this world than there are able minded people, problem solved.

vicke32
vicke32

@RichardLG @vicke32 @glassDance 
Not really, my statement means that scores are redundant and serve no purpose. Also, you can still compare aspects of a game, for example; Starcraft 2 is a better competitive game than Europa Universalis 3. I can't say "SC2 > EU3" though, but if I ranked SC2 as "7/10" and EU3 as "6.5/10" then I would be implying that. Most people only see the score and the list of good and bad things, they don't even see the video/read all the text so I do so as well. On the tin gamespot is saying that Dead Island: Riptide is a worse game than blops2, which isn't true.

RichardLG
RichardLG

@vicke32 @glassDance but doesn't saying  "Don't ever say that a game is "better" than another one, you can't compare/measure something so subjective." also justify this guy's review completely as well as the high scores of blops 2? Just a thought.

Dead Island: Riptide More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Dead Island Riptide is the second installment in the Dead Island franchise where the undead nightmare starts all over again, leaving hope drowning in the rising tides.
    6.8
    Average User RatingOut of 480 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dead Island: Riptide
    Developed by:
    Techland
    Published by:
    Deep Silver, CyberFront, Spike Chunsoft
    Genres:
    Shooter, First-Person, Team-Based, Action, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs