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Review

Dead Island: Riptide Review

  • Game release: April 22, 2013
  • Reviewed: April 25, 2013
  • X360

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?

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

102 comments
HornyChunLi
HornyChunLi

Well, I played the first game when it released and enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed it so much that I played through the game multiple times I lost count. Dead Island: Riptide is a masterpiece of a horror game. It's perfect in every aspect and I highly recommend it, especially to gamers who actually played the first game, and to those who are new to the series. It's an AMAZING GAME. Don't listen to the haters. They are being biase because all the protagonist aren't WHITE MALE LEADS. Again I recommend "DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE", to all gamers looking for a scary awesome experience, more horrifying than the movie ""Evil Dead".   

mulder_000
mulder_000

Played this last week on Steam when it was free.  Plenty of bugs still in the game.  If it goes on sale for $5 or less, it's worth it.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

If 4.0 = Poor, I think he's being incredibly generous with that score, even just by looking at his own review.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Playing the original now, and having a great time. Smacking zombies just doesn't get old, especially if you enable the analog function for combat. Might pick this up later this year.

B_STATS
B_STATS

Gotten any love via patches yet? How's it handle now?

Limowrecked
Limowrecked

From gamespot review: The good about Dead Island - Melee combat is grisly fun, now the bad about Riptide - combat is dull and dumb and didnt change since the original. Summarizing: Bravo Gamespot

monicker
monicker

Another terrible review. This is not a 4. 4/5 games are borderline broken. This lives up to what it's advertising. The game is fun, if not more of the same. Didn't care for the original, you won't like this. Loved the original? This one isn't as fun, but you'll still have a good time. I loved how so many people dumped on the first one because of some dumb ass commercial, yet most people (with bad/luke warm reviews) were all, but it's still fun and addictive. Seriously WTF!? This isn't a ground breaking franchise, it's a coll new attempt at the zombie genre, one that will pave the way for better games of it's ilk.

guitarslay3r
guitarslay3r

I liked the first one, but it doesn't really hook you to it, and it isn't able to keep you interested the entire way through i'm about 60% through and done playing.

el_mariarchi_01
el_mariarchi_01

The first game was interesting but not great tbh. I wont go near this one. There wont be any decent games for either 360 or PS3 because the consoles are near the end of their life cycles. There is only 1 decent game left to come on this generation: Grand Theft Auto 5.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

Got the first one on sale from GMG. Shocked I actually like it. I perhaps felt lied to from the cinematic trailer, since it wasn't live action. Bugs in certain games make them unplayable, but a few bugs here and there are to be expected with such complicated game. I wouldn't let bugs influence my score, but I would let it influence the purchase price. At $5 it's pretty dang good. Initititally I'd give it a 7 and the sequel would be similar. I'm starting to dislike number ratings in general. I like this better than Borderlands and we know how overrated Borderlands is. This doesn't deserve an 8.5 or 9 and neither doesn't Borderlands.

lndf117
lndf117

After reading this review i then went to ign and read their review as well as watching a video on the game. I have since played the game and i can say that it is similar to the first game but in my opinion it has improved on many things from the first game. Obviously i am not a reviewer nor will i say the game is perfect but i don't think it is bad enough to warrant a 4 rating either.

ebilsan
ebilsan

Love this site for the gaming news, but the reviews are just way off sometimes. Fine, the game is a lot like the first one and has a few bugs. But a 4? It's not broken. It's not just a complete money grab (it's even priced lower than most new games). It's not promising something it's not. This is just a really poor assessment. I find myself relying less and less on this site for a true take on new games.

buffaloblitz85
buffaloblitz85

So how is this different from the first game?... Oh wait it isn't, so why give it a 4?  Why not have the same person who reviewed the 1st game review the 2nd?  Why is it that Fallout Vegas which had virtually the same problems get a significantly higher score( not saying it should receive same)?  Why do I keep writing questions?  Please can someone answer this?

themaster22
themaster22

Why is this gormless piece of human filth still employed? I've never seen such a slanted game review come out of one cretins twisted mind Why don't you wake up parasite look at the metacrtitic and user scores. This game is ok it's not blinding  its a 6.5 -7.5.

 I 'd never review Devil May Cry because I hate the genre. You hate this game and its predecessor. You have you have no self respect and I pity you Walton. You are a pathetic example of a human being, unwilling to justify yourself as a reviewer. You have no shame, you are an utter waste of time and space and I will not trust any more reviews that Gamespot publishes until you are sacked. Shabby, slanted journalism of this type is not acceptable and neither are you.

HLno1
HLno1

The game should've been reviewed by the same person who reviewed the original Dead Island... And this goes to every other game (franchise,saga). Agreed?

Stuiegrah
Stuiegrah

It's amazing how some games are really slated for being repetitive and some are praised for it (call of duty, every driving game ever made, street fighter) Granted it is repetitive but it's also satisfying and looks fairly good. Tons of different weapons and mods so lots of different possibilities to murder a zombie. Massive map and lots to explore and collect. I bought this game for £28 new and its a bargain for that. I'd give it a 7, a little rough around the edge but very satisfying.

VanOrdSucks
VanOrdSucks

I generally go for games that get a review score of 3.5+  on Gamespot, because from experience, a gamespot score of 4 usually converts to a normal person's 7. But, a gamespot 8-9 is usually a shit game? In my recent experience atleast. 

Jayhawkfan15
Jayhawkfan15

So uh I've been hearing that this game is just like the first. The first game got a 7. So why didn't this one get a 7. This is a horrible review and IGN is a more respectable site. Adios Gamespot.

Agent-Smithy
Agent-Smithy

This game is as worst or even worse than RE 6 .Deserved a 5-5.5 at best.I can't recommend it even for zombie ,horror lovers since there are so much better games of the genre out there.If you pre-order this game ,you r a idiot.....But still lucky than  those who bought aliens colonial marines 

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

Too late for feedbackula?


FUCK YOU MARK, U GOING DOWN BRO

Kolonija123
Kolonija123

Truth be told the review score should be 5 not 4.... The game is shit and boring, people stop spamming... There are still people who don't like these kind of games so fuck off...

SatampraZeiros
SatampraZeiros

If the zombies were wearing hipster glasses this guy would have creamed himself and given this game the "best game evar" title, when I come to gamespot for reviews I only read other players comments and reviews, from actual people that have played the whole game through, or at least halfway through, these guys (gamespot reviewers) usually play a game for 10-30 minutes and base their reviews on those 10-30 minutes.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

So the guy who always rates the soccer and rhythm dance games doesn't like the one zombie slasher he has ever rated.

Shocker.

If it's more of the same, I'm down with it.  I played a whole lot of hours in the original, and enjoyed it in spite of its flaws.  I'm sure I'll play a whole lot of hours on this one, too.  In spite of this reviewer's flaws.

Zombie_Lover69
Zombie_Lover69

The GameSpot.com reviewer/s have a problem with the fact, that the protagonists aren't all Caucasians. Theres no White male lead with 3 blue-eye blonde females slaying zombies to save the Island/world. --Lets see, the cast of Dead IsLand: Riptide includes 5 characters representing 5 different ethnic groups: Sam B is African American, Logan is African American, Purna is Australian, John Morgan is "Caucasian-Australian" & my favorite character: Xian; she's Chinese, and is from Hong Kong. However, I guess being Caucasian-Australian isn't good enough. --The boss at GameSpot.com just told this silly Mark Walton to write a convincing review about this game being really bad, so gamers won't buy it, and Deep Silver will go down, and he'll receieve his bonus early. -- In my opinion, this game is worth a 9.5. Dead Island: Riptide delivers on all levels. The thing I didn't like about it, is that Xian didn't have a sexylicious physique.

bannermanner
bannermanner

This might be the single worst comment I've seen on this site. Kudos!

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

@monicker Here's a novel idea... Write your own review. As many of us on here have mentioned before many times, a reviewer is not here to tell fanboys what they wanna hear, they are here to give their own opinions of a game. He obviouSly thought it was crap, I played it and tend to agree. Fun, for all of 10mins!

angryape
angryape

@RobotEars77 Its an absolutely terrible game.. So repetitive and boring. I'm a massive fan of the horror genre but this game is awful.. giving the first one a 7 was generous in my opinion, for a game that gets boring after the first few hours of gameplay. When you don't make any real changes and release it as a "new" game I think its disrespectful to fans of the original. 

Gh05t_
Gh05t_

@themaster22disregarding the filth you portrayed yourself as in this comment, I'll reply to the 'Shabby, slanted journalism' bit. It's an honest opinion. In fact, It's a professional opinion. The guy get paid to tell you if the game is broken or not. If the problems stated don't phase you, then go on enjoying the game, but do it in your hole.

Flabu
Flabu

@themaster22 You are one of the dumbest humans I have encountered.  The fact that you feel such rage over a game that you did not even create or have any part in means one thing, you must be retarded.  Please cancel your internet connection and go take the short bus to school.

themaster22
themaster22

@themaster22 I've almost finished Riptide, it's workmanlike but very good. I'm surprised Deep Silver don't sue you for this baseless review you cretin. Who the hell let you review games parasite Walton. Horrible nasty review against a game that didn't deserve it.. No doubt your drinking G & T or purple WKD at some overpriced bar you wanker. Shove the drinks up your arse.


monicker
monicker

@Jayhawkfan15 IGN tends to go a little overboard on their games, but I usually agree with them much more than this site. Tom MvShea is the worst offender here, though this review sucked some major balls yo.

Stebsis
Stebsis

@Jayhawkfan15 If a game is just like the first why should it get the same score? Shouldn't games improve on the second game and not be just like the first?

VanOrdSucks
VanOrdSucks

@Jayhawkfan15 Dude it's like the first game & then some. These dudes seriously need to get some new reviewers in man. Riptide is atleast a 7.

themaster22
themaster22

I reviewed 3D Ant Attack, Knight Lore, Heavy on the Magick, Another World, Cannon Fodder and Flashback. What right have you to savage this game?


Yondaro
Yondaro

@Zombie_Lover69 How can you be African AND American? They're two different nations to begin with. They're not ethnicity, they're nationalities. You can't be both. That's like Being Mexican Chinese. 


Now on to the game...

I haven't played this one, but seeing how it has something to do with the first one, I want to vomit. Dead Island was a complete fail. The CGI trailer made it look like it had something to do with a story, plot. At least some character development. Not "Who do you Voo Doo Bitch?" The worst shit ever. I was actually hoping for this one to be better then the first. A very nice idea, bad outcome. 


Someone else needs to take over developing. Someone who can make an island more life like. The Farcry team did an amazing job on 2 and especially 3. If they took over dev from DeepShit, this franchise could do a whole lot better.

monicker
monicker

@NickPunt636 @monicker Here's an even more novel idea...how about you just read the reviews and ignore the comments since if you don't like them. on that note why don't you untuck your nuts, and stop acting like a spoiled little baby...I tend to voice my dissenting opinion (many people do) as this is a perfect forum for it. Life lesson pal, no one, NO ONE likes a sanctimonious prick. If you dont't like it kindly F right the F right off. Have a nice day and please don't bother me again with your crap.

VanOrdSucks
VanOrdSucks

@MatiasMGS @VanOrdSucks Resident Evil 6 AND Resident Evil ORC both got a 4.5, when RE6 is a remarkably better game than ORC. Both Kane and Lynch games only got 6s, not saying they were brilliant games but more than 6s. Bulletstorm got an 8, that game was shit. Far Cry 3 got a 9, that was at most a 6. and yes, CoD, always get high scores yet it's the same ol' repetitive bullshit. Just the same as Riptide was the same old shit as Dead Island, yet it gets a dirt score like a 4, when it's atleast a 7.

Zombie_Lover69
Zombie_Lover69

@Yondaro Well first of all I can see your not a very intelligent moron to begin with, so I won't waste much time here explaining or describing nationalities with you. Go get an education and go to college.


  You didn't even PLAY the 1st GAME ("DEAD ISLAND"), but your here mouthing off like an arrogant F minus 9th grade student.    Your hate towards the awesome lyrics of Sam B shows your being a racist kracker. you have no say on this review because your fill of SHIT!! 


Both games are classics. its certainly one of the underdog games of this gaming Gen, and everyone needs to play it before pre-judging storylines, gameplay, levels, graphics and writing phony reviews on gamespot.com. 

da2g
da2g

@Yondaro since when Africa is a nation? not to mention America - yanks stolen both continents name and named their nation  after. Goddamit guys from Peru are also Americans... 

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@monicker No dude, it's you acting like a spoiled child.  Just so you know.

Time to grow up.

Yondaro
Yondaro

I actually wanted to apologize. Shouldn't have put everything in all caps at the end and I shouldn't have insulted you. Just saw the comment and raged. Lmao


But I did play the first one, and I didn't enjoy it all. Found it too repetitive. All the quest were the same. Bored me to death. And didn't like the melee combat and especially not the graphics. Looked outdated. There was no story at all. It was, "Get the radio tower on!" seemed like it was the entire game. And there's no character development. I was disappointed. Especially after the CGI trailer looked like it had all that. 


Yondaro
Yondaro

@Zombie_Lover69@YondaroHahahaha! You're too funny. I like how you insult people and assume my ethnicity from the get go.  And saying "Awesome lyrics of Sam B" is ridiculous. Those lyrics were actually worse then Lil Wayne's and Soulja Boy's. Didn't think it was possible, but it was...


And for your info, smart guy (COMPLETE SARCASM. you're not even close), I'm not a so called, "kracker.". I'm a Moor American. My ethnicity IS indeed the same as Sam's on DI. So again, you assuming = stupidity. Maybe you should go home and ask your mother why you were born without a brain


And I have played the first DI fool. In my comment earlier, I said "I haven't played this one, but seeing how it has something to do with the first one, I want to vomit." But seeing how you can't read very well, I will make it simple for you. I HAVE PLAYED THE FIRST ONE. THAT'S WHY I SAID IF THE SECOND ONE IS LIKE IT, I WON'T ENJOY IT.

Was that easy enough to read? I hope so.

Yondaro
Yondaro

@da2g @Yondaro Peru is American territory. Not Africa. And I meant continent. Sorry. But, you can't be both, regardless. Like I said earlier, that's like Mexican Chinese. You can't be two different things at once. And also, they're not called Peru Americans or American Peru's.  So saying like African American is about the same. Sounds Retarded

Dead Island: Riptide More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • 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.
    6.9
    Average User RatingOut of 472 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dead Island: Riptide
    Developed by:
    Techland
    Published by:
    Deep Silver, CyberFront, Spike Chunsoft
    Genres:
    Action, Shooter, First-Person, 3D, Team-Based
    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