Review: Dead Island Riptide

If the question is ‘What’s more fun that bashing a zombie’s head in?’, it’s true that the correct answer is ‘Bashing zombies’ heads in with friends’. For all the flaws of 2011’s Dead Island, its capability of throwing four friends into a tropical paradise to literally paint the town red with undead viscera was laudable, and rest assured that this year’s semi-sequel Dead Island: Riptide is able to deliver the same experience.

Dead Island Riptide Review

The thing is, I really do mean ‘semi-sequel’, and I really do mean ‘the same experience’. If you were looking for an upgrade of the wonky animations, the forgettable characters, the weird tone of the game that can’t decide if it’s dead serious of jovial – I’m afraid that’s not happening.

Riptide is pretty much just a new island and a new character; the island being a bit more waterlogged, and the new character a bit more fisty (or clawy, if you craft the right weapons). The thing is, this isn’t so much of a problem if you’re aware of this from the onset and don’t expect an overhaul, because once you’re cracking heads open with a wrench and getting that rush that only a level-up can give, you won’t much care.

I didn’t mind that I just skipped the last cut-scene and rushed through the hideous dialogue filled with nonsensical story about bio-weapons, because on the other hand, I just superglued a buzzsaw to a baseball bat and now I’m wading through all the zombie arms and legs I just cleaved off.

Dead Island RiptideI think the best way to put it is this; Dead Island might be a horrible RPG – the story’s tosh, the side quests are virtually all the same, the world’s small and shallow – but it’s a fun game.

Forget everything that’s not you hitting walking corpses with ridiculous weapons you crafted from every day items, and you’ll have a surprisingly good time. The fun’s only multiplied when you can get three other friends hopping in, too, so long you don’t argue too much over who gets what loot.

Dead Island Riptide isn’t the new Left 4 Dead (hell, it’s only just a new Dead Island); in fact it’s a lot slower and more brutal than most zombie titles on the shelf.

It’s very much it’s own beast, and while that often means clunky and odd and cringeworthy, it also means satisfying and unexpectedly addictive. Bring a few friends with you, and can have a good time on this holiday from hell.

Developer: Techland
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Rating: 18+

Henry McMunn is a games journalist who currently spends a great deal of his time listening to 50s swing, smoking cigars and watching Chris Morris satire. You can follow him on Twitter @failboatskipper

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