Dead Island: Riptide Review for the PS3

dead_island_riptide_wallpaper

Platform: Playstation 3

Some spoilers ahead.

After escaping from Banoi the group lands on a cargo ship full of military types. They immediately get locked up at gun point as being recognized at some of the few who are immune to the disease. Somehow some of the infected zombie population get released on the boat, while they are introducing themselves to the newest member of their group John Morgan, a ex-military Australian held captive for treason. So you, and your crew, crash land on Palanai. Literally. Most of the crew is dead and, somehow, the only survivors are the immune and a Australian military man named Colonel Hardy.

As for the story goes I think they could have done without this one. The original I thought was good enough since they do the classic “fly off into the sunset” and everything is assumed to be fine. In this story they add a mutagen to the zombie infection and it’s suppose to explain why there are new zombies. The new zombies are cool, however the whole mutagen side story is just bland. If they were going to get that extravagant they might as well have made a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while they are at it. They didn’t ever explain what it was, or why it was there. It was hinted at that the infected started to mutated between Kuru and over exposure to chemical weapons, but this wasn’t fully explained. Then they kept going on about how the small immune group will eventually become more and more enraged as if it’s some kind of side effect, and yet again, didn’t explain things fully. I don’t see why they made a big deal of the two and didn’t give them proper closure. Now I’m sure it’s all explained in the collectibles, but I didn’t buy a PS3 to READ.

Yes, some of the collectibles are read aloud, but it’s difficult to listen to them when being attacked by really loud zombies. It should be noted that the voice actors did a beautiful job performing in this area. Anyway, the rest of the time the crew rarely develops character wise. If I walked by them they mostly say the same things over and over again. So not only do the original characters that were well developed, and gruff to their own extreme, get really tiresome to hear. I eventually begain to hate them because they didn’t really have a purpose to help advance the story. This is disappointing considering the original game only showed the other team members in CGI cut scenes to HELP do just that, and the dialogue was much more extensive. So it’s kinda bad that you get tired of so many cool character so fast.

The gameplay is the exact same as the last game. You comb the island completing quests, looking for collectibles, etc. This is fun and all, but gets repetitive. So in other words this is the exact same game as before. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the story helped pull it along, which as stated above is meh. The upgrade system isn’t any different and the leveling system is the exact same. Yea sure there’s a leveling system for the different kinds of weapons, but it doesn’t feel like a complete idea and I just completely ignored it. The weapons leveling system didn’t seem to improve anything at all, or at least that I noticed. Also this doesn’t seem to matter consider some zombies, if they get behind you, can kill you in one hit. That is completely unrealistic and ruins a lot of the melee fighting.

The melee is just as before. You’ll need to a void certain zombies and learn strategies on how to deal with them. This is probably one of the best aspects of the game since it’s all first person. The leveling helps control the combat, as it gets considerably harder. It’s nice to see you can mutilate zombies, but there are only so many swinging animations and with some of them I kinda wondered how it didn’t get the character bitten by zombies. Despite that after figuring out how to fight, or when to run, it’s a really smooth system, unlike most FPSs. One of the best things is that it gives you a large variety of weapons and gives you enough options in order to get good weapons.

Like it has random dungeon like zones called ‘dead zones.’ Many of them have a large zombie population and usually has a large number of valuable items and weapons in it. On the flip side some are just regular areas with zombies and they rarely have anything valuable in them. To a certain extent it extends the game play, but it’s a major distraction if you’re playing it for the story. It does add some quality battles to the game, but most are infuriating solo. The variety of difficulty is also something to be noted. There are easy ways out of some challenges considering they have doors and you can close them after you throw a few grenades. Unfortunately other areas are more closed in and it’ll you’ll have to work around runners and leading them around doors to slow them down.

The island’s explorable areas are a lot smaller and this makes it slightly disappointing. The thing that made me like the original, and want a sequel, was the large lush areas you could explore. In Riptide you have one whole less area to explore and it makes the game feel shorter to a certain extent. Also the utilities in the original were actually useful, like cars. In Riptide it introduces the use of boats, but they are harder to steer and, if anything, annoying since if you go too slow zombies will tip you over. In the cars you can drive zombies would just be bumped to the side. So you have a more vulnerable, louder, zombie attracting vehicle that’s extremely limited in maneuverability and availability on the island. You can only access it at the beginning of the game and doesn’t help you explore that much of the island. So it made me wonder what they were thinking considering it’s kinda useless.

The only thing that made me think of how useless it is was is the online experience I had. A small group was going with me to some mission location. It was in a more remote areas. Instead of taking a boat we JUMPED our way across the water to our next location. Not only did we avoid nearly all the zombies that would have been attracted to us, but we were also able to scout out the area ahead relatively undetected. In turn we kill that many more unsuspecting zombies with greater ease.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she's stunning.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she’s stunning.

The graphics are stunning at first, but it all fades fast. It seems like they polished the first few parts of the level(s) then forgot about the rest. The raining affect that take place at random on the island is awesome. The bloom effect comes up splotchy in a few dozen areas. The character models mouth kinda move in synch with the voice actors dialogue, but it isn’t of any fluid motion. So it kinda looks like a door opening and shutting really fast. Other then that their idle movements will get irritating after visiting one of the safe zones for the dozenth time.

The most notable thing about the graphic is the heaps of glitches. I guess some things don’t change, considering this is one thing they could have immensely improved on. Sure some of them are drop dead funny, but it ruins the immersion of the game. You can still kick dead zombies through boulders, bushes, and just about anything that isn’t usually impassible to the character you’re playing. There are multiple areas where the zombies animation kinda freezes. Most of the time it’s while they’re running and are stuck between two things.

The biggest set of glitches come during defense segments. Whenever you go to set down a wire barrier the entire game might freeze. For me it froze during the first and second defense segments. I had to take the game offline and restart the game 6+ times. This killed the immersion and pretty much ruined a good half of the game for me. I shouldn’t have to worry if something will load between scenes or have the game crash on me during a really important part of the game.

The multiplayer is both fun and completely obnoxious. Its fun to see people back you up while fighting a super hard zombie, but at the same time many players like to chuck grenades. So they can blow you up fast. Then there are a few glitches while playing multiplayer that ruin it for me. When doing the main quest and you go to turn something in and someone else is has the same quest then it turns it in for the both of you. That’s fine, but the quest character will echo their dialogue or it simply won’t come up at all. So you’ll have some guy standing there flappin his lips and movin’ his arms with no sound at all or it’s simply too muddled to hear anything.

This was, just like the last one, fun and disappointing. It could have been so much more and been developed better, like Dead Rising, but a lot of things get in the way of it being perfect. Like the glitches constantly grind on you as well as the repetitious game play. Don’t get me wrong this is a really fun game considering you can power through a few hours and mow down zombies left and right. So the game does a great in this aspect on making you feel God like. It’s just a strange experience because either you can easily over look these flaws or they’ll stop you from playing the game completely. If anything most should probably wait till it’s $20 before considering buying it.

++++++++

+Positive+

++++++++

+Fun gameplay

+Great graphics

+Fun open world exploration

+Decent followup story

————-

-Negative-

————-

-GAME BREAKING GLITCHES

-Stale main character animations

-Glitchy sound

6.0/10

7.1/10 – IMDB as of 05/07/2013

56/100 – Metacritic Critic Score

6.4/10 – Metacritic User Score

NOTE: I hesitantly wrote this review due to the fact that this series is a very love hate relationship with most people. So if I praise it too much people will hate me and if I hate on it too much people will hate me, and I already have very few followers as it is. Also the other reviewers I’ve read added too much garbage to their reviews then actually looking at the game. One wasted several paragraphs over their controversial pre-order zombie lady busts, that didn’t ship in the US for some reason. The others wasted time on complaining about the previous game and basically gave this game a failing grade out of association. So the development of this game has been nothing but stange.

Advertisements