Format reviewed: Xbox 360
Other formats available: PS3, PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Zombies, zombies, zombies! They are everywhere, there’s probably one behind you as you read this review, look out! They have also infected a rather beautiful island in the pacific somewhere too.
Dead Island Riptide is the follow up to last year’s surprise hit Dead Island. That too was set on the same beautiful island, these zombies have taste. But then if you had the choice of which island you would choose to be a zombie on I know I’d rather be on a sun-kissed, white sand covered, palm tree paradise than the Isle of Man or Sheppey, that’s for sure.
In Dead Island Riptide you have to, well, kill zombies. There’s no negotiation, no reasoning, no UN resolution asking them to go and take their flesh-eating predilections somewhere else. Nope, it’s straight to the head with the nearest spanner or mole wrench.
You start off on a ship that’s just off the shore of the aforementioned island. The ship’s crew have become infected too though it seems and you have to fight your way to the bridge in order to try and stop it crashing into the island.
You fight your way up on to the deck and then on to the bridge. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that even if you manage this the ship still crashes. After all, how do you think you got on to the island?
What this prologue teaches you is how to move around and use the weapons that you find lying around. These are everyday objects mostly, with the occasional addition of pistols, shotguns and assault rifles.
The first thing you have is a wrench, something that’s big and heavy and good for cracking zombie skulls. The head, as anyone who has done virtual battle with a zombie will tell you, is what you’ve got to aim for. This is why the shotgun has to be the weapon of choice, as long as you have enough shells that is. If you don’t have a shotgun any blunt object will do.
As with that other zombie kill-fest, Dead Rising 2, in Dead Island Riptide you can modify and build your own weapons. In fact fairly early on you find the blueprints to making a baseball bat with nails in it.
Now I’m not much of a weapons designer, that’s true, but I don’t think I would need blueprints to show me how to hammer nails through the end of a baseball bat. That’s what you have to do though. In order to do even this most basic of modifications you do have to find all the constituent parts and the instructions.
In order to make these wonders of brain mashing you also need a workbench area. These are situated at various camps you encounter along the way. You can also use them to repair other weapons you have. The reason you need to do this is because, believe it or not, a standard kitchen knife loses its efficacy after you have stabbed zombies with it for some time.
The same is true of wrenches, spanners etc. Now I’ve handled some pretty hefty spanners in my time and I have to say the zombies would have to have some rather thick skulls if they managed to dent them. That said, anything with zombies in does require more than a little suspension of disbelief.
All this head smashing and stamping on heads, which you can also do with happy abandon, gives you XP that you can use to improve your skills so that you get better and more efficient. Obviously you meet bigger and nastier zombies along the way, some that even vomit on you.
To look at, mostly because of the setting, Dead Island Riptide looks a lot like Far Cry 3 and is a good looking game. It’s fun to play, although the endless zombie fighting and stomping does get a little tiring after a while. And if you have played any other zombie game lately it will seem rather familiar.
Review by Tuckski for BCS