Saturday, 11 May 2013

Dead Island: Riptide

The game can’t live up to the trailer, again.

Now don’t get me wrong, Dead Island: Riptide is fun, however there is a lot wrong from this title. The CGI trailer released once again set standards in story line  depth and emotional attachment that simply cannot be matched by the game, in fact with the latter two there is little to no evidence found within the game at all. Its premise is near identical to its predecessor. It carries on directly from the first game with the original four characters: Logan, Purna, Xian and Sam B, as we join them landing on an army vessel after escaping from Banoi with new enemy Serpo conducting experiments on anyone who is considered “immune”. At this point we are joined by a new protagonist hand to hand combat expert John. After a freak storm and sudden breakout of the infection, the ship crashes leaving the five protagonists stranded on the island of Palanai and in need of a way off. If the threat of a zombie apocalypse wasn't a big enough incentive, they now have the present threat of Palanai being on the receiving end of a nuclear bomb. This is the concept that holds the wafer thin story line together throughout the game.

The weapons are the stand out feature of this game, with a nice array of blunt and sharp objects to bludgeon the zombie masses, along with some fun hand to hand combat. These can all be kitted out with the various weapon mods that are found throughout the game, they require specific weapons matched with additional items to create a high powered killing machine. Even with the 50+ different Mods available, It really only comes down to four different types, Fire, Electric, Corrosion, and brute force. The combat itself can feel stiff at times but is fluent enough not to be a problem. Like the first game you have an option to manually control the weapons with the analogue sticks. It’s a nice premise, however it’s ultimately very fiddly and whilst satisfying needs some serious refining to make enjoyable.

The main problem with this game is that it doesn't feel finished; The AI is unbelievably sloppy, with characters wandering off or facing the wrong direction whilst you are engaging them in conversation. The voice acting is abysmal and littered with timing issues and clichés. The Zombies are very one dimensional constantly spawning in the exact same location and only attacking when you get near. The use of guns on the game feels very sluggish and unnecessary when you have an abundance of melee weapons, you only encounter maybe a dozen enemies that need to be engaged in a fire fight, so why bother including them at all. Even the cars feel unneeded as there is only one road you can drive down (Palanai is a lot more constrictive and linear than Banoi). There were copious amounts of glitches, be it the game freezing constantly, the lack of sound,  getting stuck in objects, Or in rare cases game files being completely corrupt and unplayable resulting in having to start the game from scratch.

Even with all these nonsensical features and irritating glitches if you have access to online and a bunch of friends to play with, this game can still be a lot of fun, because at its heart it’s you and some mates killing zombies with gruesome weaponry. The Quests are nice and varied from simply rescuing a survivor (and then for some god forsaken reason, the survivor then decides it’s safe to just sit around), to creating a fish costume for the new superhero on the block, or even just surviving hordes upon hordes of zombies by mowing them down with a Gatling gun. One genius feature is the cross game leveling system. If you have a level 70 and a level 15 in your game, the level 70 won’t be able to rush through it, but at the same time it won’t be impossibly hard for the level 15. This is because of the ingenious system that levels the enemy you are fighting to the level of your own character. You’re both playing in the same game with vastly different levels however the difficulty remains the same for both players. This is a fun game and I have to stress that I enjoyed playing it, however an entertaining game doesn't necessarily make it a good game, there are just too many flaws to overlook, it feels like an expansion pack and not a completely new retail game, for this I give it a 6/10.

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