Dead Island Riptide Review: New Enemies, Old Characters

The first thing that smacked us in the face when we began reviewing Dead Island Riptide was the fact that it’s not really a sequel but an extension of the 2011 co-op shooter. The gameplay is nearly exactly the same and so are the cast of characters. So do we really need to continue this review of Dead Island Riptide or should we just refer to the earlier game?

Eh let’s give Dead Island Riptide the review it deserves.

What is new about Dead Island Riptide is the island and the enemies, plus a couple of important tweaks here and there.  The story has been greatly improved. This time around the story focuses on the cause of the zombie outbreak. The narrative has good pace and keeps you hooked and you truly get to feel the characters’ sense of desperation. The same old camp dialogued and stereotypical characters remain, however.

Possibly the best part of Dead Island Riptide is the island of Palanai, which looks beautiful, packed full of shanty towns and muddy lagoons. You’ll also visit an experimental greenhouse and a bunch of scary abandoned tunnels.

Dead Island Riptide truly brings the environment to life, with rainstorms and other scenic conditions adding a good depth of atmosphere. The zombies also make intelligent use of these environments, hiding in water and the lacks in order to surprise you.  The zombies themselves come in a variety of forms, from Grenadiers (not sure how zombies are intelligent enough to use grenades but there we are) and wrestlers. It’s a testament to Techland’s creative minds that they’ve been able to create such diversity of enemies with zombies. There’s a ton more here than just brain-dead head-munching fiends. Thanks to this diversity the gameplay also finds variety as you’re not simply wading through hordes of the undead but rather using genuine strategy in your attack and defense too.

Of course, in reviewing Dead Island Riptide we’ve mostly focussed on the single player campaign, and what a campaign it is. Certain action games have struggled to deliver immersive and exciting single players, instead focussing entirely on multiplayer, but with Dead Island Riptide the single player is an absolute star. One of the best additions is the ability to play single player missions that improve the abilities of your NPC buddies. The missions are long and extremely playable too.


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Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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