Dead Island: Riptide - Dead Island: Riptide – The Verdict

Score

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Dead Island: Riptide – Co-op

As a co-op game it’s best played with friends – Riptide feels cold and anonymous with random strangers – but the experience is pretty seamless, and you can opt in and out of games with ease. Sensibly, the game even levels zombies according to your own level, so that you can jump in with a mate who’s been levelling up all evening and still feel like you’re playing your part.

Dead Island: Riptide

Dead Island: Riptide – Technical Issues

Unfortunately, Riptide remains a slightly messy, patchy game. The technical issues aren’t vast this time – mainly choppy frame rates, sudden stutters during zombie assaults and a few instances where we were transported after dying to a checkpoint miles away – but they’re still frustrating.

Graphically speaking, the environments are lush and detailed, but the zombies are generic and many textures have a weird plastic look. Objects, weapons and zombies respawn when you leave an area, which has its ups and downsides but makes the game less convincing overall. At one point moving from one location to another we were beset by an endless horde of zombies, making progress frustrating at best.

Dead Island: Riptide

Dead Island: Riptide – Gameplay Flaws
And it’s frustration that becomes the keyword as the game moves on. The constant fetch-quest missions and side-missions are hardly inventive, and there’s an awful lot of backtracking through zombie-infested country. Even the vehicles – the boats and cars – don’t stop you from having to occasionally get out and batter another bunch of zombies just to make it from A to B.

Meanwhile, if some of the special zombies, spitting bile or blowing up, add some much-needed variety, others are simply a chore to fight. Weapons degrade a little too quickly, even with skills to prolong their lifespan, frequently leaving you stranded without your best arms until you can find a nearby workbench. Even the stamina limitations grow annoying with time, forcing you to pace each battle when you’d rather just wade your way through the shambling hordes and get on with things.

Dead Island: Riptide

The net result is that you start off liking Riptide, then begin to love it. After a while, though, its attractions wane. There’s still something oddly compelling about the whole experience, but compelling enough? We’re not so sure.

Verdict

Dead Island: Riptide isn’t as beset with technical issues as Dead Island, but the graphics and gameplay still don’t do the concept justice. Hacking and battering your way through the hordes is enjoyable, and the levelling and weapon upgrades add long-term appeal, but the mission design and some frustrating game mechanics mean the experience wears thin pretty quickly. Dead Island deserved a second chance, but Riptide doesn’t make the most of it. There’s still the skeleton of a good game in here, but it’s covered by a little too much rotting zombie flesh.

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