Dead Island: Riptide – PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Techland
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: Action, RPG
Reviewed by Charles Boucher

Review Score: 2 of 5

If you’ve played Dead Island, you basically know what to expect out of Dead Island: Riptide. If you haven’t, imagine Diablo in 3D or Borderlands with more melee, and zombies, and weapons that break every three minutes as you wade through massive, respawning hordes of the undead.

While there are new additions to Riptide that make it stand out from the original, such as a new character focused on unarmed attacks and fist weapons, and tasks to defend your tropical stronghold from zombies that break inside, there’s also a fair share of additions that just don’t work. The boat steering is some of the worst I’ve experienced in a game, and there’s more than the game’s fair share of quests that can be easily accomplished but which have no apparent way to turn them in.

Combat still pretty much comes down to hitting zombies as you walk backwards, unless you have a gun, or they are an exploder, in which case, well, it pretty much comes down to getting them in the head from afar. It can be interesting to disable a larger zombie’s limbs, and it’s hilarious to turn them into cutlery pincushions, but there’s not much else to them. Human opponents are a bit more cunning, but not enough to really excite.

Complaints about gameplay aside, Dead Island: Riptide is beautiful, and gross in the ways it should be. Traveling verdant tropical island would be amazing, were it not for the floods of zombies that you need to bonk and backpedal, and the zombies come apart well, with flopping broken arms and heads that cave in under repeated strikes.

However, the sound is disturbing, and hopefully not in the way the developers intended. While male zombies in pain sound appropriately monstrous, beating a female zombie to death results in the sounds of blunt impacts and very human-sounding screams, which were jarring enough to make me need to take breaks every so often. I’m not very squeamish, but hearing the sound of a woman in pain as I hacked apart zombies was over-the-line for me.

Ultimately, Dead Island: Riptide doesn’t add much to spice up the basics of the game. If you’re still a fan of the game’s basics, then feel free to add a couple stars onto the rating. There’s a whole new map to explore, and an infinite number of things to kill there, and new weapons to break. If you’re new to the game though, the original is a lot cheaper and you won’t miss much without the new features. And for the people who are already burned out, give it a miss. There’s not much in Dead Island: Riptide for our kind.