Dead Island: Riptide GAME Exclusive Special Edition Xbox 360
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Released on 26-Apr-2013
HOPE IS DROWNING
Get ready to return to zombie infected tropical shores, can you survive the impossible?
They thought they had survived the Zombie outbreak on Banoi. They thought they could get back to civilization. After reaching the safety of a military ship, suddenly fate strikes, a storm hits and the horror and chaos comes flooding back into their lives.
- Get ready for action with new skills, weapons and communication features!
- Explore Palanai, a completely new island filled with deadly quests and addictive zombie slashing!
- Fight for survival alone or gather your friends in gruesome drop in, drop out coop multiplayer!
Dead Island Riptide GAME Exclusive Special Edition Contents:
- Pack of weapon mods that allows even more, manifold ways to dispose of the ghastly zombie hordes on Palanai island.
- Alternate character skins not obtainable anywhere else!
The Dead Island series never seems to be far from controversy. The original game was famous for a haunting slow-motion trailer that portrayed the death of a young girl in reverse as her family was terrorised by zombies. Then when the game came out it was a bug-ridden mess, albeit an occasionally enjoyable one. Its creators capped this all off by releasing a presumptuous "Game of the Year" Edition - a label that even people who loved the game could scarcely justify applying to it.
Dead Island Riptide isn't likely to be anyone's game of the year either, but it is a solid improvement on the original game in several respects. Still a zombie survival RPG played out in first-person, it picks up the original group of survivors and adds a new one - John Morgan, a former soldier with a brilliant running kick move - before dumping you on the island of Palanai, neighbour to the first game's Banoi, and giving you much the same set-up: explore the open world, collect items to craft weapons from, and fulfil all sorts of fetch quests to drag the story forward towards your escape.
Let's Rip Together
Riptide retains the first game's emphasis on co-operative play with up to three friends and improves it slightly - enemies in each player's instance of the game are now given strength levels that match that player's progress, so your level-20 character may see level-20 zombies, while your friend's level-40 character sees the same adversaries at level 40. The drop-in aspect still works extremely well, and if you find yourself playing alone you can also jump in and out of stranger's games when the matchmaking system notices someone else online playing the game at a similar level of progression.
Whether alone or with friends, the action still plays out at brutal close quarters and, while guns are available, a lot of players prefer the range of bats, blades and hammers that carve up the undead and can be found strewn around the world and earned by completing missions. The items you scavenge out in Palanai can also be used to modify these weapons at regular workbenches, adding an electric sizzle to a katana or a barbed wire sheath to a heavy-duty baseball bat, enhancing their ferocity. Weapons still degrade and need to be repaired, but they seem to do so less quickly than they did in Dead Island.
The combat is the best thing in Dead Island Riptide. In fact, it's pretty much the whole reason to play it. Dicing up small groups of enemies, managing space around the bigger brutes, using the environment and explosives to your advantage, coordinating with friends, all the while glorying in the slapstick comedy of it all, is where Riptide really sings. Palanai is a fantastic setting for it, too - full of interesting scenery, half-hidden paths into the jungle, and roads and waterways to explore by truck or boat. The sudden changes in weather brought on by the monsoon conditions give it character, too.
Isle of Fright
More demanding players who like a bit of story, imagination in quest design or coherent game systems will be less impressed, though, it has to be said. Levelling up and collecting loads of items feels really important early on, but it quickly becomes irrelevant - unlockable abilities aren't that interesting, enemies are levelled to match your skills at all times so you can't get an advantage by grinding, and items respawn in the world so frequently that the whole internal economy of the game is devalued. As for the story and what you're asked to do, it's as basic as it comes. You'll struggle to remember character names or anything they said, and the game's obsession with fetching and carrying items for people wears you down.
With a bit more work in these areas, a future full sequel to Dead Island could be something quite special. As it stands, Riptide is not a game of the year contender, but the bugs are mostly gone and it's still a solid zombie-hacking open-world experience, especially in co-op, even if you will need to keep gritting your teeth through cut-scenes and endless inventory screens. Just remember: beating up the undead is why you're here, and if you and your friends like doing that then you'll find plenty of fun waiting for you in Palanai.
- Modifying weapons is great fun, resulting in some truly bizarre concoctions
- Palanai is a great setting, full of character and hidden treasures
- It's the best co-op zombie game since the Left 4 Dead titles
- Story is absolute nonsense and you'll struggle to care
- Inventory and character development systems are weak and a bit pointless
- Combat becomes repetitive after a dozen hours or so
Techland's zombie-mashing open world RPG Dead Island was a surprise hit in 2011, and now it's semi-sequel is here. Riptide picks up where the previous game left off, and you're able to import your character from last time to get a head start. As before, it's a four player co-op game where melee combat using hand-made weapons is the order of the day.
But is it any good? Game Informer thinks so, delivering an 8/10 verdict. "Few games nail the visceral feel of melee combat and co-op fun like Dead Island," reads the review. "At its worst, an annoying hiccup breaks the immersion of the grizzly trek through a zombie-infested paradise. At its best, Riptide hits the same high notes as the original."
IGN also praises the game's "satisfying zombie dismemberment and co-op", with a 7.2 score. "It's a fun time," it concludes, "but there are no surprises or killer new features to make it an impressive package."
Official Xbox Magazine also suggests that the game will please fans of the original, and anyone who fancies mangling the undead with others. "Being able to simply drop into the game of any player who's around the same point in the story as you means they don't need to be actual friends," says the US mag in its 7.5 review. "While it's got some irritating rough patches, Dead Island: Riptide's 15-hour campaign still manages to be a lot more fun than it has any right to be."
Clearly this isn't a super-polished blockbuster, but it seems that Dead Island Riptide still offers a unique experience for those who warm to its bloody charms.
In a move that will likely make you go "Awww" and then "Urgh", publisher Deep Silver has announced that it will be hosting the wedding of two Dead Island fans later this month. The twist? The happy couple will be zombified for the occasion.
This isn't a stunt either. The marriage of Jennifer Jones, 27, and Rob Blackmore, 31, will be legally binding, which is just as well since they're an actual couple. Their wedding will take place at Mayfair One in London on April 23rd.
Jennifer will arrive to the ceremony in a Dead Island themed truck, and the couple will be serenaded afterwards by a zombie mariachi band. They'll then jet off on a Caribbean honeymoon, courtesy of Deep Silver, which is unfortunate timing as it means they'll actually miss the launch of Dead Island Riptide on April 26th. Silly loved-up zombies.
"We're thrilled to have been chosen to be the official zombie bride and groom for Dead Island Riptide!" said Jennifer. "We're big fans of Dead Island and the horror genre, and a zombie wedding is a dream come true for us. Thanks Deep Silver & Koch Media!"
Dead Island Riptide is out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on April 26th.
Dead Island was plenty of things, but you'd be hard pushed to call it a masterpiece. It was as shaggy as the scruffiest rug, as broken in parts as a china set that's just been through a tumble dryer and as cheesy as a rotting block of Stilton. It was also, for all that, an awful lot of fun, and that's all that really matters after all, isn't it?
There was a certain shabby charm to the open-ended first-person action RPG, and it's as if someone had taped over a copy of Skyrim with a little Left4Dead on an old fuzzy VHS - it was a curious mix, but one that was not a little intoxicating, especially when shared in co-op mode with a handful of friends. It was the gaming equivalent of a dumb Van Damme action film - mindless but fun, and the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.
Everyday I'm Shuffling
And so perhaps unsurprisingly it was a success, and inevitably there's now to be a follow-up - Dead Island: Riptide. This isn't Dead Island 2 - that's to come, developer Techland has suggested, although we're likely going to have to wait until the next generation of consoles - but is instead an expansion big enough to warrant its own box.
It's best to think of it not as an expansion in the mold of Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare, or even the GTA's Episodes from Liberty City. It's best to think of it instead as something like Fallout: New Vegas: an all-new adventure, in a new location with plenty of new tricks to get your head around.
You now find yourself on the island of Palanai, another tropical paradise that's set in the same archipelago as the original's Banoi. It's a slightly less welcoming paradise, though, and it's beset by tropical storms that make for a moody, atmospheric backdrop. Expect swamplands and plenty of nice big puddles for you to splash around in as you fend off the undead.
Those undead come in a variety of new flavours now, too. There's a grenadier, a zombie who's got the nasty knack of tossing grenades your way, as well as the scar, a huge hulking opponent who's going to take a fair few swings of whatever you've got in your hand to take down.
Undead Until Dawn
And that combat, when it happens, is going to be slightly slicker than what came before - which is something of a blessing given how messy the original Dead Island's combat felt. There's a slightly improved weapon degradation system too, one of the many little tweaks that have been made to ensure that Riptide's a more polished effort than its predecessor.
There are new mission types that help add a little variety, too, and it's here where Riptide could really come into its own. Now, in addition to fetch quests and the day-to-day business of just staying alive, there are little sections where the emphasis is on defence, and where you're faced against wave after wave of the undead.
It's superficially similar to Gears of War's Horde mode and all of the various imitators that followed in its wake, but more importantly it feels like a set-piece plucked straight from the zombie classics. You're shored up against an army of undead, constructing defences from barbed wire in the rare quiet moments in a scene that echoes Night of the Living Dead. It's a new feature that could really add something a bit special to Dead Island's formula.
And of course there's Dead Island's old formula that's also returning. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but it's most definitely entertaining, and Riptide promises to deliver another slice of schlocky Saturday night entertainment.
Dead Island Riptide - Review (24/04/2013)
A solid zombie-hacking open-world experience, especially in co-op; beating up the undead is why you're here, and if you and your friends like doing that then you'll find plenty of fun waiting for you …
Review Roundup: Dead Island Riptide (23/04/2013)
It seems that Dead Island Riptide still offers a unique experience for those who warm to its bloody charms…
Dead Island fans plan zombie wedding (08/04/2013)
Deep Silver has announced that it will be hosting the wedding of two Dead Island fans later this month. The twist? The happy couple will be zombified for the occasion…
Dead Island: Riptide - Preview (31/01/2012)
Dead Island was plenty of things, but it was mostly an awful lot of fun. nevitably there's now to be a follow-up - Dead Island: Riptide, an expansion big enough to warrant its own box…
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