Dead Island Riptide Preview
Zombies are just so hip these days. In truth, zombies have always been a cornerstone of the video game industry (as bizarre as that sounds), but the shambling undead have really surged to the forefront of popularity this generation. Dead Island was only one title with an emphasis on the iconic enemy; Dead Nation, Dead Rising, The Walking Dead, multiple Resident Evil titles, the uber-popular zombie multiplayer mode in Call of Duty, etc, etc, etc. And Dead Island Riptide is yet another zombie apocalypse. You ready?
Developer Techland plans to make this new title bigger and better in just about every possible way. That’s exactly what we want from a sequel, right? Well, for the record, they’re calling this more of an expansion than a sequel; you can import your save from the first title so you can use your leveled-up characters at the start of Riptide. And the tropical setting has returned, even though you’ll be on a different island called Palanai (before you were on Banoi). Once again, enhancing combat skills and crafting new weapons with which to battle the undead horde will take center-stage.
While the first game was solid entertainment, I remember having an issue with some technical and design miscues. Techland swears those drawbacks will disappear in Riptide and they’ve also worked to implement several positive tweaks— For instance, while weapons will still lose their effectiveness over time, if you’re more proficient with a certain weapon, it will degrade slower. The guns have also been overhauled and are said to be deadlier. Therefore, if you nail a charging foe in the head, it’s probably gonna die. The rest of the game will play out similarly in comparison to the original, with one very significant addition.
One of the reasons I mentioned the zombie mode in Call of Duty is because those who loved Black Ops II may recall the defense segments of zombie multiplayer. Something akin to that defense element will be found in Riptide. Legions of zombies attack your base and you must either make one last stand or find a way to escape. For every undead marauder that falls, you earn money that you can spend to fortify and strengthen your base. So you can buy turrets, spike mines, fences, and other tools and accessories to assist you in this tense endeavor. As I understand it, there will be some creative scenarios at play in the new Dead Island…
But obviously, what’s most appealing to me is the fact that the developer has pinpointed the mistakes they made in the first, and have worked to fix them in the follow-up game. Story may take a back seat to the gameplay again, but that’s to be expected. If Techland’s upgrade is indeed as technically stable as they claim, and they have provided fans with oft-requested changes and upgrades, Dead Island Riptide could be one of the absolute funnest experiences of the year. “Funnest” isn’t a word, of course, but it’s fitting, especially because we’re talking about a game that doesn’t have a brain in its head. …and that’s okay.
2/25/2013 Ben Dutka