Dead Island: Riptide's Zombies Will Pull You Off Your Boat

Dead Island was a great game. It had its problems, but there was something particularly wonderful about Techland's open-world, survival horror, melee-focused game.

It might've been how particularly brutal the zombies grew to be. The Butcher is maybe one of the most terrifying enemies I've come across in a video game. He's gross-looking, super built, and has razor-sharp stubs of bone for forearms. Both he and the other slew of large and small, fast and slow zombies made surviving the deceptively gorgeous island quite the task. Dead Island's intrigue might also have been due to the many variety of weapons you could both find and create, taping electrical wires to machetes and nailing spikes onto baseball bats. It was a solid cooperative experience too, letting you seamlessly jump in on missions with players who were nearby.

All those reasons made Dead Island an enjoyable experience, even if it didn't live up to the emotionally-charged hype that one awesome cinematic trailer built up. So it's with excitement that I received news of the next instalment of the franchise.

I took a first real look at Dead Island: Riptide at this year's PAX Prime. It was a hands-off demo, behind closed doors. Here's a rundown of my thought process:

1. Oh, hey! It's Dead Island.

The characters are familiar, the zombies are familiar, the weapons are familiar, and the islandy feel is familiar. Though the four characters from the original title are making a return, there's a new character making an appearance that we haven't met yet. Logan and Purna led the demo at level 25s, and I instantly made note of the message on the screen that denoted a nearby player we could jump to to play with.

2. This is a very wet Dead Island.

It's the same resort we saw the same four characters trek through in the first title, but it's been transformed by a monsoon. There's water everywhere. So much so that the group has to man a boat just to get through the island. Zombies will get in the way, sometimes even pulling you off the boat. At this point I'm wondering what fish-like zombie will have mutated to survive the new, wet environment. Zombies seem to evolve fast, so I have to imagine it's likely.

3. Is that... is that a sword with electricity strapped on? Oh, my favourite!

It's fairly similar, and even more deadly with as much water as is around your enemies, electrocuting them in their own puddle of death. The neat addition is that it seems to be a double-blade sword. How deadly.

4. Ha, they still walk funny when they carry stuff.

The two characters -- Logan and Purna -- being led throughout the "Breaching the Tunnels" level of Chapter 6 had to carry water pumps with them on their way to a church. They carried the metal pieces through fallen trees and into a cave before arriving there.

5. Mines? Now we're talking.

Fortifying defence hubs are a new kind of mission in Dead Island: Riptide. You'll build fences with the barricade system to cover the gaps in the dilapidated church, and plant mines around the perimeter to keep the incoming horde of zombies at bay. The water pump you're using to help you escape makes a lot of noise. And every faithful zombie lore reader knows that noise equals lots and lots of zombies, so planting mines around your fortified church is a welcomed addition. It's not just explosive mines, either. There seems to be a healthy variety of mines, like poison mines and sonic mines.

6. Oh man, I think my head is spinning.

There's lots of running back and forth involved in these defence missions. Especially when you have a movable, mounted machine gun at your disposal, and can set it in the front or back of the church to rid the swampy perimeter of those fodder enemies.

7. Did that zombie just throw something at me?! What the HELL, zombie. I'm going to stab you in and around the face for that.

The Grenadier zombie can throw grenades at you. These are some sophisticated jerks! Even with the machine gun, you'll probably still want to run up to zombies to thin out the crowd before it becomes too massive to handle. So lots of close-ranged combat is still an emphasis.

8. It's cool, grenade-throwing zombie. I've got lots of grenades of my own.

Techland wants to conserve that desperate survival feeling of the first game, but let you have fun with tossing around grenades, too. So when the danger is amped up -- like during defence missions when you have to deal with a huge horde of zombies -- you'll get more grenades to play around with. But at other points you'll still have to worry about resource management.

The defence aspect seemed neat. It's a collaborative effort, and lets you get wild with ammunition for a short amount of time before stepping back into the difficulties of harsh and unlikely survival. I'm excited for a new arsenal too, but this demo didn't give me too extensive of a look to tell you how that's going. One last feature that I'm excited about, though, is that you can move your character over from Dead Island. Which we all know will make for even more brutal enemies, but there's something great about starting off strong and being asked to defeat even stronger enemies.


Comments

    My only question is and spoiler warning if you never finished it stop reading here. Ok good? WHY ARE THEY BACK ON THE ISLAND.

    I loved the original Dead Island, looking past the bugs it was very enjoyable. It certainly is the longest I have ever put into a singleplayer game before (I stay clear of games like Fallout, Skyrim where they take 100's of hours to finish) so it certainly grabbed me.

    Dead Island being considered a great game shows the decline in qality of video games. Dead Island had a fantastic trailer and a fantastic concept but failed to deliver on all fronts. The game had horrible bugs, save issues, texture popping, graphical issues, Poor V/O, Poor story. The game started strong in the resort area and progressively got worse. The game lacked rpg features and an engaging story which wasn't very high to begin with considering other zombies games. Dead Island was a pretty poor game not because the concept was bad but because they failed to succeed in impementing the concept into and interesting and engaging game.

      Yh the game had many problems, but it was one of those games that had such fun gameplay and the fact alot of us have been waiting for ever for a Zombie game like this is good new for the Developer.

      They sold 5 million copies of Dead Island so they have enough money now to spend that extra time and money to make a sequal that better quality and I do believe they will.

      Dead Island has become a hugely successful game cause there isnt a zombie game like it., and considering how popular Zombie games can be and the lack of em, Dead Island Riptide will be just as successful.

      And its about seeing the potential in a game and alot of us who played Dead Island could see lots of potential.
      Ill admit when I was playing dead Island I was thinking of a hundred things they could haveadded to make it feel like a real Zombie Apocalypse but it was still a great game.

      I thought the opening area was great. Everything was disappointing about Dead Island, but I still enjoyed it.

      Those fucking sewers though.

    As much as Dead Island had it's flaws, I honestly enjoyed the game. I hope the next one is just as fun.

    Despite it's glaring flaws dead island was a lot of fun especially multiplayer !

    Hmm. I love all things zombie, but I might wait for a numbered sequel. There just doesn't seem to be enough to hook me, especially seeing as I played the original again recently.

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