I played the game for around 8 hours in the last 72 hours and I have had a blast so far. One of the best features of Riptide is the option to import my character from the original Dead Island. This meant I could play with my level 38 Sam and hit the ground smashing zombies. I really wish my great weapons had been imported as well. I thought about starting over and trying the new character Purna but I decided I wanted to see if Riptide could challenge me at a higher difficulty.
Just like the original game, players end up on another island filled with zombies. This time around there is no resort and the island is flooded. Roads are washed out and zombies are lurking in the shallow water. One of the new features is gamers will have to get around with boats and you can run zombies down with them. Another new feature Riptide has is the option to enforce the safe areas, aka camps with fences and other traps to keep zombies out. Some of this was shown at PAX last year.
Newcomers should be able to jump right in and most vets will feel right at home. The core game mechanics haven't changed much. Gamers will still focus on melee attacks to smash and slice limbs. Don’t worry, you can still throw weapons at zombies. Sometimes this is the best way to take down an enemy in a group before they close in on you. The co-op still works great, players can drop in and out. The co-op seems to be much smoother and most of the people I played with seemed to be vets of the series. Everyone wants to work together to progress in the game.
Deep Silver has claimed this isn’t a sequel but at the same time it feels more than an expansion. I would settle for calling Riptide, Dead Island 1.5. Do you need to play the original game to enjoy this one? No, but you should. The good news is the GOTY version is less than $20 at most places. There are a few issues with the game that bothered me about the original Dead Island. I die a lot. It also seems I get easily surrounded and I have to think about the weapons I should be using and not the ones I want to use. Sam is handy with blunt weapons, not swords.
What can I say, like the CAGcast has said, this game could be very called Oblivion with zombies. Killing zombies is still a lot of fun. Dead Island Riptide keeps things interesting. It will be exciting to see where the rest of the game takes me and as I keep playing co-op, who knows who will join up with me. Look for a full review later this week.