Just like before, Dead Island Riptide makes it easy for players to pick up and play. Whether gamers are veterans of the series or newcomers, it is easy to get started. You can import your character from Dead Island and jump right back in. Or you could start over with one of the returning cast from Dead Island or play as the newcomer who is handy with unarmed combat, John Morgan. I stuck with Sam, my level 33 who could smash zombies with blunt weapons. Xian and Logan are both great characters as well. Xian uses bladed weapons and Logan is handy with thrown weapons. Purna specializes in gun use but those are scattered and available mostly in the last 2/3 of the game, which makes it hard to recommend her. But there is a character for everyone.
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No matter how gamers choose to play there is plenty of zombie killing to go around. How does this game’s environment differ from the first game? This time around players are trapped on a tsunami stricken flooded island that will eventually lead to a Mediterranean-like city. There is some variety in the areas. At least this time there are no sewers, just dark, nasty tunnels that lead to new areas. Those are a fun experience. The jungle and the city look good in Dead Island Riptide. There is a little graphical pop here and there on the PS3. There were a few spots where the textures on the ground and objects looked rough. The sounds, from the music to creepy wailing of the zombies should get gamers going. Did I mention being in the dark, hearing the zombies moan and realizing you were out of flares? That is about as scary as the game gets. Getting around means walking, driving, unlocking fast travel points, or taking a boat. The boats are like the cars and can be used as a weapon against the zombie hordes.
Should you play Dead Island Riptide solo? Sure. As long as you can survive and know how to play your character. For example, Sam can take a lot of damage, and is great with blunt weapons but he is not very good at clearing out mobs. But I made due with guns and grenades for mobs. What about co-op? It is just as much fun. As long as you can pair up with buddies or people who know what they are doing the game is a lot of fun. It makes it easier to take down big crowds or the tough zombies including Thugs. The zombies from the first Dead Island show up. This time around gamers will see more of the Butcher, Floaters, and Rams. New zombies include Grenadier zombies, Screaming zombies, Drowners, and Wrestlers. Grenadiers throw bits of themselves at you and the Screaming zombies draw other zombies to your location and make it tough to get close to them. Drowners appear dead in the flooded areas and will drag you off your boat. Wrestlers have mutated arms and try to club you.
Playing co-op makes it easy to finish off the tougher enemies but if you are soloing in the game there are a few strategies you could try. I would recommend getting to a higher point such as a ladder or a roof. Zombies cannot climb and from here players can throw some weapons or grenades at them. No matter how gamers enjoy hacking, shooting, or crushing zombies the game is fun. I had a blast running around the environments doing nothing but exploring and taking down zombies.
There are a few shortcomings in the game. The voice acting comes off as corny sometimes but that is part of the charm. The character animations can be a little rough and sometimes the online play does not work as it should. Even with a few flaws the game is still fun. I would say if you are soloing the game expect to spend 20 hours at least in the single player campaign. I want to play Dead Island Riptide's campaign again, but unless a few more of my friends get the game I don’t want to rehash most of the main game. There are lots of areas left to explore. The Dead Zones are like the abandon houses in the first game and are sort of like a mini dungeon. Gamers go in fight a few zombies, and take down a zombie boss. The rewards are usually rare parts for weapons and some sort of rare weapon. There are 13 champion monsters scattered throughout the Dead Zones, these guys are even tougher but they drop the rarest loot. You may want to take a friend.
Part of the fun of Dead Island Riptide is getting the loot and seeing what weapons can be upgraded. A lot of this reminds me why I enjoyed games like Fallout 3 so much. What can I say? I enjoyed my time with the game. I cannot wait to kill some time on the weekends with a few friends. Deep Silver has done an excellent job of keeping the zombie genre alive a little longer. Currently, Riptide is $35 on Amazon after only being out for a few weeks. Another idea to consider is that there is a excellent discussion on zombies game on the Goozex forums right now, if you like Dead Island you might find suggestions for other great zombie games.