Tech News on G4
New ‘Dead Island’ sinks
May 17, 2013
By John Powell - G4 Canada
Think you know everything about a fictional zombie apocalypse? Think again.
Forget everything you have learned from ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Dead Rising’ or ‘Left 4 Dead’. The most important piece of information is not that you have to shoot zombies in the head or follow through with a double tap. It is not that you should be wary of bathrooms or you should always travel in a group.
According to ‘Dead Island: Riptide’, what you really must be aware of is that as a result of a zombie apocalypse, every human being has become as active and as stupid as potted plant. Apparently, after the government unleashes a deadly virus or a radioactive satellite crashes to Earth or an unknown poison enters our drinking water, everyday people lose their common sense and ability to carry out the simplest of tasks. Why else would everyone person in the game be unable to locate that fuse box, find that water pump or collect food, water for the group?
That’s right. Besides killing zombies by the hundreds - which mind you, never loses its charm – you will be regulated to the life of an errand boy (or girl) in ‘Riptide’. Fetch this. Go get that. Locate this. Acquire that. It seems none of the other shipwrecked survivors are capable of doing anything worthwhile besides slaying the occasional zombie and being eaten by the occasional zombie. They are about as much help as a machete to the knee.
Until you are past the midway point, the overwhelming majority of the missions are fetch tasks. By the time you finally get to explore the underground World War 2 bunker, the island’s fort or research facility, you may have already shelved the title out of boredom. Not fun.
Picking up where the original ‘Dead Island’ left off, you are taken into custody by the authorities and questioned on an aircraft carrier. For whatever reason, the ship becomes overrun with zombies and you escape only to find yourself trapped on another island: Palanai.
Unlike the resort island of Banoi in the original ‘Dead Island’, Palanai has to be one of the most frustrating game environments I have ever had the displeasure of exploring. Much of the island is connected by crooked and narrow waterways. Navigating them to your goal is so tedious especially when you have to leave the game to check the map screen every time you want to make sure you are heading in the right direction. The game desperately needs a HUD and because it doesn’t have one, you will have to leave the action often just to change weapons, examine a map or check on a task. Not fun.
The majority of Palanai’s communities consist of huts on stilts with walkways between them. They too are a real chore to travel through quickly. With no helping hand or clue to guide you, you may find yourself wandering around aimlessly until you realize that you must climb that ladder or scale that rooftop to proceed. Not fun.
Not much has changed in Riptide either. There are a few new zombies like the Drowner, which floats in the water, attacking when someone comes close, the Wrestler, which uses a large sledgehammer fist to pummel its victims and the Screamer whose sonic shriek can knock foes over. There are the horde segments where you, along with the other survivors, must defend your current abode from waves of invading zombies but on the whole, there is not much separating it from the first installment; other than it is not nearly as good.
None of the problems plaguing ‘Dead Island’ have been addressed in ‘Riptide’ either. On occasion, an environmental glitch will still trap you behind a tree or rock, forcing you to restart from your last checkpoint. Thrown items will sometimes disappear forever like my BBQ blade weapon when I mistakenly tossed it at a Ram (a straight-jacketed, charging zombie). Poof! Gone. Not fun.
Dropped weapons can also vanish like magic too. Enemies from time to time will clip right behind you as you walk right through them. Pressing ‘X’ to climb a ladder doesn’t always work…and the list goes on and on.
Probably the worst glitch I encountered was during the water pump mission. I retrieved the pump as asked but when I dropped it into the correct spot near the flooded underground bunker, the game failed to recognize that I did. Unable to trigger the end of the mission, I had to replay it from the very start.
On their own, none of these snags would be that bad on an individual basis. If, like the original Dead Island, the adventure was thrilling or original enough, they would be tolerable. As part of a massively inferior sequel, the ones in Riptide are unforgivable. There is just no excuse for there being so many, so often. ‘Riptide’ is a rushed, sloppy sequel that on the whole is just…well…not fun.
Dead Island: Riptide
Rating: 4 / 10
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.