Dead Island: Riptide Review: A Flood of Repetitive Skull-Smashing

But it’s all more of the same game we saw two years ago. In fact, some of the same issues — like zombies clipping through the environment (during one fight, zombies would fall through solid ground, preventing me from having to deal with them at all), crappy hit detection, invisible walls and problems with jumping, zombies popping into existence right in front of you, and quest objectives not getting ticked off the list — are the same problems we saw last time out. Techland has done a great job of creating new, often beautiful areas to explore, but hasn’t done much to fix Dead Island’s issues or improve on the core mechanics with Riptide. If you told me it was an expansion pack and not a sequel two years in the making, I’d have no trouble believing it.

It’s this recycling — from the weapon mods to the character trees to the zombie fights to the fetch quests — that ultimately dooms Riptide to mediocrity. I enjoyed it more than its predecessor, but it’s not a better game. It’s the same game with some new ideas, but ultimately too few of them used much, much too often.

There’s a B movie in Dead Island: Riptide that entertains in that laughable B-movie sort of way: that “don’t take it so seriously, characters so bad they’re good, what ridiculous thing might happen next” sort of way. But like the B horror genre itself, Riptide can’t stand on that appeal forever. Eventually, the endless zombie head-crushing just isn’t entertaining anymore.

A zombie appears. Kick it with “E”, hit it with a bat, smash its skull.


  • Huge open world — again
  • Early sneak-around-the-killer-zombies gameplay is harrowing and fun
  • Lots of the first game’s solid ideas, like heavy zombie melee combat, solid co-op, and weapon modding, are all back in force
  • New settings take things in a fun B-movie direction, especially the flooded jungle
  • Story drives the gameplay a little better, with missions to amp up your defenses and teammates making all the fetching feel somewhat worthwhile
  • Streamlined main quest means less fetching things for random people (but not much less) than in Dead Island
  • Rejoice: No escort quests in the main campaign


  • Core gameplay never elevates above fighting the same few kinds of zombies over and over, and it’s just not that fun long-term
  • Not much different from the original Dead Island, with almost all the same mechanics and only a few new additions in gameplay; lots of hold-overs from Dead Island, like the list of weapon mods and available weapons
  • Huge number of quests that are mostly not that interesting to complete
  • Characters aren’t interesting; story is pretty terrible
  • Still somewhat buggy and unpolished, despite being a sequel and two more years of development
  • Traversing the giant map is a hassle more often than not

Final Score: 65/100

Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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2 Comments on Dead Island: Riptide Review: A Flood of Repetitive Skull-Smashing


On April 27, 2013 at 8:43 am

Fair enough review I suppose, but really what game isn’t repetitive these days? I think the only improvement I’ve seen in any other game is better cut scene animations and possibly better story lines. However, I don’t normally care for a story that much in regards to playing a game. Personally, smashing zombie skulls never gets boring.

Also the game is only 49.99 USD and NOT A SEQUEL it is a continuation of the original story, but not a true sequel check your sources if I had the resource off hand I’d link it here for you. However, it should be noted this is not Dead Island 2 it is Dead Island: Riptide basically an expansion pack, and there were some major improvements to game play mechanics and collision detection from the previous version.


On May 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm