Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Techland, Deep Silver
Genre: Action role-playing game, Survival horror
Official Site: Dead Island
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Where to buy: Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, Major Retailers
*NOTE* Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to review Dead Island Retro Revenge. From what I gather from my fellow critics, it is definitely worth playing. This review will only look at Dead Island and Riptide.
Dead Island was originally announced in 2010-2011 and along with it came, what was considered one of the best video game trailers at the time. The trailer shows off gorgeous graphics and tells a beautiful, yet depressing, story about a family surviving a zombie apocalypse. Dead Island was supposed to champion in the first truly great zombie game on consoles. On its initial release, the game wasn’t anything like people expected. Dead Island was either a hit or miss with critics, splitting everyone down the middle. There were people who enjoyed it despite the inconsistencies and bugs whilst the graphics were incomparable to the announcement trailer. In fact, they were a much lower resolution. The Dead Island Definitive Collection, which brings the game (and it’s sequel Riptide) to next-gen consoles, helps improve the game in some aspects.
The story of Dead Island doesn’t revolve around the family from the trailer. You choose one of four characters with their own little backstory. In the Definitive Collection, there is an additional character you can choose from, who was released as DLC in the original release on previous gen consoles. His stats are well balanced, so you get the best of all worlds when it comes to deciding if you want to use guns, blunt weapons, or sharp weapons. Whatever character you choose and play Dead Island with, you can carry over to Riptide as well. This, in a sense, brings some fluidity to the overall package of the Definitive Collection and allows you to build your character so you don’t have to start from scratch. When Riptide originally released, this was a feature, but it is worth mentioning because it is good that it returns.
For those who have not played Dead Island before, the ultimate goal is to survive the zombie outbreak on an island. It has RPG elements and you complete a bunch of quests. The game feels simple but deep.
In addition to the new character to choose from, you can play Dead Island in a new mode. The mode, which was originally a mod on the PC that was highly popular, God One Punch Mode makes its console debut. God One Punch Mode is for you if you want to just play for the story and not be hindered by the crafting mechanics or scrounging for bullets constantly. It isn’t perfect in its implementation but it is fun none the less. I found myself missing quite a few hits in this God One Punch, mostly because the aiming system was off (more on that in a few).
With this update of Dead Island, Definitive Collection comes improved gameplay. One feature I found to be the biggest factor for me was the improved weapon handling. No longer do your weapons degrade after 3-4 hits like it was in the original release of Dead Island making the game more accessible and less frustrating. The pitfall is that the improved weapon handling seems to have been in sacrifice for other things.
There is a much smaller area to be able to hit your targets with melee weapons. You have to get in extremely close and personal, even when using a melee weapon such as a paddle. In one instance I tried using a paddle to keep some distance from a thug’s reach but even at arms length I still couldn’t hit the target, no matter how much I tried. That was unfortunate because the thug always had a knockback effect, knocking you to the ground if he hits you once.
Then there are damage inconsistencies. Sometimes you will have a weapon at 100% and yet you still barely leave a dent. Yes, you need to take into consideration the level of the weapon, but at times it didn’t seem to matter. For example, I was at level 20 in the middle of a bunch of level 16 zombies with a level 19 weapon. My weapon also happened to be at 100%. Still, my damage output was terrible. I barely left a dent on an enemy when I should have had 350 DPS, I was probably doing about 150. Then next moment I decapitate a zombie at full health.
The inconsistencies don’t stop at the damage output, but also your damage input as well. In the same scenario, level 16 zombies were hitting me with a high DPS. A few moments later, in a different area with level 16 zombies, they barely phased me. These issues still occur, but are improved in Riptide. Still, expect some minor bugs such as getting stuck in place or zombies teleporting from low ground to high ground.
On the plus side, Dead Island Definitive Collection comes with graphics more in line with what they were in the announcement trailer. In Dead Island, the only downside is that there is still a motion blur and the occasional frame rate issues. These issues don’t carry over to Riptide, though one should expect the occasional bug. There was one character whose neck kept getting stretched when talking to him. It didn’t hurt the game, but it was funny.
The Dead Island Definitive Collection as a whole is a good bundle to get if you haven’t played the games before. If you have played them originally but didn’t care for them, I wouldn’t recommend jumping right back in. Overall, it is an improved bundle that might be worth the price, but it might frustrate some.
- Gameplay: Dead Island and Riptide both have improved handling. The weapons don’t degrade as fast and the controls are more responsive. Yet they are riddled with some minor bugs and inconsistent damage output/input. Repetitiveness is also a very big problem. Tons of content though for your buck.
- Graphics: Improved graphics, but there are quite a few frame rate issues. Expect some motion blur in Dead Island. Riptide, these problems aren’t so noticeable though there are some clipping. Definitely a huge improvement from the original releases.
- Sound: Sound never was an issue in initial releases. Some upgraded sound, though. No sound, cutting or inconsistencies. Fits atmosphere pretty well.
- Presentation: A great improvement over the original base release of both games. 3 games for the price of $40, it might be worth a buy.
- Good deal for your money
- Brings Dead Island and Riptide together to form one big story
- Weapon degrading has improved
- Additional skins and game mode
- Graphics still have frame-rate issues
- Gameplay inconsistent and repetitive
- Minor bugs
- Co-op feels unnatural, not many take part