COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Deep Silver’s Dead Island Riptide Special Edition PS3

Updated: 04/23/2013 10:40 AM By: Aaron Chalich

As you all know I am one of the biggest fans of horror movies and video games and when the two are combined I get pretty excited. That is the case in Deep Silver’s latest release “Dead Island: Riptide.” 

I have been seen trailers and footage of the game for quite a while and I was extremely excited when I received a review copy.

“Dead Island: Riptide” is a first person survival horror game and is a sequel to Deep Silver’s hit game “Dead Island” which was released in 2011.

The game picks up right where the first game ended which I thought was cool. In “Dead Island” the four main characters (Sam B, Logan, Purna, and Xian) are all at a tropical resort and are awakened one morning by a voice over a loud speaker saying that there is a deadly virus that is turning people into flesh eating monsters. You must try and escape the island. 

They manage to find out that there is a vaccine and the person who has it is going to try and escape the island.  You find the person and he injects himself with it and turns into a monster. The survivors defeat him and escape on a military helicopter with a bunch of soldiers.

“Dead Island: Riptide” starts out with the four main characters on the helicopter and you learn that they are all immune to the disease. The helicopter lands on a battleship and you learn that the government wants to do experiments on you.

The four characters are thrown in a cell and they discover another prisoner named John Morgan. Soon there is a horrible storm and causes a shipwreck. You soon discover that the flesh eating monsters are on board the ship and you escape to a new island only to have it completely inhabited by more of the zombies. Now all of the survivors on the ship have to find a way off of the island while trying to survive thousands of flesh eating monsters.

I thought the story was brilliant and very well written. Maybe I am a little bias, because I love zombies and survival horror video games. I really liked how the story picked up right where the first game ended and there was a flash back to show you what happened and I really appreciated that a lot and I know other people will also.

When you first start the game you can choose which character (Xian, Logan, Sam B, John Morgan, or Purna) you want to play as and each one has their own unique skills and abilities. 

You can also load your character from the first “Dead Island.” You can start with all of your stats and skills. I thought this was a great feature and I know players are going to love this.

AS you are playing, you will find many different weapons that you can use to destroy the zombies. There are knifes, guns, wrenches, police batons, grenades, etc… There are tons of them and they all do a different amount of damage when used. 

The weapons can break at certain times and you know when it will happen because of a meter that appears on the weapon icon.  Once the weapon breaks you lose it and have to find another weapon.

At first I didn’t like this because I thought, “Oh great!  Now I have to worry about how many times I use a weapon.” But that was not the case I quickly learned once I started playing. There are weapons everywhere you and you will not have to worry about not having one.

You can also upgrade your melee weapons and fix them. There are workbenches in certain areas and you can approach them and go into a menu where you can choose to fix it to 100 percent ( you can see how much the weapons are damaged) or upgrade it to make it stronger.

Along the way you will find tons of different items such as magnets, tape, gears, etc… You can use these items to upgrade or create new weapons. There are blueprints that you will find on your adventure that will show you what you need to make different and more powerful weapons. You can also find money and take if off of dead zombies. You will need the money to also upgrade or fix weapons.

One thing that is guaranteed to happen is that you are going to lose a lot of health. The zombies are fast and strong and there is no way to avoid it. You can gain health by drinking energy drinks, eating snacks and fruit, and by using medical kits. If you lose all of your health, you will have a few seconds before you die to quick use a medical kit to restore your health and bring you back into action. You can also use the medical kits on teammates when they need them, so that is very helpful.

As you start killing zombies you will gain experience points and the points can be used to upgrade your skills. Each character has their own strengths and abilities and you can make their weapons last longer or make them find items easier. I really liked this a lot and thought that it was great thing to add to the game. I know that people will really enjoy this, because they can play through the game multiple times and have each time a different experience.

There are also in game challenges that will give you more experience points if you complete them. Some of the challenges you have to do are shoot a zombie in the head 100 times or kill four main boss zombies. The harder the challenge the more experience points you get.  They all have pretty cool names and you can see which ones you have complete on your menu screen.

You will meet many different people on the island and they all will eventually need help with something and they will ask you for help. You can choose to do it now or do it later. You can access another menu and you can see who is a member of your team and it will also say if they have a side quest for you. You can start the side quest at any time and you are rewarded with a new weapon or item.

You can access the main menu at any time and it is very helpful. You can see the map of the island, your current location and other points of interest of where you need to go. At first the map is all black and when you discover new parts of the island it will unlock that part of the map so you can see where you are. 

You can see what quests and side quests are available and which one you need to do for the main game and which ones you are helping your teammates with. Your skills are also located here and you can see which ones you have and how many more experience points you need to get another skill upgrade. Last but not least you can see what weapons and items you have.

I really liked the game play a lot and thought that the zombies were amazing. They were creepy and you never knew where they were going to pop out of. I do have to admit I did jump a few times.

The controls are also very easy to learn and there is an in game tutorial that will explain what buttons you need to push to control your character. Everything is pretty basic. You can run, jump, crawl, climb, kick and attack. You can access a quick menu when you need to switch weapons quickly. You can carry multiple weapons and when one is about to break or you run out of ammo for your gun, you can easily switch to the next weapon.

When you attack you have a meter that decreases. When the meter reaches empty, you cannot attack until your meter fills up again. You can let the meter fill up halfway and attack. When you run you also have a meter that will decrease and once it does you will stop running. In order to fill it back up again you have wait for a few seconds.

I thought that the graphics were really amazing and the zombies looked gory and creepy. There is a ton of blood and gore when you kill the zombies. Every time you hit one, blood flies across the screen and it looks fantastic. The backgrounds and island look spectacular. The cinematic scenes were great and looked great as well. Everything flows nicely together and I did not come across any weird glitches.

One amazing feature is that you can go online and play co-op with friends or other people from around the world. You can also join in other games as well. You play as a team and it actually makes zombie killing more fun and it also gives you one heck of an advantage. You can also use your headset to communicate with other teammates and that is a lot of fun.

Another neat feature is that whenever you come across a new zombie or monster a page is added to “Dr. Kessler’s Case Book.” Here you can get an in depth look at all of the different zombies and each one has a very detailed description.

I really enjoyed Deep Silver’s” Dead Island: Riptide.” The game was creepy and the graphics were amazing. The controls were easy to learn and the story was interesting. The online was a lot of fun and so was finding all of the different secrets and collectibles in the game.  “Dead Island: Riptide” is rated “M” for blood and gore, intense violence, strong language and the use of drugs, so it is not for kids. If you are looking for a great first person zombie survival game, I would highly recommend this.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for blogging about the latest entertainment news.