This is a review of Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide from the definitive edition on PS4. Dead Island Retro Revenge is not yet available to download and this review will be updated after it's released
I feel like the the Dead Island games are underrated gems of the last generation of gaming. I remember when Dead Island first came out, reading a ton of hate on the internet for it and with the way that people were talking about it, made it seem like it was one of the worst games ever made. I also saw some people praising the game as well so I was confused whether or not I should bother to check it out. Well I did and I really enjoyed it. I feel like most of the hate towards the game was due to the fact that it was over hyped to hell thanks to that original trailer for the game and I will admit, I can see why people were disappointed. That said I still think that both Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide are two great open world RPG games and if there is anyone that missed out on them before, you can now enjoy them together as a definitive edition of the game is now available. When it comes to these re-releases I normally don't notice much of a difference, but the great part of Dead Island Definitive Edition is that most of the issues that did plague the original games have been fixed and it's better than ever.
For those who have never played Dead Island before, it's an open world, zombie survival RPG where you can select one of four characters each with their own skills. Logan is skilled in throwing weapons, Purna is skilled in firearms, Xing Mei is skilled in sharp weapons and Sam B is skilled in blunt weapons. Of course said characters aren't locked to those types of weapons as you will find a wide variety of zombie slaying items on the island including knives, baseball bats, wooden planks, canoe paddles, hammers, molotov cocktails, guns, wooden sticks and much much more. Right as the game gets going, you are able to head out on the island and start tour journey and will get a lengthy number of quests to complete right from the start. Do you like side quests in RPG's? Well you will love Dead Island because there are side quests galore and a lot of them you can find just wandering around the island. Seriously, you can be on your way to complete one side mission and pick up three to five more along the way. There are also events that occur on the island as well and usually involve saving other survivors from zombie hoards. My favorite part of the game is probably the loot and the weapon mods. There is loot everywhere in this game and just about anywhere you look or go will be stockpiled with tons of materials and cash that you can use a modding tables. As you progress throughout the game, you will collect a number of weapon mods and there is a pretty lengthy list of mods you can collect. Each mod needs a weapon and a variety of materials to put together and some of the mods include nail bats, sharp weapons laced with poison, weapons wrapped in barbed wire, electrified weapons, firearm mods, sticky bombs and much much more. These upgraded weapons of course do massive damage to zombies and you actually start to grow attached to your modded weapons, or at least I did.
Killing zombies is incredibly satisfying, especially with modded weapons. As you level up, you will find better weapons and better mods, however it's just so hard to part with your go to weapon that you have been using for a long stretch of gameplay. The other thing I really like about Dead Island is that enemies level up with you so you never really feel like you will need to grind to higher levels in order to progress through the game.
You earn XP for each zombie you kill so it can be incredibly addicting to keep slashing zombies and watching that XP bar grow to the next level. With leveling of course comes the skill tree which is broken down into three categories, Fury, Survival and Combat. The Survival tree will help you stay alive as it contains kills such as regaining your stamina, decreasing cash penalties on death and making medkits more effective. The combat tree will boost your damage in combat such as weapons of your characters particular skill applying bleeding damage, reducing the stamina usage of each weapon and improving their durability. The Fury tree will help with your Fury attacks. The Fury attack is a special ability that can be activated that will make you go into somewhat of an overdrive mode where you do increased damage and by comboing while using Fury you can earn extra XP. Of course, the zombie apocalypse is more fun with friends and both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide support four play co-op online. If you want to drop into a random game, you can drop into a game with someone who has equal or less story progression as you so you don't have to worry about joining a game and jumping in right at the end.
The Definitive Collection includes Dead Island Riptide. Even though it's a stand alone game, it really isn't so much of a sequel as it is an expansion pack. The story takes place immediately following the events of the first game and adds some new locations, a new character, new mods, new enemies and some new weapons. The biggest change between Dead Island and Riptide is that Riptide now has a new dynamic weather system. This is a welcome addition as the first game seemed to be constant sunny and clear skies with the weather only changing once you progress through the main story. Aside from those additions, the game is pretty much exactly the same as the first and really feels like Dead Island: Part 2. This isn't a bad thing though as it's got the same zombie killing fun of the first game and you can import your original Dead Island characters into Riptide to continue the story and their progress. Both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide are the "game of the year" editions and come with all of the extra DLC content and include a game mode called "One Punch Mode". One Punch Mode is pretty much what it says and makes it so you deal ridiculous damage with your fists and can just hold down the attack punch and unleash a non stop barrage of punching attacks against enemies. This mode however will disable all trophy and challenge progression.
My biggest complaint with the original Dead Island were some nasty little bugs that would pop up every now and then. The biggest offender being a bug with the auto save system where your game simply wouldn't save. There were multiple times when I would hit continue on the main menu only to find out that hours of progress were gone and I was at an auto save location from long ago. Thankfully this issue has been fixed and it seems like wanted to make sure this never happened again as this version of the game will constantly auto save. Seriously, it seems like every time I look down in the corner of the screen I see that radiation symbol indicating an auto save. There is one bug however that I notice was still present in this version of the game. For whatever reason, sometimes the game won't let you talk to a quest giver to confirm that you have completed a quest. The easy fix to this however is either just to reload the game or to fast travel to one area and then fast travel back and it usually works itself out. Not a huge problem and it doesn't pop up enough to become annoying but it is there. Finally, between Dead Island and Riptide, the frame rate, while not at 60 FPS, is so much better than it was on last gen system. No longer will the frame rate come to a crawl when things start to get hectic and the games run great on the PS4. The game looks better than ever as this is one of those games where you can just get lost in the world itself as the island is absolutely beautiful and a complete contrast from the zombie apocalypse that is currently going on.
Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide are two great open world RPG's in their own right but they are also fantastic zombie survival games as well. Killing zombies never gets old and the island is a beautiful place to explore. If you missed out on these games last generation, now is a good as a time as ever to try them out as they both feel like one huge game that provides hundreds of hours of non stop, zombie slaying fun.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me