You may have heard the name Dead Island Riptide mentioned a few times and you may be wondering what it is?

Is it a sequel or is it an expansion?

The answer lies somewhere in-between.

Dead Island: Riptide is the sequel to 2011’s Dead Island and continues where the last game left off. The main characters are back , but just when they thought their zombie slaying days were behind them, they end up stranded on another island. Palanai is yet another lush locale full of zombies in desperate need of a smack upside the head. Time to dust off that cricket bat.

But what is Riptide? Is it an expansion of the original? No.

If its not an expansion or DLC, it must be a sequel, right? Nope, not exactly.


Basically, Riptide feels like a natural progression from Dead Island. In many respects, its essentially the same game. On the other hand, there’s a lot of new content added. Too much for it to be classed as DLC or a standard expansion. Among the changes, are, of course, a new story, but also new weapons, and even new zombies such as the Drowners. The Drowners lay submerged in water amongst dead bodies and will pop up and attack the player when they are least expecting it.

Sadly, the Australian accents are still quite bad. This is displayed in full force with new character, John Morgan, an Australian special forces soldier who specializes in martial arts. Fortunately, he’s a blast to play. For some perspective, I want you to cast your mind back to the old Fist Of The Dead Star video on YouTube with the overpowered melee attacks. Remember that awesomely devastating running kick? John Morgan can do it! He can kick the undead so hard, sending them sailing across the map, then will stop to laugh at their misfortune.


In terms of gameplay, what does Dead Island Riptide have to offer? Techland have kept the Dead Island formula very much intact, but added in a few welcome tweaks. The menu has been simplified and is much easier to navigate. That said, the combat felt slightly sluggish and stiff when fighting with melee weapons.

New this time, Riptide features new defensive missions. Instead of just levelling up one favorite weapon and a player making their way from one side of the island to the other, they will also have to protect themselves from hordes of zombies who will over run them. Believe me, players WILL be over run.

Through my playthrough, I got to experience the multiplayer side of the game and after getting used to the controls, I was able to place one nicely placed headshot after another with the flare gun, much to my amusement. The changes became quickly apparent to me, yet melee combat still remains my biggest gripe. It still doesn’t feel as if Techland have quite got it right.

While the defense missions help things remain fresh, creating a Dead Island version 2.0, multiplayer is definitely where the strengths lie, as it was with the original game.Doing these defense missions together with a friend will necessitate teamwork and create unrivaled atmosphere.


Dead Island wasn’t everyone’s favorite game when it released. There were complaints left and right about how the game was handled, as well as general gameplay problems. Riptide doesn’t feel like that. Although the combat takes some getting used to, and still feels quite stunted, Riptide is a much more crisp feeling title. Fans of the original will undoubtably love it. For anyone else, it’s hard to say if these changes are enough to change your mind.

So, the burning question. What is Riptide?  It’s the evolution of an idea that people were undecided on, offering a few new bells and whistles. Riptide offers a new perspective on Dead Island, one that might make you think twice about the franchise. As for existing fans, there are some interesting, exciting new ideas in here to get you buzzed about all that’s set to come.

Dead Island Riptide releases April 26th 2013

About the author

Craig Tester

Craig has been a gamer since he was a kid when he spent hours playing games. This lead him to writing about games and has had his work featured in Knave Magazine and various sites such as ShopTo, This Is My Joystick, Nerd Reactor and many more
Skip to toolbar