The Dead Island series continues its zombie elimation in fine tradition in its latest outing that is Riptide.
Beginning straight from where the last game left-off, Riptide re-introduces Sam B, Purna, Logan and Xian. This time the military have gotten a hold of the and it's not long before all hell breaks loose. John Morgan, (a former soldier) enters the frame as the fifth playable character. Morgan's skills focus on hand-to-hand combat and is probably the easiest character to start the game with (unless you plan on importing a Dead Island save file and character).
So, without further ado, it's back to paradise and the zombie horde. With the core gameplay of looting, levelling up and crafting a myriad of deadly weapons to fight the undead with. It's a satisfying blend of elements that throw themselves right into the world and environment.
There's a lot of things to do and I mean a lot! A million and one things to pick-up and not one of them sits idle in your inventory for too long. Blue prints are often found which can help modify yee old baseball bat into something more 'colourful'....stick nails into it, wrap it in barb wire, the decision is yours. One weapon I created was a liquid flame shovel. You just gotta find a shovel and combine it with the liquid flame mod, it sets the undead alight which temporarily sets in motion a nice animation of them flailing their arms around wildly and screaming their heads off, lovely indeed!
It's hard not to feel the satisfaction of smashing the heads in of the endless zombie invaders. As you approach a group of 'walkers', lay into them with fists, weapons, special moves and such, and because every limb can be sliced and diced, even broken, you get a good sensation from your chosen weapon of destruction.
Every time you level up, the hordes levels up too. This keeps the game balanced and no matter what you are taking into a fight, you still need to be on your toes at all times. Zombie spawn points keep areas topped-up so there is always a threat of danger. Bigger, tougher zombies will begin to show up that count as mini-boss fights, these guys will literally wipe you out in a heartbeat - so as good as you are at taking down the basic foes - the bigger guys will definitely give you a run for your money!
A new feature to the game is team-system. In your initial base camp you have a group of survivors. These people hand you quests, buy, sell items and offer information. Basically, the more you do for them (and you can do this as often as you like) the better they become in fights - which leads on to the next new gameplay mechanic - base defence. At set points during the game, you and your fellow survivors will have to fend off large zombie assaults. You can build fences, lay mines and even set up sentry-guns. But if one survivor dies then it's game-over, this adds a healthy level of tension to the game during these stages.
The motor-boat, which is to be found early in the story, adds a new transport to the mix and is used quite often if you don't fancy wading, waist deep, through flooded areas. Also, a new zombie-type makes an appearance - the 'drowner' is usually found laying face down in the many water ways that litter Palanai. Although they are easy to fight off, it's not good to get surrounded. Your movement in water is severely hindered so there are no fast or instant getaways - you've been warned.
Overall, the Dead Island series is pretty unique and the closest thing out there to it is Dead Rising. What sets it apart, is the amount of quests available, with many and varied challenges, along with a sandbox environment, as well as supporting up to 4 players in co-op play - you're gonna be getting a lot of value from the game. It can get repetitive of course, but that can be said of other games, the point is, it's so much fun fighting the zombies, you don't really notice.