Feature

Dead Island Riptide Wish List

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Deep Silver hasn't revealed anything about Dead Island Riptide beyond a title and a logo, but we already have a list of things we'd like to see in the game.

Developed by Techland, Dead Island shook up the survival horror genre with its open-world structure, RPG-esque leveling and loot systems, and four-player co-op. The game wasn't perfect, but it gave us plenty of reasons to get excited for another zombie apocalypse. Here's what we'd like to see in a sequel.

A Brave New World:
Much of Dead Island's success can be attributed to its titular location. The massive island of Banoi stood in stark contrast to the typical setting for an undead Armageddon, and the open-world format offered an equally welcome break from linear level design.

For Riptide, we'd like an even larger world to explore, along with more location variety. While we had a blast investigating Banoi's beach front properties, mucking about in the underground sewers was a monotonous, joyless pain. Finally reaching Banoi's city is an awesome experience, but few of the urban areas stand out. We hope Riptide's world features more unique locations, with more interior areas as well; give us the occasional creepy mansion or abandoned military base to explore.

We'd also like some new ways to interact with the environment beyond just looting abandoned suitcases. Let us create our own safehouses by barricading doors and windows in our buildings of choice, or set up environmental traps to take down zombies and looters alike. Let us learn more about the back story and its characters by simply exploring the world, beyond listening to scattered audio files. Also, throw in some greater weather variation and a day/night cycle to change up the gameplay.

Back To Survival Horror:
Thanks to its focus on visceral melee combat and deadly enemies, Dead Island felt more like a survival horror game than your typical run-and-gun action game. The Ryder White DLC tried upping the action quota, and was worse off because of it. We hope Riptide sticks to its roots, and places an even greater emphasis on the struggle for survival. Instead of assigning players random fetch quests to help out hungry NPCs, tie gathering supplies into the core gameplay loop by having them provide stat buffs or new items beyond the weapon crafting system. Give us a better reason to take care of NPCs beyond simple mission rewards.

Also, make the zombies deadlier; being immune to the infection is a copout, and reduces your undead foes to run-of-the-mill melee enemies. Incorporate the risk of getting turned into a zombie into the gameplay to give players extra incentive to work together (while simultaneously keeping an eye on one another for signs of infection). 

A Story That Matters:
Techland reintroduced gamers to Dead Island with one of the greatest trailers of all-time, but unfortunately, the story in the final game had nothing in common with the emotional CGI teaser. Poor voice acting and wooden character models were part of the problem, but the bigger issue is that everyone you interacted with only served as a quest dispenser. For Riptide, we'd like to see more interaction with NPCs, and a branching story based on our actions. Have those extra survivors accompany us on dangerous missions instead of just hogging resources back at the safehouse. More importantly, put the lives of our non-playable allies in our hands, and provide missions with multiple solutions and outcomes. Perhaps then Riptide's gameplay will pack the same emotional weight as Dead Island's early teaser trailer.

Up The Arsenal:
Dead Island gave players an island's worth of clubs, blades, and canoe paddles to batter the living dead with. While it was a satisfying variety of weapons, they all functioned in basically the same manner. We'd like to see more weapons that have unique abilities, or unique effects on enemies. More gunplay would be nice too – the series shouldn't become Left 4 Dead, but we don't want to feel like we're wasting inventory space by carrying around a gun we never have ammo for.

Throwing weapons also need an overhaul, as having a beloved knife inexplicably disappear from the environment is incredibly frustrating. Dead Island's crafting system works well, but weapon degradation needs to go; constantly juggling your loadout to replace broken weapons is a time waster, and having to pay money to both upgrade and repair weapons quickly gets expensive. Getting increasingly better loot is all the motivation we need to change up our arsenal; having them constantly degrade and break just feels like pointless upkeep.

Skills For Kills
The most powerful weapon in Dead Island isn't a melee weapon or a firearm – it's the mighty jump kick. Similarly, unlocking the curb stomp ability is an empowering and game-changing moment. For Riptide, we'd like to see an expanded move set, and more character skills that actually matter. We don't want to waste skill points on stat boosts – give us a cool new ability to play around with. Additionally, some type of enhanced climbing system would open up exploration possibilities and minimize the problems Dead Island had when it required players to complete light platforming segments. Nobody likes their path being blocked by waist-high obstacles. 

Upgrade The Tech:
It may not be an exciting thing to wish for, but some minor tech improvements would go a long way in fixing what was wrong with Dead Island. The original game's user interface and inventory system were cumbersome, and little issues like having to unlock weapon wheel spaces and deal with a quirky map led to a lot of frustration. The only time we want to spend in Riptide's menus is when we're upgrading skills. Also, having to be on the same mission as your co-op buddies in order to make progress in your campaign was a pain, and a variety of bugs – including NPCs that would glitch out on escort missions – posed a bigger threat than the undead.

Want improvements do you want to see in Dead Island Riptide? Share your picks in the comments below!