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Feb 8, 2013

Dead Island: Ryder White PC Review

I have to say, I was really taken by the original Dead Island campaign. Sure there were some foibles, but ultimately it delivered on the promise of giving you the opportunity of dismembering zombies in an ultra violent fashion to the backdrop of a tropical paradise and it was great fun. Ryder White is basically more of the same, but notably with a different focus, this time round leaning towards a more linear scripted nature, moreover sacrificing the RPG elements like the open ended errands, side quests and character leveling.

In this prequel of sorts, you take on the role of the title grunt and after a shaky crash landing due to the pilot turning zombie, White is thrown straight into the murky zombie invested city streets of Moresby. What starts out as an order to contain the situation by forcibly severing the bridge out of the city turns into a personal mission when White contacts his wife Emily, who informs him she has had a run in with a rather fresh zombie...and needless to say you can probably figure out where this is leading.

Gameplay wise, this is basically very similar to Land of the Dead Road to Fiddler's Green, there is a bigger emphasis on guns this time around, ammo & grenades are dotted around more liberally like a standard FPS game. Of course, since ammo was so scant in the original campaign it was a dilemma economising bullets - now you can go loco on the hordes with a variety of sidearms, and it surely will put a wicked grin on your face. However, even though there are plenty of moments of pure bravado, you want to take heed since the checkpoint system has been readjusted so instead of being spawned where you died, you are now dragged back to the spot where the checkpoint occurred. So what this boils down to is that you probably wont want to wander off the beaten track too often, but this isn't such a bad thing, as mentioned earlier, all the stopping power needed is ripe for the picking along the way.

The level design is completely straightforward, there are the usual setup situations like shootouts with raskols and mounted gun turret shooting galleries, which still can be fun but there could have been something new or different. Also there are a couple of sections with endlessly spawning zombies where you just have to survive a set amount of time, and it just feels like lazy design. Overall, this is a faster pace condensed Dead Island experience that provides controlled bursts of gung ho thrills and expands on the plot somewhat regarding the origin of the outbreak and such. It is a fairly short add-on, it will only last about one evening if you don't care about achievements or hunting down all the schematics. No great shakes, but it can pass a few pleasant hours.
Verdict: 60/100


Details:

Genre(s): Action Adventure

Developer: Techland
Release Date: Feb 1, 2012
Flags: DLC

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