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Dead Island Review

Dead Island

Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Genre(s): Open World FPS
Publisher(s): Deep Silver
Developer(s): Techland
Multiplayer: None
Co-op: 2-4 Player Online

Dead Island: Ryder White DLC Review

Posted by Peter Carpenter | 06 Feb 2012 |

This is not how you make DLC.

When they released Ryder White, the newest piece of DLC for Dead Island, last week, Deep Silver and Techland accomplished 2 things; they told the other side of the story from the main game and ruined its experience at the same time. The Ryder White DLC strips away all that was great about the orignal game and leaves you with a shallow first person shooter.

Single Player

Dead Island was a great game, and just like with the Bloodbath Arena DLC, Techland aren’t doing themselves any favors when it comes to supporting their game with Ryder White. The Ryder White DLC tells Ryder’s side of the story from the main game, and lets players get some insight on what motivated him to do what he did, from his perspective this time. The story is good, and as a big fan of the orignal game I enjoyed playing as Ryder and getting a look into the mind of the main games antagonist, but I didn’t enjoy the changes they made to the game, at all.

That is due to the fact that they stripped away the merchants, the skill tree, experience, levelling up, and the freedom to wander around the Island of Banoi. Due to these changes, you’re not left with the same Dead Island game we loved back in September, but something else entirely, that just isn’t nearly as fun. One thing they did do to increase the fun factor is to add more guns, with stronger Pistols, Rifles, Shotguns and even more turrets stationed around the island. On top of the new weapons, there are also 2 new blueprints to find, one for a Stun Gun, which is useless, and the other I didn’t even find during my playthrough. Since Ryder is part of the military it makes sense that we would have access to more guns, so that part I really enjoyed, but that’s all that is left after they removed quite a few huge parts of the orignal game.

For those who played the main game, the first thing you will notice is that you start on Level 15, and the skill tree and map of the island are missing, it’s not a mistake, they are gone. This is a weird choice, and it seems like they just couldn’t think up a good way to tell Ryder’s story with the games original features, so they just removed them all. Why not let Ryder earn EXP, level up and earn new skills? Why does this need to go? It makes no sense and creates a completely different game that isn’t as good. I’m all for experimenting with DLC, but when the DLC is new story content, and you remove almost all of the great features of the game, you aren’t experimenting, you are ruining your game. The last thing to mention while we are on the topic of things missing in the game, for those achievement hunters out there, you will be sad to find out that the Ryder White DLC adds no new achievements. Seriously, someone really f**ked up when making decisions with this one.

The other tragedy about Ryder White is that on top of what we already mentioned, they also removed the co-op support from the game. Yes, that really happened.


I would bet that most gamers, like us, really enjoyed, if not loved Dead Island for its 4 player online co-op support. I will also bet that once they find out that it has been removed in Ryder White and that it’s a single player only adventure now, that they, like us, will be very disappointed. This was one of the best parts of the original game, and to just take it out for whatever reason, was an awful choice.

It's just as fun by yourself. No it's not.

I understand it wouldn’t have made sense to have Ryder work with the game’s main characters, but there are plenty of other ways it could have still had co-op. He could have recruited some fellow soldiers, or maybe he found another group of survivors to convince to help him, the list could go on and on. It doesn’t have to make perfect sense to have co-op. Look at Halo 3: ODST, it supported 4 player co-op and the main story was about the team being split up and each level followed the story of what happened to them, as the Rookie searched for them. It didn’t make sense, but the game supported co-op, and even the levels that you played as the Rookie where he was alone, Bungie just tossed you in as other soldiers when you played co-op. It didn’t make sense, but it was still great to play it with some friends.

Whether it was laziness to find a way to make it work, or a choice to make it single player for the sake of the story, it wasn’t a good decision to drop the co-op.

Closing Comments

If you absolutely loved Dead Island, and have an extra 800 MS points to spare, then you will enjoy the added story, and larger focus on guns in Ryder White, but you shouldn’t expect to have the same experience or the same amount of fun you had with the original game. If you only sort of liked Dead Island, then keep your points and move on. By removing almost everything that was great about the orignal game, Techland and Deep Silver aren’t supporting their game with DLC, they are ruining it.

Score: 5/10


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  • Chronic patrol

    The stun gun isn’t useless, use it on a thug, it’ll make him fall over then you can easily kill him by stomping on his head