Port Authority: Dead Island Riptide
Now that we know how good Dead Island Riptide is, it’s time to take a closer look at the options and features available in the PC version. The IGN review calls it out for failing to make an effort to improve on its 2011 predecessor, so going into this our expectations weren’t terribly high. Here’s what we found under the hood.
CPU: Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz
RAM: 1GB (4GB recommended)
Hard disk space: 7GB
Videocard: Radeon HD 2600XT/GeForce 8600GT
(Radeon HD 3870/GeForce 9600GT recommended)
This is a Steamworks game, so you’ll need Steam installed and running to play. It’ll work in offline mode for single-player.
Techland hasn’t gone above and beyond with this stuff. There are high, medium, and low options for Texture Quality, Foliage Quality, and FX quality. Shadows and Shadow Map Size only have two options (High or Normal and 512 or 1024, respectively). A separate menu has a gamma slider. There’s a v-sync option and the ability to run in a window, which only works in a borderless mode. But hey, if I could only have one, I’d go borderless every time. It supports both 16:9 and 16:10 resolution options.
What’s missing here? There’s zero anti-aliasing options, resulting in some serious jagginess. (You may be able to force-enable that in your graphics card control panel.) There are no advanced lighting settings, no model detail settings (other than for the foliage) and naturally, no FoV slider. In short, this is just a couple of steps up from the bare minimum. At least there’s no framerate cap in effect – Riptide will run as fast as your PC can handle.
It’s always disappointing to see a zombie game that doesn’t support 5.1 or 7.1 sound, so color me disappointed by Riptide’s audio settings. Apparently sound isn’t even cool enough to deserve its own menu. The very simple sliders are at the top of the Game menu, and simply control music, speech, and sound effect volume. There’s also a toggle for subtitles here. (Your co-op partners’ speech can be disabled under the Online menu.)
Here, Dead Island does fairly well. On the main screen there’s a standard sensitivity slider and Y-axis inversion toggle. In the Key Bindings submenu, everything is as it should be. Though you can’t assign an alternate set of keybindings, there’s no key on the board (except PrtScn and Windows) or button on the mouse that won’t map to a command.
You can, of course, swap to Xbox 360 gamepad mode. That includes a Southpaw config, Y-axis inversion, sensitivity settings, and rumble toggle.
Back on that Game menu, there are toggles for hiding or showing enemy health, damage done, auto-playing audio recordings you pick up, an enhanced navigation option, in-game hints, and forcing the quest target display.
In the Online menu you can switch your game between Single-player and Cooperative modes (depending on whether you want people to be able to join your game) and set whether your game is visible for randoms to join, or only on your LAN. There’s an option to have it alert you if people are playing Riptide on your LAN, too. If you want to hold a spot for a friend or two, you can adjust the number of public and private slots available, as well as making sure you only join games with Valve’s anti-cheating security (VAC) enabled. There’s also a Facebook option that can auto-post your events to your wall, if you’re into that sort of thing and don’t mind if your friends hate you.
Everything works well enough in the main menu screens – nothing requires any keyboard navigation to get around. In-game, there’s a radial weapon-select inventory that’s obviously built for consoles, and the main inventory screen takes some getting used to in order to figure out how to swap stuff into a given slot, but at least it all responds well to being clicked.
Like most cross-platform games with no-frills ports, Dead Island Riptide isn’t likely to strain your graphics card if your PC has seen any upgrade love in the past few years. On a GeForce GTX 570 and Core-i7, I get well over 120fps with settings maxed at 1920×1080 resolution.
This is a four-player co-op game that works over Steam, using its simple friends list and invite and join system. People can seamlessly drop in and out of your game, if you allow it.
A checkpoint-only save system is kind of a stupid idea for an RPG, but yeah, that’s what we’re working with here. That means no backsies when it comes to allocating your skill points, and losing any progress you make between those checkpoints if you have to quit out.
On the bright side, we do get 10 save slots for different characters, and they’re synced over Steamcloud so they can be played anywhere you log into your Steam account.
Yeah, that’s about what we expected: the PC version of Dead Island Riptide isn’t anything fancy. There’s no hint of any special PC features beyond some adjustable textures, a fixed field of view, excessive jaggies sharper than an electrified machete, and no way to know where that zombie sound is coming from. But we have gotten excellent performance, the controls are fully customizable, and perhaps most importantly, the Steam multiplayer and cloud save systems are fully armed and operational.
Dan Stapleton is IGN’s Reviews Editor. You can follow him on Twitter to hear all about how awesome PC gaming is, plus a healthy dose of random Simpsons references.