Dead Island: Ryder White DLC Review
If Techland is to be believed, Dead Island was one of 2011’s unsung heroes. Selling well above what was predicted, it went against popular industry opinion that new IP’s are well rubbish.
Apart from an early brush involving controversy with a certain falling little girl, it wasn’t quite as headline-grabbing as the year’s bigger titles; post-release it sort of shuffled along, moaned a bit and then fell over.
Dead Island players could have done with substantial DLC a few months ago, but it’s still good to see some now. Though the game itself is packed full of content, a continual stream of additional missions that play around with the formula could have injected some much needed life.
And we’re not short of zombie thrills, even this early into 2012. With Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City sating that particular compulsion, Dead Island has begun to feel like a long distant memory.
This DLC, entitled Ryder White, brings the undead kicking and screaming back to life. An entirely separate character and mini-campaign, Ryder White focuses on the titular Colonel and his mission to blow up a bridge in the heart of Banoi’s city.
As you’ve probably already guessed, as a mini-campaign focused on a military character, this is less about hitting zombies with oars, and more about shooting them with Dead Island’s RPG-infused guns.
Not its strongest attribute, the gunplay (like in the main game itself) borders on the fiddly. With the RPG mechanics on clear display it can make for a confusing experience as floating health numbers litter the screen.
It’s more Call Of Duty than Dead Island.
Unlike the main campaign, Ryder White also simplifies things to a single objective. Taking away player choice and focusing their efforts down to what is now, quite obviously, a corridor, also works against the game’s fantastic open environment.
Here, it’s just the combat that will keep you interested. There’s only one new character, Ryder himself. Unlike the main quest there is no co-op; this is designed to be a single-player experience.
The production values are high, though, and this genuinely feels like it fits into the brain-eating canon that Techland have created. That it fails to present an experience akin to the main game is something of a mistake and one of the only reasons we’d recommend steering clear.
Dead Island did a fantastic job of realising a world shot to hell, and gave you the freedom to react to it however you wanted. In comparison, Ryder White’s zombie adventure is a restricted and stilted affair that occasionally reminds us why Techland’s original game was so much fun. Dead Island is deserving of additional content, but it’s even more deserving of an entire sequel.