Dead Island: Riptide was a bit of a rough ride. Many felt it was more an expansion, rather than a full sequel. Brady Games’ guide helps take the sharp edge off the games sour notes, but is it helpful past telling you where to go and what to do?

The usual rigmarole of tips and tricks are helpful, introducing the newer elements. These include a few basic concepts about levelling up to prevent painting yourself into a corner. This is backed up by a comprehensive section for all five characters which details how to play each of them effectively.

Pages of tables give the run-down on all the bonuses and skills with some recommended builds ideas. For the slightly lazier zombie-masher, Brady have detailed the pre-sets and which to go for, or as they call it “the easy route”. It keeps it simple and gives enough of a nudge to still make character building fun, without spelling it out completely.

The old adage of “know your enemy” is taken to extremes here. Not only does it give a short study on each type of infected, but also how to get the best of them. This is particularly helpful as Dead Island: Riptide doesn’t pull its punches, with a difficulty level very near to the end of the original game. The only odd inclusion to this section are the “dead zones”, difficult optional areas populated by basic undead and a special boss. While there are difficult encounters with unique factors like regenerating health, it feels like the guide is getting ahead of itself. These sections are extras, something better left until after the core games walkthrough, with the collectables and secrets. It is easy to understand why it was placed there, it gives you all the relevant info and tips, but the consistency it was probably meant to give doesn’t give the information in the right order.

Event though many enjoy the sense of discovery and experimentation of a new game, the main guide is a informative, well written “how to” for all the games systems and missions. It provides pointers for mechanics such as using the work bench as they arise and doesn’t overload itself with information. It is written to keep it sweet and simple, but also takes the time to point out where the hidden lore pick-ups are.

Team Quests, optional side-objectives to upgrade your team’s capabilities, are glorified fetch quests, but thankfully Brady have found the best places to collect all the required materials. This is particularly helpful for those who want to get into the crafting system where the same materials would be in high demand.

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No One Said The End Of The World Would Be Easy

It is also a good way of earning some of the games better weapon mods, letting you dish out more specific types of damage. The third quarter of the guide focuses on how to get a good collection of weapons for every situation. It will tell you how to find the mods, what you need and where to find the materials. It takes a lot of the guess work and aimless wandering to make your ideal warrior.

The last sections are focus on the last few extras, giving a more in-depth guide to finding the optional collectibles and character bios. If the main guide didn’t give enough detail on where to find a few of these hidden goodies, the map and directions are an almost fool-proof combination to find them, even if it is for the achievements rather than the plot. Other points of interest are also listed, helping you get around. The character bios serve no real practical purpose, but it does add a little bit more flavour to the world.

Keeping a co-op experience smooth isn’t a good thing, but the last few pages have given a few ideas on how to keep things ticking along. This is sometimes advice that has to be given because of the games flaws, but it is better to find out about it before playing rather than through an experience that may not be as fun as it could be. It seems out of place for this to be at the end however, and would have been better suited near the start with the rest of the gameplay tips. They seem hidden away, even though it is sound advice that could make the difference between a bad time and a good time.

To round it off, the last four pages have the in-game challenges all lined out, telling you what to do and how to do it. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, but it provides a good checklist towards 200% completion.

Brady Games Dead Island: Riptide guide is a good book to get the most out of the game. It isn’t a must buy for all gamers, but if you want to find all the secrets, make the best character with the best stuff, and beat every facet of the game, it does a good job. Even if some of the information seems a bit out of order, it is still there, which is better than it not being in the guide at all. The game may not be of the highest calibre, but that hasn’t stopped Brady Games trying to make things a little bit better with a guide well worth buying.

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