I would,firstly, like to say Dead Island:Riptide is not a sequel to Dead Island. DI:R is in fact more like an add-on if anything.
In the original Dead Island I remember thinking to myself how much potential that game had. If the developers had gotten a few more things right, and fixed several issues, Dead Island had potential to be a great game. So, with DI:R I had thought they would do all they can to make this amazing. I was wrong;dead wrong.
Dead Island: Riptide essentially feels,and looks,EXACTLY like it's predecessor. Perhaps, graphically, it has improved a bit. It has all the same problems and glitches of the previous game. I feel the developers were uninspired, and lazy at times.
The combat is still more focused on melee and the guns can still feel underpowered; despite what their DPS says. The issue of zombies being OVER-POWERED is still present. It is ridiculous a walker with 2 or 3 good swings could kill my level 47 Sam B. Combat is still satisfying but can feel like a grind after a while.
The game play is good. I like how you repair and upgrade weapons. Trading is pretty standard, but, once again, not much has changed.
The voice acting can vary from being exceptionally good to cheesy and weak. I will say the five main characters are great. Especially Phil LaMarr, I love that guy.
This game has great characters. I get attached to some of the NPC's and I get upset when they die. The main characters are the best; in my opinion. I played as Sam B in DI and now DI:R and he is my favorite. I still love Xian, Purna, and Logan to pieces. John is pretty cool too. There are moments where some of the NPC's are completely weak and their story is paper thin.
I noticed they re-used some of Dead Island's sound track and sound effects...that irked me a little. However, it was all very good. I guess when you get something right the first time don't mess with it. Though Sam B's first song, WDYVB, was better.
The storyline still could be cliche, but I feel it improved a little from the first. Definitely themes of betrayal and plot twists. Of course you have your quintessential conspiracy plot. The story is decent but not great. The ending is a little vague and after reflection I think that is a good thing. Hopefully it is not what it appears to be.
Overall, I would give DI:R a 7 out of 10. (Amazon's rating system is a bit awkward for me, so I rounded it up.) It's a fun, solid game no doubt. If you enjoyed the first one, then there is little doubt you will enjoy this one. Some people may be disappointed and some many not understand why critics have so harshly reviewed it; everyone is different. However, it is pretty much the same game with the exception of new main quests, which are basically boring fetch quests, new zombies, you can drive a boat, it is a different island, still an how island how original, one new character, and the story, however weak, is continued. Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide have the potential. There's just so much holding them back from being great games.