Dead Island's latest DLC, the story-based single-player Ryder White campaign, has been released yesterday with reviews soon following, so we rounded up a handful of early ones, which end up painting a mix picture for Techland's zombie-infested piece of downloadable contet.
Despite itself, Ryder White is actually enormous fun. Most players will probably finish it in one sitting, which isn’t a slur on its longevity, more a credit to its playability. Where some may have found Dead Island sprawling in its enormity, maybe even too daunting, Ryder White doesn’t outstay its welcome.
If you loved Dead Island, then, for the price of admission, the decision to return to Banoi for Ryder White’s adventure is a pretty easy one. That said, there’s nowhere near enough new content, aside from a different take on some story beats from the main game, and it is very gun-heavy, as opposed to the melee combat players may be used to. If you’re jonesing for more first person zombie killing, then Ryder White is Dead Island-lite; the RPG elements almost completely non-existent, this is just brainless fun, Dead Island style.
The Ryder White Campaign answers many story related questions and shows us what Ryder was doing while Purna, Logan, Sam B and Xian Mei were running around helping the people of Banoi. It is fun, difficult at times, but short and limited. It was enjoyable while it lasted, but did not last long enough. Additionally, I do not think I will be playing it again.
The Ryder White DLC really doesn’t pin much hope on Techland’s future releases of DLC for Dead Island. But, at least they can use this as a learning tool to find out how to improve their next downloadable content. What it needs to feature co-op play, as that’s what defines Dead Island for most players and it needs to use a variety of new locations outside of the currently explored island of Banoi.
It is actually a quandary for me in recommending Ryder White as DLC. At $9.99, the content is short and cuts away most of what made Dead Island unique, leaving in its wake a shell of the basic gameplay to actually play. It is not a terrible DLC by any means, but it also doesn’t do much to entice new players or bring the established fanbase back to the game. Dead Island: Ryder White is probably best at being a diversion for said fanbase; the storyline they wanted to see from the main game shines here and adds new dimensions to the games lore, but the strength of the story is not enough for players to go back to Banoi once more.
With a linear chain of events, dubious plot and no ability to explore, level up or team up, this DLC manages to sidestep all of the features that made the original game so appealing. Instead you are treated to a bullet strewn rush to a confusing (and slightly annoying) finale that ties together a little too conveniently. The whole package only lasts a couple of hours and you will not get a strong urge to revisit this particular chunk of gaming change any time soon. If you want to see the whole story behind Dead Island then you will probably want to dip your toe into the Ryder White DLC regardless, but do not expect to be left with a feeling of closure, as all you’ll get is one of sullen disappointment.