Ahead of the long awaited launch of Dead Island: Riptide, Electronic Theatre has had the opportunity to see how the videogame is shaping-up one last time. We’ve already been to Palanoi, we know that water, defence missions and an improved menu system will have a significant impact on the way you play the videogame. The one thing that remains an uncertainty for that day one play time, then? John Morgan.
For those of you who have been keeping up, Electronic Theatre had the opportunity to play as Morgan in an earlier build. It was an interesting experience that proved Morgan’s worth as a close combat specialist but didn’t exactly reveal much about the long game. While this latest – and far more polished – preview build had an artificial limit of three hours placed upon it this was more than enough to examine some of the finer aspects of Morgan’s level system.
Beginning at the start of the campaign with a fresh new character, players are offered the choice to use a pre-built design or to spec-up in their own manner of choosing. This is obviously an effort to draw a line in the sand and allow newcomers to play alongside their experienced friends who have imported a character, but in terms of entering the world as Morgan, it allows you to bend and shape him into something that can be quite aggressive from the start.
As a melee fighter, one of Morgan’s greatest unique abilities is that of his Fury attack. ‘But every character has a Fury attack?’ You say, and you’d be right. However Morgan’s brutal bombardment of blows takes top billing thanks to the opportunity to inflict damage on multiple opponents a fair distance apart: every single strike whilst Morgan is in Fury mode has a chance of adding additional area effect damage to enemies within the target radius. The Fury mode has always doubled-up as both a way of giving the player some breathing space as well as dishing-out high levels of damage to dangerous enemies, but with a little investment Morgan’s most certainly favours the former.
Working hand-in-hand with the aggressive melee stance is the ability to improve in the use of close combat weapons quicker than other characters. Morgan is not a character designed for patient players, no as a support class: this is a man built for getting into the thick of it and clubbing or slashing his way back out. An argument that’s supported by his other headline ability: upon dying Morgan has the opportunity to self-revive. Chances of success are slim and should not be relied upon, but when it works it can be put to some fantastic use.
Morgan will always feel different, new, simply because he is. Anyone already familiar with the Dead Island gameplay will likely slide right back into the shoes of their established character, but Electronic Theatre would recommend that before you jump back into that saddle you give Morgan a little of your time. You never know, you might like what you find. DeadIsland: Riptide will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC next week, and Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on the DeadIsland videogame franchise.