Dead Island Riptide PS3 review – Set sail for a water world of hurt. Zombie sequel sadly potential rots away

You’d have thought Coolio would have taught me better, but two years ago, I kept spending most of life living in a coffin-dodger’s paradise. And I really don’t know why. Sure, Techland’s first zombie open-worlder had some sturdy melee scuffles, but it was also plagued with bugs, dull objectives and hateful characters. Now I find myself booking yet another holiday with the same unreliable, undead travel agent… and the package deal has only gotten worse.

Dead Island Riptide PS3 review

Trumpeted as a spin-off, rather than a true sequel, Dead Island: Riptide feels like a lazy afterthought, despite new additions. The monsoon-struck peninsula of Palanai provides the original four survivors with a freshly soaked brain-munching location. To accommodate these flooded surrounds, enjoyably nippy motorboats now form the main mode of transport.

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New hero John Morgan, a former military man turned chef who clearly learnt his killer culinary skills from Under Siege-era Steven Seagal, joins the cast. While COD syndrome has seeped into Riptide’s veins, with more emphasis on fortifying survivor strongholds. Yet the core problems from the first title (unimaginative missions, shoddy looks and terrible pacing) still blight this action RPG.

Dead Island Riptide screensAt least the aforementioned fortification proves worthwhile. Riptide’s new defence hubs task players with boarding up camps while you and the rest of the island’s horribly unlucky holidaymakers stave off waves of frontal lobe-feasters.

Like Call Of Duty’s zombies mode, blocking off potential entry points is the name of this immortal, cursed game. Wire mesh, mounted turrets and remote mines all need to be carefully set up to prevent your encampment from being overrun. Judging when to rebuild defences during hectic undead incursions is key, adding a layer of tactical thought that was rarely needed in the original.

You’ll spend the majority of your
 acting like a cross between
Bruce Campbell 
and Philip J. Fry. Go
here, fetch 
that, take item A to marker B

Too bad the missions which don’t involve channelling your inner survivalist Handy Andy (and that’d be most of ‘em) are an almighty trudge through disappointing waters. You’ll spend the majority of your time in the swamps of Palanai acting like a cross between Bruce Campbell and Philip J. Fry. Go here, fetch that, take boring item A to dreary objective marker B; being an Evil Dead delivery boy ain’t exactly a hoot. Oh, you want me to take a time-out from the zombie apocalypse to find a book, Sally ‘the end of the world clearly isn’t diverting enough for me’ Survivor? Recover you’re partially eaten copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey yourself, bossy.