Dead Island: Riptide

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Dead Island Riptide review

Dead Island Riptide review

Ripple whammy.

You know what kills you in a zombie apocalypse? We all like to imagine it's the blaze of glory at the end of a hard day's survival - gravely wounded, sacrificing ourselves to trigger the explosion that lets our friends live to fight another day. But Dead Island Riptide holds the truth. The thing that gets you killed in a zombie apocalypse isn't holding them off while someone you love sprints for the chopper - it's losing your footing on a walkway or rooftop, or getting slashed to death while you're doing a three-point turn in a boat. When it comes to the end of the world, it's the boring stuff that really kills you.

That wasn't always the case with Dead Island, though. Techland's first stab at an open-world survival RPG - where players joined with friends or fought alone through a holiday island overrun by zombies - was light on smarts and heavy on smacking things with a modified shovel, but its biggest problem was the bugs and glitches that killed your enthusiasm more effectively than the undead. The developers belatedly patched in some dignity, and sales were tremendous thanks to canny marketing, but a lot of us felt burned by the experience.

So, first things first, then: Dead Island Riptide is a much more polished game. I've experienced a few glitches - sometimes the game switches from blues skies to dark clouds and pouring rain in a split second, and occasionally your zombie enemies exhibit behaviour for which 'brain dead' feels like an unsuitably mild label - but the worst thing that's happened is that I once had to quit the game because of a sudden, inexplicable performance drop. Restarting it at a generous automatic checkpoint solved the problem. The horror stories of missing triggers for story events and calamitous glitching and clipping seem to be things of the past.

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Dead Island's whopping five million sales proves new IP can succeed at the end of a console lifecycle, publisher says

Dead Island has sold over five million copies, Koch Media has announced.

That's global sales of the retail and digital versions since the game launched in September 2011. Koch, parent company of Dead Island publisher Deep Silver, said the zombie kill 'em up still enjoys strong sales today.

Koch boss Klemens Kundratitz gushed: "While others focus on ever-increasing development budgets and driving brand messages via ballooning marketing expenditures, Deep Silver stands for hitting the zeitgeist, innovation and fresh gameplay.

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Dead Island Riptide shows off first gameplay

Dead Island Riptide shows off first gameplay

Defend a hub against zombies, mow them over in a boat.

A nine-minute video of Dead Island Riptide debuts the first gameplay footage of Deep Silver's upcoming zombie sequel.

The IGN video below demonstrates a hub-defense mission, a new feature in Riptide. We see the player scavenge a downed helicopter for machine gun turrets, which they then bring back to their base to defend against incoming waves of the undead. Unfortunately, the footage suggests that you'll only be able to place turrets in prescribed places, which seems a bit limiting, but at least you can place mines wherever you like. You can also run round and seal up entryways with chain link fences that will temporarily keep zombies away, while you can still shoot through them.

Also new to this sequel are boats, your only means of travel to some parts of the island following a monsoon. The boats can be boarded by multiple people at once, so one player can man the motor, while another a turret.

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Dead Island Riptide preview: Undead again

Dead Island Riptide preview: Undead again

Techland's follow-up sets its sights low, but that shouldn't stop it from being another success.

Dead Island wasn't a masterpiece. It wasn't technically assured, it wasn't particularly well produced and it certainly wasn't that smart. At one infamous point before the game's release, it wasn't even sure what exactly it was.

"It was a shock when the marketing guys came in and said here's the trailer, come and look at it," producer Sebastian Reichart says of the CG short that would propel Dead Island into the headlines. "And I was confused. That thing makes me sad. They said yeah, it's awesome. But I don't know: do people who want to play zombie games want to feel sad after seeing our trailer? They said yep - and that's the reason I'm not working in marketing, I guess. We released it, and then overnight it was like, 'Dead Island. You have to know it.'"

Get to know it people did, although if there's one label you can slap on the game, it's divisive. Some found its lo-fi, glitchy combat and edges rougher than a rotting zombie's skin off-putting. Critically, it got a lukewarm response and Reichart admits to having had the broad, generous smile he's been wearing all day wiped off.

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Open-world first-person zombie survival sequel Dead Island: Riptide has been dated for 26th April in Europe on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, publisher Deep Silver has announced.

Dead Island Riptide announced

Dead Island Riptide announced

For consoles and PC.

Techland has announced Dead Island Riptide, the sequel to last year's divisive zombie kill 'em up.

Riptide is in development for consoles and PC by Techland, an update on the Dead Island Facebook page confirmed. More information will be revealed later this summer.

"Braaaaaiins! More braaaaaaaaaaiiiins!" the Facebook post begins.

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