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Dead Island - Definitive Edition / 13th of June 2016

With Dying Light now well and truly entrenched in my top ten games of all time, I’ve been fantasising about The Following since I first heard about it; buggies, a huge new map and the appearance of bizarre cults, it sounded too good to be true. I’d have sold the world to get it, I’d have started a war to get it, a war that nobody wanted, just to own The Following, but then I ain’t Tony Blair, I don’t love George W’s rusty sheriff and I certainly didn’t finger bang Rupert Murdoch’s wife. So did I have to do to get it? Nothing, as it turns out. I imagine that you’ll be as pleased as I was to discover that The Following is free to existing season pass holders, and even if you don’t own it, the season pass is only priced at a mere £23.99 anyway. Bargain!

The Following DLC is massive; the map is simply gargantuan and every time you go out into it you find even more areas to explore, and additional stuff to find, with the same great game play that I would obviously expect from Dying Light. To be able to change from a busy rundown urban environment filled with obstacles to a huge open rural world with vehicles, you’d expect there to be many things that are just ok, but The Following is a solid enjoyable and quality release that ticks all the right boxes, Techland has really raised the bar with this DLC, it could easily be of been a standalone title and it would still have been great value for money. And as if that wasn’t enough, Techland have also stated that Dying Light will also be the recipient of a further 12 months’ worth of support and additional content, which is rather refreshing and bucks the trend of late.
The Following is excellent; the buggy puts many driving games to shame, feeling exceptionally fast, you always feel like you’re going flat out and just managing to keep it under control, it’s the closest I’ve felt to driving a real ATV in a game - it handles well and every journey feels just as exciting and reckless as the last. There are numerous buggy parts that are upgradable, you gain skill points for driving too and you can unlock weapons, improved damage resistance, upgraded turbo’s, UV Lamps etc. I find myself turning into deviant like the toecutter from Mad Max or Leatherface on acid as I’ll just veer hard left or right and smash through a fence and start doing doughnuts in huge fields smashing into zombies as I grin from ear to ear. Even more amusing is smashing into a wall with a volatile attached attacking you through the buggy cage, only to watch the freak get flung far into the distance as you come to a complete halt.

The new environment is incredible, it looks superb and I find myself looking forward to sun set or sunrise as I’ve seen so many stunning morning and evening landscapes. I find the quality of the rural environment to be very realistic and immersive. The map, as I said, is pretty big and packed full of zombies and some of them are really tough, especially at night, even in the buggy. Dying Light is one of the only games that actually stresses me out, as I check my watch to find that I’ve only got six minutes till night hits, I find myself panicking as I try to reroute to the nearest safe house. The DLC is packed with quests, random survivor encounters and plenty of areas to clear out, The Following has the same attention grabbing gameplay as Dying Light and is one of the few releases that I play through that engages me enough to make me want complete every side mission. I actually love how the game punishes you if you start getting too cocky and think that the zombies are no longer a threat, much like the team’s Dead Island did before it.
There are equally a vast number of weapons for each weapon class, and as the weapons become ever more powerful so does the need to add upgrades to the weapons become altogether more important. I had a fast little sickle that I’d added mods and upgrades too which just removed any zombies heads with a single swing, but as with all of Techland’s zombie slaying efforts, I can never get to comfortable with a certain weapon as after my third, fourth or even fifth repairs have been carried out, it’s literally just fit for scrapping. But then it’s really just another way in which the game keeps its players on their toes, and personally, I enjoy that. I’m already looking forward to whatever new content Techland have planned, and I really hope that we get a good amount of new quests, hopefully spread across all 3 environments, some ridiculous new weapons or mod blueprints, boss zombies or maybe some more buggy mods or upgrades.

As I played Dying Light I kept on thinking about how amazing it would be if Dead Island had been released using the game’s more powerful engine and I couldn’t believe my luck when James informed me that both Dead Island and Riptide are getting re-released at the end of March. I’m hoping that some of the improved mechanics, improvements in game play and structure have been injected into these as well as the graphical improvements and other tweaks. I’ve had my heart broken so many times when I’d get sucked into the whole HD Remaster/HD Collection scam where your excitement turns to anger when can’t see any real improvements in the game, the textures still look like crap and you feel totally ripped off. I won’t name any particular games, but I know that every serious gamer will likely have a plethora of titles that they’ve rebought only to find they’ve been ripped off. Again. Anyway, I digress…
If you enjoyed Dying Light then you need to get The Following, trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, if you haven’t played the original game, you should, it’s been created for proper zombie gaming fans, and for those few out there who didn’t like Dying Light, well, I honestly don’t know what to say to you. I’ll be reviewing the re-release of Dead Island and Riptide in due course, so I’ll try to contain my undead smashing fervour till then.  
James Paton
 
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