You stand alone in an open field, wind blowing through your hair and a worry in your brain. Your friends and family either dead or turned, and it’s up to you to battle the landscapes of Chernarus, your new home, to scavenge food and supplies, avoid the zombie hordes thirsting for your blood, try to find other survivors and above all else, survive. Welcome to the zombie apocalypse, welcome to DayZ: Standalone Edition.
DayZ: Standalone was the brainchild of Bohemia Interactive in 2013 and was released as an Early Access Alpha. Being released as an Early Access gave Bohemia Interactive the opportunity to get players hyped about this open world on-line monster by playing it as an unfinished title and the development team could then use any data collected from the players to improve the gaming experience. Bohemia Interactive and Dean Hall created the DayZ mod for Arma 2 on PC, which was a huge success and still holds a solid 9/10 on Steam but given that DayZ: Standalone was an unfinished game it didn’t quite get the standing ovation expected of the name.
DayZ is a world full of wonders and well-designed scenery, as you traverse the vast open world of Chernarus you realise that graphically the world is amazing. The sun is bright and has amazing beams of light to guide your daytime run and the moon leaves just enough light to make your nighttime scavenging realistic and challenging. The rapid and smooth change in the weather is both pleasant and again incredibly realistic. All textures are well designed and flawlessly fitted to the objects. However, the thumbnail images for items in your pack aren’t really well designed and the font used to describe the item isn’t always easily visible at times. Over-all it made for quite a visually pleasing gaming experience.
The combat system is fairly realistic but it was lacking in some respects, while you have a giant range of melee weapons from a generic steak knife, to hockey sticks and fire axes, there was only one attack animation for one-handed weapons and another for two-handed weapons. While this did suffice while in the fray of battle with the undying hordes of Chernarus once you got used to the fighting you started to focus on what was actually happening with the fighting and it all seems very basic. Firearms are also a huge part of the combat system and you can have anything ranging from a Glock style pistol up to an armour piercing sniper rifle. This is the part that brings the most joy, some firearms are able to be modified with scopes, lights, tripods and some even have interchangeable buttstocks and handguards. If you’re lucky enough to find the right materials you can also paint some weapons and even wrap your sniper rifle in the stealthy “ghillie wrap”. The great news is, if you feel like you want to go man or woman to zombie, there is still an option to put up them dukes and get into a good ole’ fashioned fist fight and see how you stand up against those pesky plagued monsters.
DayZ is designed to be a full-blooded survival horror, with no stone left unturned and no detail skipped. There are vehicles in the open world already with spawn points all over the map, even a people-carrying V3S truck. They’ve thought of everything with the vehicles, they are quite good to drive and easily controlled, but then there is the fun part of blowing tyres, needing to replace batteries and even having to replace those headlights when you don’t give way to that zombie crossing the road. People carrying V3S variations have been brought into the game and while they are slower and weigh more, you can carry up to 8 passengers, plus you and one survivor who can ride shotgun.
As you traverse the amazing open world either by vehicle or on foot, you’ll need to keep an eye on your health. Hunger and hydration come into play in this game and you’ll need to scavenge for food and water regularly. However, there are water points around the map and cans of baked beans and tactical bacon, or if you’re more interested in hunting you can take that sniper rifle and go chasing cows, rabbits and some deer. You can try your hand at fishing if you want to craft a fishing rod for yourself or even a small improvised fishing trap.
However, given that the game is still incomplete, there are a lot of glitches and errors. You may be hiding inside a building so as not to upset the hordes of undead, one may yet just wander through a wall, or glitch through a door to come in and give you a friendly hello. A lot of the time if you hit a zombie with a vehicle, they get stuck inside the vehicle and make some horrible noises as you motor along. While this is seriously amusing early in the game, after you’re more seasoned in the ways of Chernarus, it gets very annoying very quickly.
DayZ: Standalone was a bit up in the air while it had a heap of fun things to do, the survival game had just way too much running around getting from point to point, and left the player wondering why they are actually doing anything in this game to start with. Depending on the server population the game can be quite fast-paced, but most of the time logging onto a high population server with no gear will just get you shot by Bandits. You’ve gotta give credit to Bohemia Interactive for the effort put into the game, and one day it may add up to a game better than the Arma 2 Mod, but for now, it’s just not worth the price listed on Steam. If they could give the game some direction and actually find some more objectives for players to secure during their playtime it would have a good amount of content for the price. At present, with the content supplied, you might be better off waiting for a Beta release.
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