DayZ

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Let's Play A Game
Tags: , , , , ,

DayZ is a mod for the PC game ArmA 2. Designed by Dean Hall, it’s been around for a few months and has become something of a cult hit among PC gamers. Essentially, DayZ is a zombie survival game with a twist – there’s no storyline, no cut-scenes, no missions or quests, no achievements – no set structure at all. In that sense, its the closest you can get to a true Zombie Apocalypse (and frankly, as close as I want to get).

The only goal is to scavenge and survive. Oh, and did I mention that death is permanent? The perma-death aspect of DayZ is perhaps the most compelling. Unlike most FPS games where you save and respawn with all your gear if you die, in DayZ, once you’re gone, you’re GONE. You can respawn as a new character with sparse equipment, but if you’ve built up a decent gun collection and put a good amount of time in, death can be devastating.

Another aspect of DayZ is that after playing for awhile, it becomes apparent that zombies are not your greatest threat – at least they are nowhere near as terrifying as other players. Anyone new to the game will probably find out fairly quickly that running up to people thinking you’ve found a friend is the quickest way to get yourself shot and killed.

What meeting new friends looks like in DayZ.  image credit: dayzgame.com.au

And even if you find a friendly, before too long you either lose them, they abandon you, or in the worst case scenarios, they betray you and take your hard-earned hatchet and beans. It’s this wild-west Player vs Player (PvP) environment that’s given DayZ its notoriety. The whole experience is less about surviving a zombie apocalypse, and more about surviving a world in which traditional structure has broken down or become non-existent. It’s truly every man for himself.

In all honesty, I cannot say enough good things about this game. And for every bad thing I could say – for example that it’s clunky, glitchy, and the using the inventory system is like trying to assemble Ikea furniture with a marshmallow (which is forgivable considering the game is still in alpha, and it’s a mod) – for every one of these complaints, the game offers something greater to compensate. And last night, it was a story of redemption.

I’d invited some non-PC gaming friends around to check out DayZ, as i’d been going on about the game for months. They’d already seen some gameplay videos on Youtube, so they had an idea of what to expect – i.e. me crawling through the grass for an hour trying to find a can of beans and an empty bottle. In the interests of entertaining viewing, I decided to just run along the shoreline hatcheting any Zed (that’s zombies, for the uninitiated) that got close. This was on a Veteran server, so i’m amazed I actually survived for more than an hour without getting sniped.

Hiding in a bush… pretty much my entire DayZ exerience. image credit: www.mmogames.com

After a particularly dire run-in, I was tired, hungry, thirsty and losing blood. And then this MYSTERY MAN appears from the bushes pointing a gun at me.

He yells over comms “STAND UP OR I’LL SHOOT”. My friends were freaking out. I had no mic, and was a little too drunk for chat. I fumbled open the text box with “/” and typed “NO MIKC” (sic) “I’M A NOOB DON’T SHOOT PLZ”. He crouches down, and says “Here, take this gun”, and promptly disappears into the wilderness. My friends and I could not believe it. By the time i’d found and equipped the gun, mystery man was long gone… but the legend will forever live on in our DayZ memories.

4 stars

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.

* * *

My favourite youtube video for introducing people to DayZ:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isjtzE2iUA

Related Links:

Official DayZ Mod Website: http://dayzmod.com/

DayZ Installation Wiki: http://www.dayzwiki.com/wiki/How_to_install_DayZ

Good Game Review (VIDEO): http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s3518736.htm

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