DayZ Review (PC)

Is the Arma II mod really worth all the hype? For those of you who have been on the edge or just hearing about the infamous DayZ mod for the realistic shooter Arma II, you’ll want to check out this in depth review!

DayZ Review by: NightOfTheLiving8Bit Platform: PC Only

It’s around 3 in the morning; I’m dehydrated, suffering a cold from today’s rainstorm because I couldn’t find proper shelter earlier in the night, and worst off…I have only two bullets left for my bolt action rifle.  I leave the comforts of the mountains next to my small fire that I made to help keep me warm from the cool night. I quickly realize that I have no compass on me, so I quickly check the sky to see if I can properly identify the Northern Star…no luck because tonight is a cloudy night and near impossible to see any stars.  I turn on my flashlight only to realize that I only have a few more minutes of battery life, so I rush to the edge of the mountain in attempt to find some small town or structure to find something to drink, and a new flashlight.

Quickly I run down the mountain side; always cautious to the lingering possibility that a cross-hair  could be aimed directly at my fragile skull, as I’ve learned that it’s not the zombies you should worry about so much, but the actual real players that roam the massive lands of Russia.  I also know that they’ll need some kind of night vision to catch a glimpse of me throughout the dark night.  So I move a little quicker than cautiously.  All of a sudden my flashlight looses power, just as I reach the edge of a quiet abandoned town. It’s so dark that I cannot see more than a foot or two in front of me.  I light a flare and toss it into the middle of the town to help faintly illuminate the surrounding area in a warm glow of soothing but eerie red. I know that this is a dangerous move as anyone within a mile away will be able to see that light and if they’re not a friendly, they’re certainly a foe.  They would love nothing more than to kill me and end my hours of survival that I have endured, and then loot my now dead corpse for whatever items they see fit.

But this time it’s not the players I need to worry about.  Instead it’s the lingering noises of the walking dead crawling, walking and slumping near me. They feel like they’re everywhere but they could be anywhere, and it’s impossible to tell because of the grim darkness.  I know they’re there, but I also know that the dark night helps protect me from the blood thirsty undead, so I quickly find a building that I can hop inside of.

I find a stash of assorted items; can of soda, couple rounds of ammo and a bigger backpack to store all of my new finds along with a can of beans to help subside my hunger. I take a moment to organize my new found belongings and I’m quickly alerted to the sound of a stick cracking in the distance and I know instantly that it’s one of three things…an animal, a zombie or a fellow player.

I quickly shout through my mic “friendly!” and silently listen for a response… The sound of the cool night winds are howling through the windows, and in a moment I notice that the sound of the undead that were once slowly moving around the house have gone silent. All of a sudden I hear a faint sound of footsteps in the distance. I quickly shout “friendly”, and once again and with no reply.  I dash out the door only to be greated by a masked murder, a bandit…DayZ’s equivalent of “bad guys”, and I dash down the main road and run off into the sides where there are bushes and trees, hoping that the masked bandit will loose sight of me and give up on his man hunting party.                     “It’s dark, raining and you rarely know what await’s you in DayZ”

I quickly dash into a small shed and close the door behind me.  I can’t see a thing…it’s just pitch black and dead silent.  Suddenly I hear footsteps running to the shed, only to be replaced by the sound of a groaning zombie. I realized that while I was running I had alerted one undead on my way here and now, I’ve attracted far too much attention, and that my time may be outnumbered.  Suddenly I hear a voice come through the computer speakers “hello?”. I pause…turn on my new flashlight to see a non-bandit player hiding in the same shack as me, though hidden in complete darkness with only a faint outline proving his closeness.   I tell the fellow survivor my situation and he lends me some medicine for my cold, and kindly add’s some bandages and morphine to my bag to prove to me that he means no harm. We seek refuge for a brief moment and begin basic conversation, followed by me explaining that I was being chased by a bandit a moment ago. Out of no where what was once a kind and open conversation turns to silence…and in a moments notice; it all became clear.

This guy was clearly not on my side, and at that moment he pulled out a hatchet and quickly chopped my weak body into a lovely smear of blood on the floor. I knew he was now going to loot my worthless corpse, and before I could soak in that I was just set up. the Resident Evil throwback “YOU ARE DEAD” screen shows in front of me. All of those hours, items, struggle and careful planning were destroyed in a moments notice.      “An uncommon site in the world of DayZ, vehicles are like pure heaven in game”

Some of you may be intimidated by this borderline masochist behavior that you’re forced into submission by on a second by second basis in DayZ, but I must tell you my dear friends that this is the pure magic that is DayZ.

It’s not about grinding, story telling or even twitch finger reaction controls…it’s about the most raw instinct that everyone can relate to and that is…the human condition.  The human condition is that of survival, and in order to faithfully create the human condition you must combine the one major core element into a game; social interaction with no actual rules that apply.

When DayZ first launched there was no code of conduct created by players, and it was considered the true wild wild west with hoards of the flesh hungry undead. Over time a social impact started to affect the game, and suddenly there became three types of players:

  1. The lone wolf survivors who occasionally bump into players but avoid most human interaction in trade of simply getting by day to day.
  2. The bandits, normally these people travel in groups, raping, pillaging and destroying everything in their path. Their only goal is to ruin your life one kill at a time. They also tend to have the best weapons, due to their relentless drive to overpower  players, steal their loot and blaze through towns in a hail of bullet casings.
  3. Lastly, the “law”. You could say the “law” is almost a vigilante group of players who make it their goal to hunt down and kill every bandit in the server, no matter what the cost. They are the holders of peace and the saviors of crime, but in a sick way they behold a murderous streak that rivals the bandits in their countless need to overcome.

                                                   “HOLY SHIT, RUNNNNN!”

You’ll most likely meet lone wolf players in your journey through DayZ as well, with one of the other two from time to time.  But for the most it’ll be spent carefully moving from area to area, traversing through countless miles of roads, woods and mountains while always being more than paranoid to every little flash of light, foot step and bumping noise that does not match the landscape at hand.

It’s easy to sit here and tell you all of the great that is in DayZ, but at the same time it would be just as easy to explain how DayZ is not in fact a full and complete game. It is considered in it’s Alpha/Beta phase and requires the military simulation shooter Arma II with Operation Arrowhead to actually play.  The creators of DayZ have however been hard at work putting together a stand alone version for around the $30 price mark, which if you ask me…is a fantastic deal.

In addition to the countless digital miles filled with towns, radio towers, cabins, cities, factories, military bases and everything else in between…DayZ features an impressive array of weaponry and items to collect.  However don’t expect to jump into a game and be locked and loaded from day 1, because it does take time to find a weapon, and even if you do you’ll quickly learn that the crowbar and hatchet will be your best friend; and for two very good reasons. First being that a gun shot is of course loud. You’ll alert any zombies to your immediate presence, which will send a slew of screaming/running undead quickly towards your location, and before you know it you’ll go from one lone zombie to ten grizzly undead chasing you down, eagerly awaiting a quick munch on your delightful flesh. But not only will you now have an undead infestation, you’ll most likely alert any players in the area that someone is shooting nearby. A gunshot in DayZ is loud, very loud,and anyone near you will most certainly hear it with ease, and if it’s a bandit they’ll most likely assume that you might have some good loot for them to get their hands on.  It’s also likely that if you’re in a town shooting at an undead, that you’ll be in the valley type area leaving mountain tops around you for bandits to hunker down in and take a well skilled shot from the distance, quickly putting you out of your misery with ease.

              “A bandit camp, relaxing next to a fire….a moment of welcomed peace”

While it’s easy to write a horror fiction book from any one person’s experiences from DayZ, one thing is very clear to players off the bat. DayZ is NOT for casual gamers, and it is most certainly not for those who do not like an honest, gut wrenching and teeth sweating challenge.

However all is not lost as a full release of the popular mod is on it’s way, simply entitled The WarZ. Various improvements are being made over the original game (which may I remind is actually still in it’s Alpha stage!) and is being aimed at release in December of 2012 or first quarter 2013. The stand alone releases promises various fixes to the underground cult hit, including a more user friendly curve that fixes on the major issues in DayZ right now, including it’s pesky inventory system that requires a great deal of patience to learn, but is strangely intuitive at the same time.

Since this is a free mod to a $30 game I’ll save the issues that comes with a game being in it’s Alpha stage, and let it be known that DayZ does in fact have a lot of bugs. But to simply sit here and list out the bad in the game would not be doing it proper justice, as it’s almost on par with an odd social experiment that players need to experience for themselves to truly understand and enjoy what makes this game so special.                “An eerie site, an abandoned posts sitting on top of a mountain hill”

With all these factors in mind as well as the free price tag (unless you don’t own Arma II, which you should if you’re a FPS fan) it is truly impossible to give an unfinished game a proper score.  So with all current bugs that are within the game aside, DayZ provides stark contrast compared to what’s on the market today, or in the past, and I promise you it’s an experience unlike any other that you’ll have in awhile to come.

It’s strongly recommend that if you dare venture into this post-apocalyptic town that you do your research on the various help guides on the net, and understand that this game is not for the faint of heart, and does not forgive you for your mistakes. Death is permanent.  It wait’s at every corner, every footstep that you take and it’s this same “fight to survive” mentality that separates DayZ from the packin a million different ways.

So strap up, lock and load and plunge into the true world of survival horror. “When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”What do you think of DayZ?  Leave comment below, and join the new Gamester81 forums:

About Nightoftheliving8bit

Hailing from the mighty mighty east coast, Eric has spent the majority of his life being a passionate and devoted gamer. From the 80's all the way up to today, Eric has played countless games over the years for various systems, all the while never truly becoming the dreaded "fan boy" of a particular console. Eric currently works for a video game magazine and a local news station and spends the majority of his free hours gaming and reading/researching into various things on gaming culture, news, events and so much more. Eric is also known under his two names, NightOfTheLiving8Bit and ER1C OF WAR and you can find him creeping the dark and dank places of local flea markets in search for lost treasure or kicking back at home enjoying his favorite new or old school games, while always looking into new ways to help innovate the gaming community as a whole. If Gamester 81 was Yoda, Eric would be his Luke Skywalker when it comes to gaming knowledge and he looks forward to bringing you the best of the current world of gaming and generations past! Favorite Games: (No particular order) Final Fantasy III (US) & VII, Resident Evil, Kings Field, Assassins Creed Series, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Elder Scrolls Series, Fallout Series, Gears Of War Series, Metal Slug 2, Clock Tower (PSX), Halo Series, Super Mario Bros 3, Mega Man 2, Castlevania Series, Donkey Kong, Gran Turismo 2, DOOM, Startropics, Metal Gear Solid, Duke Nukem 3D, Diablo I & II, Quake, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, Crystalis, Ghost N Goblins, The Legend Of Zelda and various others titles! Favorite Systems: The Nintendo NES, Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, Xbox & Xbox 360, Super Nintendo, Virtual Boy, Neo Geo AES, PC gaming and the Atari 2600!