This week I spent some time playing what some people call the first real survival game on PC. Here is my short review of the game and what I like and what not. I’m not much into playing games but this game looked promising.
In this game, called Dayz, which is just extension of another game called Arma II: Combined Operations you have no goal but survive.
You start the game on a big map of 225 square kilometers with nothing, besides some basic bandages. No weapons or anything like that. The game is hard and more or less realistic. When you die you lose everything you collected.
Bad situation. To make things worse there are zombies at each settlement. So if you want to get anything and scavenge place you have to sneak past those zombies. Don’t stop reading now because you hear zombie. It could have been also gangs or anything else to make things a bit harder.
Scavenging / gathering resources
Scavenging is pretty much what you do all the time. The game does not have real goal, just get enough resources to survive. Because you keep running out of food, drinks and other things you are under survival stress all the time. I think this and interaction with other players is most interesting part of game.
You can live off land but before you kill wild pigs, make fire and eat their meat you need hunting knife for butchering them, axe to cut wood and matches to light fire. So first thing you do is to sneak into places and take whatever you can. You can not carry that much so you have to pick wisely.
What I like about this part of game:
- That it is biggest part of game and it is biggest part of survival too
- That you often do not find what you look for which increases stress
- Finding small things like matches make a difference
- The relief when you find for example something to drink when you almost die of thirst
- Some places, like hospitals, are very few and create more than usual dangerous areas which is realistic too. Places with resources are highest risk
What I dislike about scavenging part of game:
- That it takes no work to get stuff. In reality you have to sometimes spend time on getting things from pile of trash
- That there is no way to hide something. You can set up tent with some things in it but it is so easy to see that others find your things and take them most of the time. During war when I could not take something useful I often hide it to come back another night.
- You can not enter many buildings. Would be nice to have option to kick in doors.
Interaction with other players
This makes big difference and game much more interesting. Other people play in the same world and also hunt and fight for survival. You can team up with them or, like more often someone will just try to kill you and take what you have.
When I heard about this part of game I got interested. If you play it you get a bit of feeling of why shoot first ask question later also was normal during war. If you meet someone you are very careful and if in doubt it is better if you are first person who shoots.
If you do not have any weapon you are just prey for others. You have to hide and sneak and stay hidden until you at least find some weapon.
What I like about this part of game:
- If you die, you lose everything you collected. If you have much good stuff, you fight harder to survive. I had AK47 and some other good stuff and broke my leg because I jump from ladder. I did not want to give up and crawled to hospital in next town. That took me half hour.
- You can save friendly players and give them first aid. Teamwork against others helps a lot as well.
- It might help people to understand how you think when you have to trust someone else with your life. If in doubt you want to be the one shooting first…
What I dislike about this part of game:
- You can not fight without weapon. In reality there were many fist fights for things because people did not want to kill others.
- Many players do not talk they just shoot.
So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past. Movies are usually “romantic survival”… lone man on the road fights and wins against everything.
How to play Dayz?
You need Arma II: Combined Operations for $29.99 to play the game. Then you download the Dayz Mod for free and install and play. It is a bit tricky but you can find detailed instructions how to install Dayz here.
(ignore hysteric screaming)
To get an idea how the game is after you have found some gear have a look at this:
If you play the game let me know what you think about it in comments. I’m happy that this is at least fair try to make realistic survival game. It can be very frustrating but that is how survival can be.