Dayz – the first real survival game?

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.

Dayz reviews

(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.

14 responses to “Dayz – the first real survival game?”

  1. Julio Cheda says:

    Hello Selco,

    I’ve been playing this game for two months and it just gets better. There have been crazy moments where i could feel a lot of fear, even being a game. I had one character with more than 30 hours of in game playing… walking inside a forest in the middle of nowhere i got a shot in the head and thats it, i was dead. Lost all the itens that i had and had no idea of who killed me!

    Even that zombies are something that we usually dont tolerate, they make the game more harder and interesting. I saw that ARMA 3 is going to be released and this mod will have a dedicated part on the game, since he is the reason of a 80% up on the sales.

    Thanks for the review.

    • Selco says:

      I appreciate this part of game but do not think they will release something like this for everyone. I do not have time these days to play more anyway.

    • derekiv says:

      Day z will be a stand alone game, not an extension of ARMA III. However, it will use ARMA III’s engine.

  2. Aussie Mick says:

    Sounds like fun…but time is far too valuable to waste..I invest all my time scavenging…the best time for acquiring ‘things’ is before SHTF. Give you an example…picked up a 5000L water tank, with pump and two 4m x 3m alum. garden all fittings etc …$250. The ‘sheeple’ have their heads so far up their arse..watching TV..drinking diet coke and diet pepsi…you can pick up most things that you need..or may need…for pennies on the dollar. Bought 3 x 14 kg buckets of organic honey for $180….bee keeper why so much honey? I told him…prepping etc…he is giving me two bee hives for free…and teaching me how to ‘rob’. Watch for auctions..businesses going broke…people moving….garage sales…this is “scavenging heaven”…get in for your chop before the masses wake up…happy hunting…Aussie Mick

    • Selco says:

      I agree. This is just something for entertainment. Instead of watching a movie one can play this game to relax (or be under stress).

  3. Boris_The_Bullet_Dodger says:

    Hello there. I’ve been playing this game for several months and this was the development of player’s mind-sets. At first when the game just appeared most of them were extra-friendly and bandits were like a ban of the earth. Then when more people came in and it became a shooter-type of game. Everyone were just shooting and rarely talking. When I got the hang of it I went through the same phase: from extra friendly to extra-hostile.
    Now as a “veteran” of the game you can survive there really easily: get a knife, hatchet, matches and a water bottle and live in the woods and AVOID ANY HUMAN CONTACT (I mean all of it).
    Finding friends became the new challenge and goal for me: so mostly I just run around there looking for “friends” who will not shoot me in the head after I offer my help and give them a weapon.
    But as a survival simulator it has taught me 1 simple thing: when it comes to real life – don’t trust people you don’t know and only surround yourself with trust-worthy friends who have been with you for all your life.

  4. alc says:

    With the economy so blah it’s possible to pick up all kinds of great things. Lots of tools and shit.

  5. Sideburns says:

    The best part about the game is the constant stress it puts you in when you are around other players or zombies. Its hard to get that kind of feeling in a simulation.

    Its also nice that you can’t carry a ton of stuff. Makes you weight your options.

  6. Sounds like you should be forced to play the game for an undefined period of time lasting days with no sleep, constant hunger and periodic periods of terror… betting everything in your bank account on your survival in order to make it a little more realistic!
    Just visited Alaska and toured a friends on/off grid homestead; paid for, stocked, operational in good times and bad, room for fellow prepared families, getting more prepared every day. It was SWEET!

  7. Tim says:

    I always thought that Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas did a really good job on a survival post apocalyptic game. They each have their pros and cons but if I had to choose one it would be Fallout 3. I think the AI and plot are better than Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 3 does not run on Windows 7 though. The difference is the Fallout series is not an MMO. That means you can quick save, put the game down, and actually get some sleep.

  8. Tony says:

    Late to the party, but oh well.

    Selco, the experience changes dramatically depending on how ‘full’ the server is. A server with a high population has you always moving very,very carefully, and leaves most of the ‘piles’ you run accross already picked over.

    I’ve played for hours where all I could find was empty cans.

    It also helps to get people you know to play the game as well, so you have a group to work with.

    Whenever I play I generally try to get 4 or 5 of my buddies on a near full server, it’s a very engaging experience for a prepper.

  9. Talon says:

    I was playing this one day and got attacked by a HELICOPTER! I was racing down a long highway in the middle of the night, a forest on my left, a cliff on my right. I was chased by this chopper with a search light for about 15 minutes before I finally came to a dead end, hit the brake, and got out of the car. He threatened to kill me (I had been playing that character for at least 20 days), so I got into the chopper, he took me back to base, and killed me there where all his friends could take the loot. The only thing I thought was: “I officially hate everyone on this game.”

  10. nunurfuckinbiznes says:

    Day z was a great experience, i found it a year or two ago. I love the buzz i get from playing it.

    Selco, here is what this game taught me.

    1. people are only friendly if your the one shooting at them first (warning shots). in which case, they often either run, (which means i unload a clip at them and KOS), or, if they go to ground and its possible to control them via verbal commands or a superior position. then… we talk… even then tho, its always tense. because you dont know if they are using a second program to communicate your position to a nearby ally.

    2. trust no one… not even the members of your own team/group/squad. After infiltrating a powerful group of players and becoming one of them after an intense night time fire fight at NW airfield. (me vrs 3 guys and a 2 man team helicopter trying to use a spot light), i became a squad leader to 4 guys in the group (over few weeks after). Either the leadership of the group was threatened by me taking over a small part of the larger group, or he was crazy… but after communicating our position and coarse to avoid friendly fire from any guild members, we where ambushed twice, first one we win,and the second time suffered 3 KIA from ghillie snipers at a stash location when we get into our car. I later learned that the leadership had set us up to “see what would happen”. Suffice to say my face caught the first bullet in that second skirmish.

    i wouldnt have thought anything of it, just that a 2 man group found a stash and sat on it waiting for us. however, later that week, a repeat of events occured. the group seperated after learning about this betrayal, but the most surprising part was finding out that even people betrayed by there leader shooting at him, will continue to follow that leader.

    i wanted revenge, especially because i felt so responsible for my men being ambushed…

    a side lesson, would be not to allow paranoia to take over, so that you dont “see spys everywhere”

    none the less… betrayal is a well written historical fact… sons kill fathers, brothers kill brothers, sisters kill sisters, mothers kill daughters. Rage, envy, jealousy, lunacy, psycopaths… there are so many reasons to watch people in your group…

    robert greens 48 laws of power, is a definet recomendation if you want to learn how to spot people like that. and i only share that with you because you have shared so much information with me, and helped me shake my dad awake… he is still to much of a hippy i think to accept what people are underneath. so i have to be the responsible one if SHTF.

    3rd thing day z taught me. which kinda ties into the second… people aim for the leaders first… they aim for men first in SHTF… this is why women do house chores and child rear… men traditionally live short sacrificial lives protecting there women from rape and there children… men are made for competing with other men, and men compete by beating the shit out of each other, going to war physically, financially, or politically (lying).

    not saying women are lesser… just pointing out that men even in todays society are regarded as less valuable or special than women… anyone who doesnt believe me, go to your shopping mall, and watch shoppers cross the street, people always stop for women… very rarely for men…

    also… in shtf women would be regarded as resources by bad men… no sense shooting a vagina when you can pimp it out, or keep your men amused with it…

    i have had much falling out with my family over prepping, but the words that shocked me the most was hearing my brother proclaim that if SHTF he would straight up pimp women out… he hates women because he has been cheated on. I believe he would… suffice to say, he no longer knows where i keep food…

    ill check the msg board later for a reply. my email and name are obvious dead ends. reason being… everything is recorded…

    but i wanted to say thank you for doing what your doing… and take number 3 as a warning.

    your a leader.

    take care.

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