DayZ – Review
Follow Genre: Survival
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: PC

DayZ – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Unique survival gameplay, Scavenging and inventory management
Bad: Not optimized, Bad graphics, No story, Can get boring quickly
User Score
7.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

DayZ started its life as a mod for the realistic tactical shooter game Arma II. Because of the title’s high popularity, developer Dean Hall decided to create a standalone version with the help of the development team from Arma II, Bohemia Interactive. This game has seen ups and downs and while the opinions are divided among gamers, it is best to just experience the survival yourself.

Story

When starting the game, you won’t see a fancy intro nor any information on the loading screen and you just spawn somewhere randomly. After a few hours of exploration, you seem to be in a Soviet country and judging from the language, it might be Russia. Quick check on the Steam storefront reveals that the game is set in Chernarus (you might have figured this out if you can read Russian) and as you could have guessed, there is a zombie outbreak happening. The few survivors fight over the remaining resources and this makes for some interesting adventures. DayZ was always known as that game that brought up the evilest side in people, but this is not completely true. Perhaps it’s due to the drop in popularity that the streets are a bit safer but still each server may or may not be filled with malicious people. It’s a bit sad that you don’t have any story progression or background info as there aren’t relics or notes to be found. Does this influence gameplay? Well, you don’t have time to read a book when you are being chased by a horde anyway.

Graphics

Graphics have never been the strong suit of this game. With the title not really that optimized, many players with strong rigs will see a great drop in frames. Some tweaking or just playing the game on a lower setting will improve stability but at the cost of beauty. If you run a high-end rig and get to play on high graphics, it is noticeable that the game still doesn’t look all too great. In its defense, it is a large map with many things that need to be rendered and without loading screens for transitions there must be some compensation in place. Hence, you buy DayZ for the gameplay, not for the looks.

There are some good sides to the game as well, as there is a decent range of gear to choose from, with many items having different colors or decals. This will allow the player to have some personalized outfits or if you don’t give a damn, you could go for the typical “I’m just gearing up to survive, scavenger” look.

Sound

Playing DayZ is more of a silent happening than a full out action shooter. This means that walking the vast empty streets of Chernarus will only be accompanied by the sounds of your footsteps and the reaction of your character (panting, hurting, etc…). Sound can be your friend but also your enemy; sneaking up on unsuspecting zombies can allow some swift takedowns, whereas firing a gun will attract each and every creature in the near vicinity. It is nice how realistically mobs react to these sounds and they will sometimes moan or growl to share their presence. After all, there is nothing that is as scary as walking in the dark, hearing nothing and suddenly having a zombie scream, starting to maul your face off.

Gameplay

DayZ is an open world survival game in which you must gather resources and weapons to fight off the undead, make friends or enemies with random survivors and live to tell the tale. The game starts with creating a character, which will be the base of how the story starts. You get dropped into a random location with nothing on you, so you’d better start scavenging. The main intent of DayZ is to test how long you can survive the virus-infested Soviet countryside, maintaining yourself by keeping five status bars in the green. Water and food will be replenished by eating, which will contribute to the blood and health stat. If you get hurt and lose blood, the best way to replenish the loss is with human metabolism. In case of a serious injury, you can revert to medical supplies, but some pre-knowledge is needed. In DayZ you must do everything manually, from opening cans to emptying boxes, each action needs to be done by hand. This adds realism and immersion by slowing down many processes while not making them annoying because it’s done with only with a simple mouse click.

Searching deserted vehicles and buildings will yield many items that will help you survive, from canned foods and weapons to items that will heal or contribute to the camp. Your inventory is limited by your clothing, some clothes will keep you warm and others will keep you cool. Each item has a certain number of slots available to put items in, so it’s best to check them out. It might not be very stylish but if you are a hoarder, having a high capacity outfit is recommended. Finding a backpack is essential early on but the added weight of a full rucksack will require more stamina to move and running will make your character fatigue earlier. Some people prefer to travel light while others want to be prepared for everything. Keep in mind that the streets are pitch black at night and you will need a light source to see. Using a flashlight is great but will require batteries, while flares are easy to come by but can lure unwanted company.

Interaction with the open world yields two possible outcomes, either you will come across zombies that want to tear you apart, or you meet fellow survivors. These players can be friendly or hostile, depending on how they are playing. As DayZ is online only, you can have server-side problems with lag or stuttering. In the past it was known that geared players could abuse many weak survivors and while on our adventures we were with a strong team, most players kept to themselves or joined the cause after some gifts. Meeting a stranger and mowing down a horde of zombies is fun at first but gets sad really fast when your comrade dies from his wounds. DayZ isn’t forgiving and will have you stay on edge all the time.

Controlling the game might seem complicated at first but everything points itself out after some playing. Don’t get upset if you die a few times in the beginning but remember that permadeath is in effect, so your character won’t come back and all items are lost. Pack some food, meds, grab a gun, a strong blunt weapon and get ready to survive the apocalypse. Sadly, due to the lack of story or a red wire throughout the game, it stays as interesting as long as you can enjoy yourself. Some will get bored very fast while others will find the fun in walking all day and pillaging all villages. There is an option to build small camps, plant vegetables and drive cars, but this will cost some serious dedication and requires a well-oiled team.

Conclusion

DayZ is an interesting project by the hands of Bohemia Interactive that has some serious potential. With the mixed user reviews of the game, it’s best to dive in with a neutral mindset to see what the game has to offer. At first, the game ran very poorly, which was fixed by selecting a server with a low ping and tweaking the graphics. This immediately showed the bad optimization of the game. Initial gameplay wasn’t that convincing but after a few hours, the game kept dragging us back in. Day and night cycles are great with nights really being dark, so a light source is needed at all times. Gameplay is interesting, but the lack of story will have players tapping out the fight quite early on. It can be fun for a while alone, with friends even better, but the most fun is with a random stranger that can put a bullet in your head when you are not watching your back.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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DayZ – Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Vigor – Review
    September 20, 2019, 12:01 am

    […] the game has been made by Bohemian Interactive (the same lovely developers from the Arma series and DayZ that we recently reviewed), it immediately feels a bit strange that the movement of characters is so […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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