Editor’s Note : Here I am, Invading other peoples’ content again like a numpty. Back on track though and here’s a hello to our newest writer ‘Rob Bonnell’, who’s kicking things off for our big weekend of reviews with an in-depth look at DayZ.

“Ever wondered how you would survive in a zombie apocalypse…….?”

Written by Rob Bonnell

Dayz is a massively multi-player online zombie survival simulator, created by Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall. Since its release it has sold more than 2 million copies in under 6 months…..It’s still only in early access alpha! The standalone resembles much of the Arma 2: Dayz mod’s that were also created by ‘Rocket’, but strives to be better than it’s predecessor.

Although Dayz is still in it’s early stage of development, the developers and Bohemia Interactive have made some big changes to the game. In the mod the zombies ability to track and keep up with you (path finding) was much to be desired, in the standalone though the zombies animations and path finding has been drastically improved and they even put in new character models just to spice things up, they are still improving and working to make the zombies a formidable foe so running from zombies will be harder than ever.

The inventory system is majorly different from that of the mods, while in the mod they utilised Arma 2’s inventory system, Dayz now uses a similar drag and drop system that Bohemia developed for Arma 3. Along with that they also changed the lighting engine and introduced weather in a recent update. This has helped to improve the realism of the game compared to its earlier release where it was bright sunny days and cold moonlit nights all the time! Another major change to the standalone is that almost every building is accessible giving you so much more to explore like the newly designed apartment complex and they all have loot to in be found.

If your a Xbox guy/gal, this might remind you of State of Decay!
If your a Xbox guy/gal, this might remind you of State of Decay!

Dayz’s graphics are hugely different as well, they re-engineered the world and have given it more life through vibrant colours, which being in a zombie infested world is a huge contrast. This makes the game seem less hostile in nature, but the threat of death is ever present, whether its from zombies, the PvP element of the game or cruelly running out of food and water and slowly dying of starvation and thirst. When this happens you will know about it because the screen will change from the reassuring vibrant colours to a foreboding black and white that constantly reminds you of the peril you are in. By which point it’s a race against time to find another friendly player with the same blood type as your character (yes there are blood types) and hope they have enough blood themselves to give you a transfusion.

The game keeps it’s original Arma 2 feature that lets you play in either 1st person or 3rd person, so it can be played by gamers with a particular game-play style. 1st person offers a truer immersion to the game as it gives the perspective of surviving in this crisis, where as 3rd person tends to detract from this. The devs have catered for this ability to change between perspectives, giving some players an unfair advantage to those who choose to play 3rd person over 1st and have created a set of hardcore servers that are separate from the main servers hives everyone can play in 1st and 3rd has been locked.

Oh the power, this is all kinds of moral compass going on here!
Oh the power, this is all kinds of moral compass going on here!

There is a basic and useful crafting system you can make use of, such as crafting weapons like a bow and arrow that was added in the latest update, you can also find attachments for weapons like scopes and spray paint some of the weapons. The crafting system also allows for the repair of your clothes if a sewing kit is found or you can make provisional medical supplies like splints for broken legs or bandages out of your t-shirt and much more. Dayz has some huge features planned for the future, such as drivable vehicles for getting around the world, base building and hunting. They also have a new rendering system in the works that they hope will improve the games performance with the use of DirectX 10/11 instead of DX9 and they’re moving the whole game to 64-bit systems instead of 32-bit which they also hope will improve performance.

Overall Dayz provides a realistic and immersible experience, every decision you take means life and death, surviving or starting over. The multi-player aspect adds a great experience whether you like being the hero and saving other players from certain death or being the bandit that will kill others just for the bottle of water they have. You could take a different approach and stay back, watch events unfold and scavenge whats left after…. In this world you live or die by the decisions you make, you play the game how you think you would survive in an apocalypse. The options are endless and the for a price tag of only £19.99 you can’t go wrong.