I’ve been playing DayZ since shortly after the mod was first released, due to colleagues talking incessantly about their shenanigans and an awesome story I read online. I was hooked, despite the bugs. I even revelled in how the community moved from survival-focused to banditry-focused. Mostly because I became a bandit myself at that point. I killed indiscriminately.
So when my colleague came into work a few weeks ago and simply said, “Did you buy it?” I did. I bought it on the spot, sight unseen. I bought it for T. I encouraged our friend Andy to buy it. And we played it. So what did we think?
Well, it’s certainly buggy. Occasionally falling through walls and/or floors can cause some sticky situations. Zombies that chase you until you break line of sight…which never happens, because they can see through walls and, as if that wasn’t enough, walk through them. The hunger and thirst meters are weird at best, and annoying at worst, as you seem to start thirsty and it doesn’t get much better. Some of the guns bug out a little when you try to look through a scope you’ve equipped. Ladders can, occasionally, instantly kill you.
But, I do actually really enjoy it. It brings back the feeling of needing to survive, instead of it being just about shooting every guy you see. I’ve stopped feeling the instant urge to shoot people, and started waving at them instead. Last night, a guy approached me and shouted at me over mic, “Get down on your knees!” Seeing as I can’t take instructions in real life without being a stubborn ass, that didn’t go down so well, and I hit him in the face with the baseball bat I wasn’t planning on using. There’s a more tangible depth to the game that I hadn’t noticed in mod for a long time.
It also brings a lot of great new features, like a quickbar for ease of weapon switching or using items, customisability of your character through the use of clothing and aesthetic items like masks, modular weapons, more buildings that you can enter and explore for loot, and clothing inventory on top of backpacks. Some features are yet to be implemented, such as vehicles, but DayZ standalone is well on its way to becoming an enjoyable game in its own right.
Two things I don’t like, aside from the bugs I mentioned, are the lack of combat logging prevention, and the public hive only approach taken to servers. The former is a huge problem; that guy I hit with a baseball bat after he threatened me with a gun? Yeah, he logged out as soon as I hit him, meaning I’m left feeling frustrated because he got away, even though he initiated the fight. This happens constantly. The latter, however, is merely an annoyance for two reasons – players will server hop to loot popular military spots to get guns and mods for their weapons, and for me, it’s a problem because I often play with friends but would like the option of running off on my own without abandoning them when they’re not around to play.
All in all, the game is in Alpha, so it will improve. If you’re looking for a large-scale multiplayer zombie survival game, it’s definitely fun, as long as you’re prepared for the fact that other players can and will shoot you. Or attack you with a fire extinguisher.