Welcome to Chernarus, today is DayZ.
We don’t usually review, preview or talk at any length about PC game mods, but DayZ is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Being a zombie apocalypse survival game with over 800,000 players in total, 200,000 of those with active, concurrent connections at any given time, the DayZ Mod is slowly becoming the game everyone is talking about. These impressive numbers are being tallied while the game is still in Alpha testing, and that’s what really caught my attention. A mod for a game that, while it has its fans, isn’t a mainstream title is attracting hundreds of thousands of players? I just had to see for myself.
To get started with the DayZ Mod you’ll first have to purchase Arma 2: Combined Operations, or you can buy Arma 2 and it’s expansion ‘Operation Arrowhead’ separately. You can then head on over to DayZmod.com and download the installer. I also recommend you fire up Arma 2 and give it a shot as this will help you out with learning some of the controls you’ll need in DayZ.
So, just what is DayZ? Well that can be a simple question to answer, it’s a zombie game that focuses on survival instead of fire power and body count, but a simple answer won’t do this game any justice. The DayZ mod takes place in the post-soviet state of Chernarus and you are one of the only survivors of a viral outbreak that has turned people into raving monsters. The action all takes place online, in 225 KM squared map that can house upwards of 70 people at the moment. That’s right, the world is huge but you can pack a ton of people onto a single server.
You’ll start out at a random spawn point, somewhere near the coast of Chernarus with only a flashlight and some bandages to your name. To survive you’ll have to scavenge for weapons, gear and supplies that are scattered randomly throughout the map, all the while dodging zombies and other players. The beauty of DayZ is that you can team up with other players, go solo or shoot everyone in sight. Gear is hard to come by, and often the easiest way to get a pack full of equipment is to kill another survivor. Since there are no real teams, no missions and no main storyline, the human element can take over quickly. Just do a quick search on Youtube and you can find all kinds of video evidence.
It isn’t just guns, ammo and food you’ll be looking for in DayZ you’ll also be able to build up your defenses, which in turn can build up your hoard. See, you can only carry so much in DayZ, so having somewhere to stash your gear is key to any sort of long term survival. Another big element is vehicles. Some of these can be repaired and will give you a huge advantage in storing gear, running down enemies and getting around the absolutely massive map.
Things can be slow to get going, until you get the hang of DayZ as you’ll have to learn about sneaking around zombies until you can find yourself a gun and some ammo, which can take quite a while depending on where you spawn. Repairing vehicles is also a monumental feat as they can often require a lot of parts to get up and running again, parts you’ll have to find in your travels. These simple parameters allow you to become full immersed in the world of DayZ and working with teams, paranoia, betrayal and helplessness are all things that happen organically in DayZ.
All of this, of course, comes with the caveat that the DayZ Mod is still in Alpha testing. This means that, though it runs pretty smoothly and doesn’t crash often, there hasn’t been a whole lot of work done on the interface and controls and these can be frustrating to learn, with simple things like re-spawning after death becoming incredibly confusing at times.
DayZ is still a work in progress but you can already see just how good it’s going to be. Not everyone will enjoy the pace of a game that has a main goal of scrounging for beans, but people who want a true survival experience that allows for human variables will love DayZ. Check out the trailer below: