Game Preview: Day Z

A survivor makes his way by moonlight. (Photo credit: Diego Carrera)
A survivor makes his way by moonlight. (Photo credit: Diego Carrera)

The apocalypse is among us. Forty players, 225 sq. km of land, burned out cars, buildings and zombies… total chaos has arrived. “Day Z” has no single player campaign. Every time you play, you’re sharing a post-apocalyptic world with up to 40 other players. The world itself is quite deep and the number of lootable items mimics what you might find in real life. Guns, ammunition, handcuffs, food, drinks, medical supplies, survival gear, and military equipment are only a few available.

The real intriguing thing is what you can deal with these items and encounters with other players. You’ll spawn freshly on the coast of the fictional land of Chernarus (modeled after real locations in the Czech Republic). In your pockets, you’ll find a flashlight. The game doesn’t tell you what to do or where to go from there, it leaves you to your own devices to figure out how to survive, which means managing eating, drinking, heat, medicine and more.

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“Day Z” is a very user-driven game and provides the perfect platform for players to expand on the gameplay. You are both the author and participant of your story.  With the items that can be found in the game, you may be handcuffed, taken prisoner, shot on sight, robbed or beaten by bandits. Or will you do the same to others? Some players may come to your help and fight against other hostile players or help heal you, but most will try to kill you and take everything you have.

Death is permanent in “Day Z”, once you die, you must start over again with a new character on the coast. There’s no 10-second re-spawn timer and then you’re back with all of your stuff. Unfortunately, when you die, you are dead. You lose all of your items and are usually placed far from where you died. Permanent death makes every combat situation and every encounter with other players much more adrenaline-filled and heart pounding, especially when you have a lot of valuable loot. Each bullet that you fire has the potential to force someone (or force you) to start over from three to four hours of gameplay or more. This is why finding a weapon is extremely important in “Day Z”.

“Day Z” is best played with friends that you can trust because they will probably not kill you and there’s nothing quite like hearing gun shots ring out in an otherwise abandoned city and having your friends frantically trying to figure out where they came from and what the person looked like. Because names don’t appear above a player’s head like in most other games, you have to memorize what your friends are wearing, otherwise you might unintentionally (or intentionally, if that’s your pleasure) stab or shoot your friend in the back.

Although “Day Z” is in a very early stage of development, it still provides hundreds of hours of entertainment and is certainly one of the more promising games of 2014.

Collegian Reporter Diego Carrera can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.