Why you need to be playing DayZ
by jounceman (212)
August 6th 2012

Forget what you think you know about zombies, and survival. Meet the new way to to fight the undead apocalypse!

Yes, the zombie phenomenon is sweeping the gaming industry, nothing surprising there. From Left4Dead, and Dead Island, to Plants vs Zombies, The Walking Dead, and the more recently announced Zombi U; there is no shortage of Z-games for Z-fans. But where your attention should be, is on the one game that’s taking things to the next level. Enter: DayZ.

DayZ is a mod for ARMA 2 and ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead - created by Bohemia Interactive designer, Dean Hall. The premise - you already know if you’ve played any zombie title: An unknown infection has swept across the world, and wiped out most of humanity as we know it. Let’s begin.

Our story takes place in a post-soviet state named, Chernarus. Scattered about this 225 km2 open world, are survivors, that’s you. Armed with a small backpack, some bandages and a flashlight, you’re ready to face to the undead and the formidable abomination they created, other survivors.

Not only will you traverse this desolate terrain fending off walkers, crawlers, and hopping dead - who by the way are 28 Days Later fast - but you’ll be looking over your shoulder for bandits; survivors who rob and kill other survivors to get by. The best advice you’ll get from anyone: Trust no one.

This unique option is what makes DayZ a truly original experience. You’re encouraged to survive cooperatively, but the question is, who generally wants to help you, and who wants your goods for your life? Unless you know the person in real-life, this is a non-negotiable risk. This psychological gameplay is something I’ve never seen or experienced before. It’s incredibly unnerving. “Did you hear those foot-steps?”, “I hear gun fire?” - all popular phrases you’ll become accustomed to in DZ.

Survival through scavenging is the other aspect of gameplay that offers a more realistic approach to the genre. Your health is dependent on scavenging, which forces players to move about the world. Your hud, which has picture gauges that measure hunger, thirst, blood, and temperature begin to change color as your body requires replenishing.

Blood and temp are affected differently from thirst and hunger, naturally. Your blood will drain if you’re attacked, either by bites, or bullet wounds. Your temp will change with weather conditions. Hint: Chernarus is no tropical vacation. To help balance these challenges are bandages, heat pads, and blood-packs - the latter of which can only be applied by another player. If you don’t have a blood-pack, then a hunting knife for deer, rabbit, and other wild animals is useful for restoring health, or blood. Note: You’ll need to find a knife first.

Even then, it comes with a condition. In the real-world you cannot eat raw meat; same rule applies in DZ. Hence, you’ll need to find matches for fire and an axe to chop wood for said fire.

How do you do this? Travel. Walking is something you’ll do plenty of. Due to the size of the map, it can take quite a long time to get anywhere, I mean hours. And it all happens in real time. Sunset in CA, means sunset in Chernarus, and night-time in a state with no power is as dark as death.

Additionally, if you manage to find the parts, you can repair vehicles to make traveling a lot smoother. Just be careful, noise will attract the undead and rogue survivors.

Speaking of death, if you do bite the dust, then its perma-death I’m afraid. That’s right, all the gear you found, the careful planning, and travel-time will be for naught. Average life expectancy is 49 minutes. Top that.

In order to play DayZ, you’ll need Arma II: Combined Operations (A2 + A2:OA). Yes, the asking price for this mod might seem a bit steep ($29.99 on Steam), but what you get in return is a game - still in development, mind you - that offers something no other zombie title will. A survivor experience unlike anything you’ve played before. How long can you last?

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