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My DayZ review

reviewDayZ post-apocalyptic zombies games good bad cheats hacks

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#1 zenstrata

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

So you have wandered into this DayZ mod and you want to know more about it? Well, I will tell you what I can. Keep in mind this is from my own perspective and is only an opinion.

The Good
Big open world environment, lots of items and weapons, post apocalyptic zombies (who doesn’t like zombies?), vehicles, an interesting hunger/thirst system.

The Bad
Incredibly clunky controls, All in-game signs are written in Russian, almost no character customization (everybody looks almost exactly the same), a massive population of hackers/cheaters, no persistent character advancement, very anti-social community.

The Review
Over the last few weeks a number of friends started playing this game mod en-masse. They seemed to be enjoying it. So I asked them some questions about the game and decided to pick it up so I could play with them. I have played my fair share of games over the years, although I knew a few of the problems with this title before buying, I felt I could manage.

The first major hurdle was learning the control scheme. I must say that these are some of the worst and most clunky shooter controls I have ever learned. The resident evil series remains on top of the list for clunky controls, but only barely. DayZ tries to be a first person shooter with standard controls. But they are very complex and half the time do not function properly. These controls are so clunky that I could write an entire page describing how bad they are. As “The Angry Video Game Nerd” would say, they are bad – like Dark Castle Bad. If you haven’t played it, you have no idea how shitty these controls are. Aiming is nearly impossible, and picking up items is like attempting to pick up a melting ice cube with only your elbows. And for the love of god – don’t try to climb ladders, you have a good chance of just falling off and breaking your legs.

Speaking of broken legs. Everything can break your leg. You can trip over a fence and break your leg. Yes I just said that. Walk up to a fence, press the proper key to step ever-so-slowly over it, and viola~! Your leg is now broken and you are bleeding out on the ground. Opening a door is even worse, if you are standing in the wrong spot when you open it, the door will hit you, possibly glitching you inside a building, which will break your leg, wound you, and possibly knock you out. Zombies hitting you can also break bones far too easily. The zombie runs up, hits you once on the chest, you fall down with a broken leg, bleeding, and knocked unconscious, the zombie then chews on your unconscious broken body till you die. Zombies also zig zag all over the place, randomly teleport short distances, or glitch through walls doors and buildings. This makes zombies quite difficult to kill without getting hit and very possibly giving you a broken leg and knocking you out in a single blow. Fun times.

Then there are travel times. Think incredibly long. If you remember Oblivion you may be familiar with extremely large game maps, DayZ is roughly equivalent in size and a lot more boring. So you start the game, it randomly drops you in a starting area, and you decide to go meet up with your friends. Expect to spend the next hour (or possibly two!) running across the landscape just to reach their location. There is no fast travel system of any sort. And if you happen to be killed, expect to start all over again. This leads to my next point.

Nothing is persistent in regards to your character. If you die, everything you own is dropped on the ground, anyone can take everything you had, and there are no sort of learned character skills which can be built up as you progress. This encourages players to simply kill each other to quickly obtain items and equipment. Expect to start at square one with a fresh character for most of your DayZ experience.

Then there are the hackers. Oh yes. This game has a massive amount of Hackers and Cheaters. Almost always their entire goal is to ruin your day. I had heard a horror story of one from one of my friends before I started. He had a run-in with a cheater who teleported him out into an endless flat plain and left him there. He could not die, he sat there in game for literally 4 hours real time till his character eventually starved to death – finally allowing him to start playing again.

I figured it could not be too bad, the game designers must be aware of the hacking and be actively trying to stop it right? Not so. As it turns out, DayZ is incredibly easy to hack and has been since its inception – just google 'Arma II ***/hacks' if you want and find out. The game has an anti-cheat system installed, but it obviously does not work. This leads to players with ultimate equipment, teleporting around, killing everyone, modifying the game world, spawning vehicles, items, and generally abusing other players in an effort to get their twisted jollies.

Finally I should address the community. This games 'end-game' seems to be purely designed around fighting other players. It has a veneer coating in the form of a large, post apocalyptic world. Initially the goal seems to be survive and gather items to perpetuate your survival. But beyond that there is absolutely no goal. No quests, no storyline, no faction groups to align or fight against, no area to run from or get to -- Just you and some other players in a large zombie infested game map.

Someone I know summed it up for me in a rather disturbing way, he said; “other survivors are like item filled meat bags”. The idea being – to simply kill them and take their stuff. Most people playing this game seem to regard this as their goal. Since you can’t trust anyone else, it is easier to simply shoot everything on sight – making this game Call Of Duty with zombies. It also creates an incredibly anti-social environment for new players. Since the world is full of cheaters, hackers, and people who get their jollies from generally abusing and hurting others. There are also a surprising number of people who do not care about items, they just get a sniper rifle, sit up in some well-traveled area, and shoot as many people as they can.

Now don ‘t take this the wrong way, I completely understand what makes games centered around PvP fun. I just do not think it fits in a game where most players are just trying to survive against hordes of zombies. This is not some sort of ‘Left 4 Dead’ where some players are zombies and others are real players, This is purely real live players vs ai controlled zombies initially. It is player choice which causes people to attack each other – and often it is over petty items.

I read a post a while ago where a player gleefully described shooting someone simply to get their matches. He could just have easily found his own matches, or shared the fire with the strangers, or teamed up with them until he found his own. But instead he chose to kill these random strangers for a pack of matches… I still feel sickened and disturbed by his actions. And this is common behavior! It seems it is not enough that most people in this game world are dead already, the survivors feel this need to kill each other rather than working together.

Synopsis
This is DayZ. The game rewards those who hurt others. There is no punishment for harmful behavior. Turning the game into an incredibly antisocial environment. When combined with the prevalence of hacking, amazingly clunky controls, a written in-game language which most of the world can not speak, a very glitchy game world, bugged zombies, glitchy buildings, and killer doors, a complete lack of character advancement, no storyline/factions/quests. There is very little reason to play this game.

So why did I try to play it for the last week? Three reasons. I enjoy games in a post apocalyptic setting. I had a number of friends playing it. I could not return it and get my money back. However I can no longer justify playing it for these reasons. So I felt it was time to post a bit about my experiences and shelve this title.

If you are a player looking for good post apocalyptic games, check out the following titles: Fallout 3, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat, Id Software's RAGE, Wasteland, Metro 2033, or maybe even Borderlands 1 or Borderlands 2. For games due out in the future, keep an eye on Survarium (a free-to-play game made by the same people who made the excellent STALKER series), and Metro Last Light - both due out in 2013.

But stay far away from DayZ.

#2 Ratsmon

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 01:58 PM

I appreciate your review, this literally opened my eyes wide and now.. I see how the game realy is, but I'm still gonna play it, it all depends on how your mind works. If you realy like the mod and community you will stick to it, go on a private server and play with your friends if you dont like some silly 12-year old bandits. Its all a part of the game, you can like it or not. Anyhow, thanks! This will certainly make people double-think pefore buying it.(Arma 2 CombinedOperations)

#3 PinkyPooh

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:25 PM

I have quite opposite experiences in this game. I have only met nice people so far and we have helped each others many ways, all for fun :) But yes I can see it can be that bad also what you described.
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#4 ninjan777

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

I never felt the game to be so harsh as you described it, ive only been betrayed once or twice and in atleast 30-40% of my player encounters there hasn't been a firefight. This game gives you that rush that almost no other game gives you when you are
being shot at, it is a unique social experiment that i enjoy playing more than any other game.
Btw controls are not bad imo just turn of mouse smoothing and customize your controls, controls feels much better then ^^
Good review but remember that you create the story, not the game : )

Edited by ninjan777, 30 December 2012 - 02:36 PM.


#5 creature

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:31 PM

Zen, I think you miss the point of this "game". It's not a game really, it's a modified sandbox mode of a game. Human nature is the game. People can do what they want. The "game" is nothing more than what you make of it. Do you think in a real apocolyptic world you could just run into a town and loot some shit?

If you want to be rewarded for following the same script as everyone else and doing only the things you're suppose to do, stick with consoles and your "made to win" games.

Edited by creature, 30 December 2012 - 02:31 PM.


#6 TacticalJim

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:35 PM

OMG! Arma 2 is not a video game, is a military simulation. The controls are clunky because they are exact...what other fps uses a different plane of motion for your avatars head. Strap on a track ir and unleash the true complexities which i love so dear.

Cheats are not the mods fault! The game was never meant for large amounts of game servers that were open to the pubs...it was meant for groups who love to play with like minded people.

Plus, all of your grips have already been freely admitted to by Rocket himself which is probably why he left the mod before it was done in order to completely rebuild the game engine and release the standalone version.

#7 Sei.Fe

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

OMG! Arma 2 is not a video game, is a military simulation.

Imo a simulation is still a game.

But I agree with you as you say the controls are not clunky. You can feel the movement of your character and this is what is achieved by these "clunky" controls.
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#8 Timmymachine109

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:46 PM

OMG! Arma 2 is not a video game, is a military simulation. The controls are clunky because they are exact...what other fps uses a different plane of motion for your avatars head. Strap on a track ir and unleash the true complexities which i love so dear.

Cheats are not the mods fault! The game was never meant for large amounts of game servers that were open to the pubs...it was meant for groups who love to play with like minded people.

Plus, all of your grips have already been freely admitted to by Rocket himself which is probably why he left the mod before it was done in order to completely rebuild the game engine and release the standalone version.


Agreed, most of the bad points come from the game being a mod...the stand alone should sort out most of the problems :) can't wait!!!

#9 SeaMan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

What a load of shit.War Z. Fanboy by any chance?Remeber this is a MOD not a game.Play for more than a few hours and you might actually realise what its all about.

Edited by SeaMan, 30 December 2012 - 02:51 PM.


#10 Ratsmon

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

I have a feeling this topic will turn into a flame war, just IMO


EDIT: After reading the post above me. It is slowly turning into it.


Remindero: this guy put out his opinion, and didnt mean to insult the game itself/ or community, but just express his opinion, and you cant change it. Deal with it :[

Edited by Ratsmon, 30 December 2012 - 02:55 PM.


#11 Mr Mouse

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

One huge flaw in this review: You're reviewing it as if it's a finished game, complete with UI, controls, character customization and gear options made exclusively for it. All in game options were made for Arma 2, as a war simulation game. The mod was created later and pretty much fits over the top of it, hence why there's no character customisation etc. All of these bits and bobs will be included in the standalone release over time however.

Overall you miss the point of 'the game', hugely. It's an alpha mod. The tag line pretty much sums it up - "This is your story." It's an open sandbox mod with no actual goals. You simply play to survive and do whatever you want. It's what you make of it. You've failed to grasp what this mod is about, so your best bet is to look elsewhere This probably includes the standalone release too.

Edited by Mr Mouse, 30 December 2012 - 03:11 PM.

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#12 VldZ

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

The in-game signs are in russian because the environment is situated near Russia.Anti-social community?Don't think so.
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#13 TheSushi

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

Yeah, you gotta keep in mind this entire mod started as a bit of an experiment and is a constant WIP. The standalone may be far more appealing and perhaps incorporate more of an endgame.

That said, you're not wrong. It's not a game for everyone. It takes a specific mindset to deal with a buggy military game and get your zombie fun. It's a zombie survival simulator, you could argue, but it does lack the long-term options (setting up colonies, reproducing, securing areas) that would be important in real life. So, good, honest review and hopefully you'll like the stand-alone.
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#14 Mr Mouse

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

Yeah, you gotta keep in mind this entire mod started as a bit of an experiment and is a constant WIP. The standalone may be far more appealing and perhaps incorporate more of an endgame.

That said, you're not wrong. It's not a game for everyone. It takes a specific mindset to deal with a buggy military game and get your zombie fun. It's a zombie survival simulator, you could argue, but it does lack the long-term options (setting up colonies, reproducing, securing areas) that would be important in real life. So, good, honest review and hopefully you'll like the stand-alone.


This really. From what I've heard about the standalone from Rocket himself, there will be many ways to set up and build your own bases, including possible underground instances where you actively group up with other players. Plus there will be a variety of clothes to wear and customisations for your character, as well as numerous other buildings to explore. Plus the controls and UI will be simplified for all. They want to add plenty more aspects to the game, so standalone is your best bet at a proper review.

As stated, the reviewer is simply reviewing a mod like a polished standalone game, which it's far from being, hence why the gripes are poor and severely flawed.

Edited by Mr Mouse, 30 December 2012 - 03:49 PM.


#15 Mr Nasty

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:51 PM

I appreciate your review. But I don't think you fully understand this game. This is not a PvE zombie shoot 'em up and in a sense its not even a zombie game. Its a survival game. Yes I will kill you for matches rather than hoping to find them on my own.

That being said its not a game for everyone. Thats why as gamers we're lucky to have options.

Game on!
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#16 iegle

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

Nice review. You do point out many things that we all accept playing a mod under development for a pre-existing game engine that has its quirks, but also has a band of dedicated and skilled players.

A couple of comments:

I very much appreciate the lack of persistent character advancement. This gives me, who has maybe 5 hours/week to play, a chance against the unwashed masses of no-lifers who play 16 hours per day every day. If there were levels or some other form of persistent advancement players like me would be squeezed out quickly.

The signs add to the flavour of the game. Learn the rudiments of the Cyrillic alphabet and deepen your experience.
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#17 Dekartz

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

Wait... Most of the world can't read cyrillic? I guess we better go tell damn-near- the whole former-soviet-union that they're not part of the world.
Why not just use all these tin-cans to make armor? You could call it bean-mail!

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#18 MishkaFlow

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

But stay far away from DayZ.


Nope sorry, I don't feel like it.
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#19 MJKProductions

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:47 PM

I don't feel the same as you, but I respect your opinions and think it's a good review. I've never fallen off a ladder or broken a leg, nor met a 'bad' hacker. The only thing I'll say is just please remember that it is only a mod, not a game, and it is still in alpha.
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#20 Dallas

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:40 PM

I think you should invest as much effort into learning the basics of DayZ, as you did into writing this post.

Whether DayZ is a simulation or a game, you're gonna have a bad time, if you think it's a mainstream FPS. It is not. You're not a floating camera, you're bullets does not just appear from the center of the screen, traveling in a direct line to the target. This is not CounterStrike or some other linear shooter when small areas are patched together with quicktime events or cut scenes. Your play body is a vehicle, you're not going to stop on a dime after a flat out sprint, the more exhausted you are, the longer it takes to steady your aim. You're a full grow person, hauling gear, weapons and backpack, not an ice princess, skating around, crouchjumping with a AS50. Accept this, if you want to give ArmA/DayZ a real chance.

There is working ballistics in the game, if you know a little bit about rifles and gravity you're halfway there. You need to learn each individual weapon, when to aim high and when to aim low. When you press fire, the bullet spawns at the center of your weapon, from it's chamber and depending on the weapon, it will travel in a ballistic arc to it's target. So whether you're shooting at extreme close or medium ranges, you always have to calculate at least two factors. At extreme close up, the elevation between your chamber and sights. At other ranges you have to range your target, to make correct adjustments or you have to be very aware of where the projectiles strikes, so you can adjust based on the blood squirts, dust clouds and ricochets.

As for breaking you legs in doorways, remove you left mouse button from the action "Use seleced action." Use selected action means, every time you get an action icon on the center of your screen, pressing fire, will perform this action. So if you're standing in the middle of a doorway, aiming at a zombie, there's a good chance, instead of firing, you'll shut the door closed on your legs.

Best way to combat hackers is to find a whitelisted server, get whitelisted and enjoy. Any aspect you mention, except hacking, really comes down to learn2play issues. There's nothing wrong with that, most of us here has cursed through our teeth several times, learning the complexity of ArmA/DayZ. If you have a problem with zombies knocking you out, breaking legs, become better at avoiding them or better yet avoid them seeing you. If you have a problem with the distances in Chernarus, improve your navigation skills. How to read a compass, how to read a map with and without a compass, how to use the sun's location instead, how to find north using the stars and how to decode map legends. From all but one starting locations, there's only 10 minutes distance to the nearest major city. However you're required to learn the basic geography of Chernarus to find these places easy and fast.

DayZ is what you make of it, but you have only scratched the surface.

Edited by Dallas, 30 December 2012 - 05:43 PM.

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