Even Bohemia's clunky alpha looks better than some zombie clones.
By Patrick Stafford on June 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm
So many zombie games, and so little quality. Fortunately, the stand-alone version of DayZ has shown that it has the ability to stand above the crowd and deliver what was so great about the original mod in a polished package.
In a hands-on demo played by games.on.net on the E3 show floor today, we saw a variety of new features and tweaks, including new animations and a much cleaner and sophisticated inventory system.
The game features a new character model on a new skeleton, with new clothing as well – simple jeans and a t-shirt. There are even new animations, including a sprint crouch.
The biggest and most sophisticated change is the menu system. Unlike ARMA II’s clunky and unintuitive interface, DayZ is simply drag and drop. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone confused by the system, even with no prior knowledge.
Another major change is the crafting system. When two items can be combined, they will turn orange in the inventory menu. Items like maps can be put together, and even basic movements like adding purification tablets to water. Once they’ve been combined, the player receives a message telling them they’ve combined two items, and what they’ve made.
This is a great piece of feedback, and even provides some motivation. Once you’ve done something right, you’ll want to keep playing.
The plethora of little changes make the game simply more exciting. There are plenty more enterable buildings, and subsequently more loot. Zombies can now make a fairly scary jumping attack once they reach a certain range, and there are plenty of new buildings as well in various areas of the map.
Even loot can be picked up in two different ways now, by simply picking up gear after looking at it, or using the gear/inventory menu. Weapons have mostly stayed the same, with the focus being on dirty and simple weaponry. In our particular build, we used an AK-47.
However, the game is still in a very early stage of development – closed alpha. There were plenty of rough animations in the demo we played on the show floor, bodies falling through walls and so on. There is plenty to be added.
Bohemia Interactive says the project is now at an “exciting stage of development”, with new content being added all the time. It’s simply a matter of deciding which pieces of content, such as vehicles, will make it into the final release.
Bohemia stresses the development has taken so long due to the amount of work it takes to create a stand-alone version of the game. Not only does it have to include all the infrastructure from ARMA II, but DLC as well. That is an enormous undertaking, and is essentially like creating multiple versions of a game at the same time.
This is still DayZ, but improved. Understandably, some users may not like any of the changes and prefer the old-fashioned way. But with at least one uninspired zombie clone announced at this year’s E3 already, it’s good to know the best zombie title in the business has maintained its edge.