Not being an innately competitive person, I always shied away from titles such as DayZ and Rust. Almost every aspect of DayZ spooked me: the PvP combat, ruthless bandits, constant hunger and thirst monitoring, you name it.
In an effort to win myself some masculinity points, I decided to give Daybreak Game Company’s H1Z1 a spin. My first hour in the game went as following:
Minutes 1-10: I spawn, pathetic and lost, in a valley. It’s the early morning from the looks of it, and I am completely isolated from any other forms of intelligent life. A wolf cries out from the woods, sending shivers up my virtual (and literal) spine. Just when I’m about to lose my dinner, a cargo ship passes overhead and drops its load in a nearby ditch. Out of pure stupidity or ingenuity, I run toward the falling package. Along the way, I run into my first zombie, and take the opportunity to test out the game’s punching mechanics. They are extremely satisfying. Unfortunately, due to the brawl, I lost my bearings. The package was never to be seen again.
Minutes 11-30: Daylight finally begins to reacquaint itself with my monitor. I find the nearest road and follow it until I reach a large, wooden compound. I timidly approach the compound, but, much to my surprise, find myself warmly welcomed by a fellow named Bradley (if you ever read this, Bradley, just know that you’re awesome). Bradley kindly imparts a few words of advice, gives me a backpack, and points me in the direction of the nearest city.
Too bad I succumb to a zombie assault five minutes later.
Minutes 31-60: I respawn, this time in the deep forest in the dead of night. Another wolf releases its mournful howl, this time much, much closer. In a hurry, I rip up my shirt, gather a few sticks, and create a makeshift bow. After a bit of aimless stumbling, I come across a road, which I follow for a few minutes. All seems well until the wolf, ever vicious and bloodthirsty, comes storming out of the foliage. Caught unawares, I am unable to pop off a shot from my bow, so I resort to using a branch as a makeshift cudgel. I beat the wolf to death (with virtual tears in my eyes, since i’m an animal lover), go along my merry way, and eventually come across a small motor inn. I pick up a BBQ chicken sandwich out of a trash bin and meet a few friendly survivors (friendliness seems to be a recurring theme). Content with my progress, I call it a night.
Overall, I was very content with my playthrough of H1Z1. The player base was unexpectedly pleasant, and I found the crafting menu very intuitive. The ability to forge a makeshift bow out of very basic resources stood out to me, and added a way to always keep the playing field level. Of course, a bow doesn’t really stack up against a gun, but at least you’ll never be totally defenseless against the game’s myriad of foes.
I didn’t run into any glitches or bugs during my playthrough, but they are apparently rampant throughout the game. Still, even in early alpha, H1Z1 impresses, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.