GAME OF THE DAY: This is only the fourth Game of the Day that MCV has published, and it’s the second time a free title has featured.
That’s the modern games industry for you.
Well, we say free. Day Z, which is still in beta, is indeed free to download. But it’s a mod for Bohemia title Arma II, and that costs between 20-25 to purchase.
Day Z is the brainchild of Dean Hall and delivers a zombie experience that, amazingly, actually manages to distinguish itself from the undead hordes of rival titles.
The premise is incredibly simple. You spawn at a random location on the massive game map with a bandage and a couple of supply items in your possession. Then you’re on your own.
Your first point of call is to gather resources, with a particular focus on weapons. Finding your first gun is an incredibly empowering moment and means that you should survive at least your first couple of encounters with the undead.
We’re not talking Dead Rising-style shuffling zombies either. These folks move at a pace, and your best bet is always to avoid confrontation.
But what of when you encounter other players? Should you simply stay low and let them pass you by? That might be the safest bet as a powered up player is just as likely to shoot you and rob your supplies as befriend you.
But there’s strength in numbers. Two of you can do a far better and safer job of scouting out new locations. Who knows – maybe you’ll meet more folk and form a powerful fighting force?
That’s the conundrum that Day Z so successfully taps into. Servers are limited to 50 players each, meaning that while you’re often alone others are never that far away.
Oh, and there’s one other thing. Death is permanent. There are no checkpoints, no respawns. You can spend hours gathering a formidable loot of weapons and supplies and it can be gone in an instant, leaving you to start afresh all over again.
It’s high stakes, for sure. And it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. But for those who are willing to step up to the plate, Day Z is an experience unlike any other. Which is why it was downloaded over 1m times in two months and has now got the official backing of Bohemia Interactive.