DayZ Xbox One Review
"Hardcore Zombie Survival"
March 30, 2019 at 8:44pm
I'm honestly surprised this version released from Xbox Game Preview so quickly, but that's of course up to the developer. DayZ is a title that has been in development for many, many years on PC. I was surprised to see it end up on Xbox One first in terms of a console release, but here we are with a full launch. The DayZ Xbox One version of the game is very close to the PC, being just slightly behind it for updates.
That context aside, it brings the full experience to the console. You're able to play in servers of up to sixty players as you try to survive from the undead horde, the general environment and mainly other people. When it comes to the zombies, they're quite deadly right now. They have a long range lock, and they're no longer passive. It can actually get annoying as they group up more easily, there's a fair density. It's nothing wild but if you make enough noise it can get crazy quickly.
The monsters just chase forever in this. They're also rather tough at this point, taking a beating while causing bleeding. This leads into the environmental aspect of the experience. You can get sick, injured through cuts or just die of starvation. You need to take care of yourself, and the game has a variety of mechanics that are behind this. If you're thirsty, you can collect it from lakes or ponds. This might make you sick however. You can eat raw food, but cooking it at a campfire you've crafted will benefit you greatly. To make a campfire you'll actually have to hack at a tree for wood, then ignite it with certain items.
You can grow food from seeds, collect water in containers or even bury items in stash type setup. It goes further by allowing you to build bases, this is time consuming however. The final aspect of this is others, people are typically the main threat. There are sixty people, and most are hostile. In this version they're always wanting to gather loot through violence. Occasionally you'll meet nice people, or just cautious folks. You can interact violently, with gestures or just sort of watch one another go by. The social interactions are the intriguing part of this experience, and they work well. You need to remember that the game is permadeath. When you die, the character is dead and you'll get a new random person to play as.
Having played DayZ on Xbox One X, that'll be the platform of reference. While the launch point does bring improvements, the game still definitely has performance issues. At times it runs quite well, but when you're visiting larger cities it can be rough to move around due to how slow things get. This is a problem, fast movement in key situations can mean life or death. There are also many interaction based issues, mostly based around the clipping of things through buildings.
Some items don't function with the release update, there are many buggy elements of play. That's just how DayZ is though, that's the name it has made for itself. The UI is now slick, and smooth. It works well for dragging items around, and combining things. You do a lot of combining as you manually load bullets into magazines, combine items to craft and have to directly interact with almost every object to do things within the game.
You can craft basic items, even work on fixing complex objects such as vehicles. They go all in here; with many pieces making up a car, assuming you can even find the main chassis. Survival management is key, but fair at this point. Over time; depending on much you move, you'll need to keep fed and not be thirsty. If these issues grow, you could die. You can get cut and bleed, or catch a horrible disease. Try not to eat too many people, it'll make you go crazy. For a tip, rags are helpful for those scratches you get. Don't want to see too much blood pour from your character.
The environments are actually solid here, they have a realistic and calming look. There are thousands of trees, many cities and of course a number of key sites. You could venture through castles, old military zones or even trek along the beaches. A lot of the game is learning where you are in this massive map, and venturing throughout it for loot. You start with fair essentials, and will need to find more as you play. Even when you find items, they could be damaged or become damaged over time.
It can be hard to loot, and the game is difficult to learn at the start. It takes time to get all of the mechanics, and to understand what you're doing. That's why I consider this to be a niche survival game, it's not for everyone. I'll mention that it has day and night cycles, with the latter being accelerated time wise. It can also rain at this point, causing health issues for characters. The game is played largely in third person, but it can be switched to first person at any time. Hardcore servers are present for just first person.
DayZ Xbox One delivers the full niche zombie survival experience, but with that comes a number of problems and performance issues. It leaves something to be desired in terms of functionality and while they fix some elements, others are now broken. It's an interesting mix, with this being the launch I have to look at the state of the game at this point. It can have some serious performance issues at times, but when it runs well it's a smooth time.
The interactions with others are always interesting, and they're mostly brutal. It's definitely not a friendly community, I've come to that conclusion after almost a hundred hours with this version. The survival elements are great, it's exciting to learn about the many things you can do. They have the basics down, they just need to expand past this point. It's also fascinating to see disease, bleeding, and other environmental issues come into the mix quite often while playing.
The clouds are finally great looking, and the environment itself is quite lovely. I wish there was more atmosphere in terms of noise, as it's rather quiet. Still, it's that way for a reason. Moving past essentials, the guns are decent in here. The hit detection is far better than before and there are a wide range of items to find. This doesn't just cover guns, but there are many apparel options and various types of loot to gather. Some is directly helpful, other items are for novelty.
The inventory is awesome here, I question the control scheme though it does work fine. It just takes some getting used to mainly. This isn't for everyone though, it's for a specific type of individual. You have to balance basic survival elements against some rather dangerous zombies and it takes time. It's not a fast paced game, it takes patience and the desire to learn mechanics that will assist you with survival within the game. I've had a decent time watching it change, making videos on it and of course seeing it release in full.
Read our The Division 2 Review
View our DayZ Hub
DayZ Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by ID@Xbox
Rating Overall: 6.5