Guest Blog: Stumbling Through the Land of DayZ

We here at Power Cords have a collective taste for any and all things zombie. Alas, we’ve found ourselves unable to jump into the latest and greatest zombie survival experience, Day-Z taking the internet by storm. Thankfully, our good friend Ian Engles has gone toe-to-toe with the living dead in this ArmA 2 mod, and he’s here to relay to us the things he’s seen deep in the infected world of Day-Z

If there was a real world equivalent to the zombie craze of games, movies and TV I could only assume that it would be bacon. We have entered a time where people enhance games with zombies much like they enhance food with bacon. Look at games like Call of Duty, where the zombie modes have become second only to the regular multiplayer maps. Other games are being infected by the current zombie craze. Look at titles like: Left 4 dead, Dead Island, Lollie-Pop Chainsaw, Plants vs Zombies, and so forth. People are eating up zombie games as if it were…well bacon!

I stumbled upon a mod for the game ARMA 2 that seemed almost too good to be true. The mod is a free download and is currently in alpha, and the games required to play it only ran me a total of $30 on Steam and were fairly quick to download. Not only that but the mod has a program used to help install, maintain, update and launch the server list for Day Z which is also found on the Day Z website. This was an incredibly easy game to download, install and get my hands on it

The minute I began playing it though, I found this game was no joke. Seeing as this is a mod to one of the most realistic Military Simulators out there, it was no surprise how difficult the gameplay was, and the controls as seemed to follow suit. Day Z isn’t really a pick-up-and-kill-mass-hordes-of-zombies kind of game; this is a play-and-die-multiple-times-to-get-anywhere kind of game. This is the part of Day Z that really made me fall in love with it so quickly. This game isn’t that far from if a zombie invasion actually happened.

The game does not have a health bar per se; instead you start out with 12,000 points of blood and any hit by a zombie or other things that could cause damage cause your blood level to drop. Getting hit can cause bleeding, draining your blood away until you stop it by using bandages. However, you only start with one bandage at the beginning of the game, and to get more you must go and find them in the zombie infested towns. Similarly, you do not regain health; the only way to get blood back is to do a blood transfusion with another player, which requires the appropriate tools to accomplish. And look out – if you start getting low on blood, the character realisticly goes in and out of consciousness…try running away from a mob of zombies while your character is constantly blacking out and stumbling around. You also have the chance to be knocked out by a zombie, which brings up a sand timer that slowly goes down as you watch zombies eat away at you. Even better, zombies have the chance of breaking your bones, which is a death sentence. You can even sprain ankles, making it harder to move around.

Like every zombie game, you will be having to kill a zombie or two. In other games, this can be as simple as knifing them or finding ample amounts of ammo to help massacre the living dead. Day Z has you accomplish this a little differently. When you start you begin with 2 items: a flash light and a single bandage. Neither of these aid you in killing zombies, and without a weapon you’re helpless. Day Z does have a mix of melee weapons and guns, but I have only found an axe or a gun with the correct ammo twice, and the only place I have found these are in areas full of zombies. Thankfully there are two gauges in the game that help you to work around this problem.

Day Z features sight and sound gauges which show you how visible you are, and how loud you are being. This is very handy when running through the woods – a place zombies don’t frequent as much — but if your plans include going into a town or house you might want to make sure that you are moving quietly and are keeping an eye out to remain as hidden as possible.

But even if you get past the zombies and can find supplies, you will quickly discover how frustrating the inventory system can be. You only have so many things you can carry and anytime you try and get into your bag you have to stop and unzip it, halting your movements. There is also the problem with moving things from your tool belt to your person and back again. I was killed because I couldn’t figure out how to switch from my gun to my axe (I still really don’t know how to do it.)

With a game like Day Z you would think that the zombies in the game would be the most dangerous thing in the game. This isn’t exactly true. There are also bandits – other players — that prove to be a much bigger problem than the zombies. Nothing is more dangerous than a fellow player with a sniper rifle fixing his scope on you and killing you for the supplies that you have on you, if not only for the bandage that you start out with.

If zombies are bacon then Day Z is by far the best bacon I have ever tasted. I have really no interest in Military Sims and don’t really plan on playing the ARMA 2 game itself, but I sure as hell found it worth to buy ARMA 2 and ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead for this mod. It is by far the most realistic zombie game I have ever played. I would advise people to look into the game before getting it simply because it may be to challenging for some people to enjoy (it is to zombie games what Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls are to RPGs) but if you have even the slightest inclination to play then you should just pull the trigger on it. I can guarantee that it will surpass any expectations that you may have, and will find it hard to put it down.

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