Waking up on a beach, confused, alone and parched, sets the tone for DayZ.
A game with a harsh learning curve that pits you, not only against Infected and the Elements, but the very best and worst in other survivors. ‘Chernarus’ -the base game- takes place in a fictional version of the post-Soviet Republic on a 225km2 behemoth of a map, while ‘Livonia’ -the recent DLC- takes place in the state of Livonia on a more modest 163km2 map.
The Base Game:
LIVE. GEAR. DIE. REPEAT is the basic premise for the majority of DayZ gameplay. I Personally have well over 1000 hours on the PS4 version which I’m reviewing here today, so I can attest to that four word mantra.
But as much as the game can be simplified down, the experience between “LIVE. GEAR. DIE.” are some of the most fun I’ve had in multiplayer gaming.
From the moment you wake up on the beach you’re entirely alone, there’s no map, no objective markers, nothing but the meme of Robert Downey Jr. whispering “Survive”.
The looting system in DayZ is, functionally, a great innovation on the PC version. Though it does suffer from issues involving how the loot tables are calculated by servers and some of the usual 'online survival game de-sync' that everyone knows and curses.
When you get off the shores, and out of the coastal cities ringing with low teir weapon fire, DayZ really starts to shine.
You'll traverse dense forests with some of the best tree, weather and audio FX around - im not kidding there, it is flawless in my opinion - and open farming country. All to locate small villages and towns to stock up on food, water and clothing. Possibly even working vehicles or even some player interaction.
Playing the good guy or villain in these situations is up to you of course, but KOS culture on console is admittedly prevalent - though sometimes you get some amazing revenge like the .gif below.
By now you’ve got a hand of some essentials like water, tinned food, medicine for sickness - often contracted from water and an absolute pain to be rid of - and a peashooter that can barely register as a firearm.
Its time to hit up a military checkpoint or base to get some of the really fun toys this game has to offer – bullet proof vests, combat helmets, and many a gun that will end other survivors time in Chernarus.
Just always be careful of the resident military, as they’re still on active patrol, just less… alive.
Stealth comes into play a lot more when you get to this point of the game, and the stealth options in DayZ offer more than just stance and cover advantages.
Crouching before approaching a site can be the difference between another player or infected hearing you and attacking while you’re in the open, or you getting the drop on some other poor soul hunting for an automatic rifle.
The combat system is great in DayZ; bullet time, bullet drop, gun noise, degradation and recoil are all at play here, this is a proper survival simulator in the firearms regard.
Suppressors don’t have the usual Hollywood silenced weapon trope either, only muffling your shots enough that hopefully the other guy cant pin down where your bullet came from - again the audio team need praise here, the high calibre guns "feel" like a high calibre weapon when firing them, while the pistols still have the satisfying pop of .45 and 9mm.