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For anyone who has ever been mauled by a zombie that glitches through a wall, had their gear systematically taken by a hacker, or even broken their leg on a ladder or while walking down stairs, they know all too well that DayZ is far from the perfect game.  Despite this, the same individuals who suffer through complete head-scratching moments loyally come back to Bohemia Interactive’s post-apocalyptic survival game day-in and day-out.

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The hit TV series The Walking Dead has revived the Zombie genre for many, myself included.  The show also does an excellent job depicting what would likely happen in a zombie apocalypse, and how human beings would react.  In the zombie apocalypse, a darkness festers in everyone.  DayZ takes that concept and places it in the hands of the gamer, albeit in Russia instead of rural Georgia, USA. Is DayZ the perfect zombie game, or even the perfect game in general?  From an overall quality and content standpoint, no, it is not. What DayZ lacks in polish though, it more than makes up for in the experience it has created.

The game is as much dark fantasy role playing as it is strategy.  Your play style can fluctuate with your mood.  Are you a cold hearted killer, or a savior?  Every session offers something different, and you will never encounter the same situation more than once.  Interactions between other players varies, from first person shooter style gunfights with nothing said or any warnings given, all the way to random sing-alongs.  Yes, you will come across people that sing.  For no reason.

That is the true beauty of DayZ.  You are not just playing a game.  You are acting in one.  And in the process, the game brings out raw emotions.  Anger, frustration, terror, sadness and pity.  And like The Walking Dead, few of these emotions are a reactions to the zombies. At this point in the development process, zombies are merely a nuisance.  It is the human that must be feared.  You’ll understand after someone kills you for your flesh in order to survive.

I have often thought that DayZ is the perfect game for a con-man, or that friend you have that embellishes his stories ever so much.  It’s those individuals that will excel in a game that can turn into one big bluff.  Is that gamer’s weapon pointed at you loaded or not?  Does he really have you surrounded with his buddies in the woods?  A simple bluff can mean life and death.  So can the companions you choose.  And believe me, DayZ is at its best when you play with a group of companions you know.  Or just the same, it’s equally fun attempting to make friends.  But be warned, that fresh spawn you hand an empty pistol to might shoot you in the back when he finds ammo for it.  Such is the nature of DayZ. One thing is certain about DayZ.  If you take issue with losing gear you have collected meticulously over the course of hours, days or even weeks, this game is likely not your cup of tea.  You will lose your gear.  Someone will kill you, or you will get hacked.  You can not get attached to the equipment you carry.  But DayZ isn’t just about hoarding gear as a lone wolf. In the end, it is human interaction that makes DayZ such a gem of a multi-player experience.

To forewarn anyone interested in purchasing this , DayZ is still in Alpha build, so little glitches are to be expected.  Players are warned as much when first entering the game.  Some lament that the game has been in alpha for over a year, long enough to fix the most prevalent and offending glitches. Yet, despite the constant griping, many people seem perfectly content to saddle up and jump back into the game, even after losing several hours worth of looted goods and weapons to a hacker. That’s a testament to how incredibly enjoyable the interactions with other players can be in DayZ. The good and enjoyable interactions outweigh the bad, and that’s why people keep coming back.

Is DayZ the perfect game?  No, it is not.  Ultimately, it is unfair to attempt to rate a game that hasn’t even gone gold.  What DayZ lacks in polish though, it more than makes up for in the experiences it creates.  It may not currently or ever be the perfect game, but as of right now, it is the quintessential multi-player experience. DayZ is far from complete, despite this though, the random unpredictability of the game along with its entertaining and rewarding interactions make all the headaches worthwhile.  You can purchase DayZ for $34.99 on Steam.


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