This review is based on the 1.7.1 patch and everything in this review is open to change. DayZ is a survival horror mod for the PC game Arma 2 and even though it’s still in the Alpha stage of development it’s probably the best mod I’ve played in years. The game is based around the Zombie Apocalypse idea and takes place in the fictional post-soviet island of ‘Chernarus’. The island stretches around 225KM2 and around 100KM2 of that are forest, in the island you can find small towns and cities that have many enter-able buildings and houses for you to explore, including super markets and hospitals. The main idea of the game is to find supplies and weapons and try to survive against the zombies that will run after you if they hear you shoot a gun or if you get too close, if this happens they also attract more zombies. The whole game is played online so you join a server using the in-game server browser. When you first start off you spawn near the coast and it is up to you to find out where to go all you are equipped with are the basic items you need to stay alive: A pistol, food, water and medical equipment such as bandages and painkillers.
You may think that the only threat in the game are zombies but other players can be more of a danger, friendly fire is turned on so if you get spotted by a rather unfriendly person they will just shoot you down and take all your stuff and once you die… there is no re-spawning you have to make a whole new character and start all over again. So if you’ve found a revolver or a AK-47 when you die you lose it all and the person who has killed you gets to take your items from your body. And if you start a fight in a town where a lot of zombies tend to hang around then if they hear loud gun shots they’ll start running in and attracting other players and zombies.
As well as the constant threat of zombies and the paranoia of being on a server that’s full of 50 other people who could be hiding in any location and who could be watching your every move you have to be on the look out for food and water. You have a heads up display on the right hand side of your screen indicating your current status. The main 3 you have to look out for are the bottom three. The bottle shows your thirst level so the redder the color gets the more your character is getting thirsty. The blood drop icon is your health, you start off with it green but if you get attacked by zombies or start to bleed, you have to bandage yourself and hope you have not lost a lot of blood. The last icon is your hunger level which when you eat allows you restore your blood level. Canned food restores 200 blood and cooked meat restores 800 blood. The other 2 icons are not so important: the face icon shows your humanity level, the angrier the face looks, the lower your humanity is at the moment. The game does not got a proper use for this system, as that the game is still in its alpha stage, but later on in the game it will have a better application. And finally the temperature icon means how hot or cold your character is. This only really comes into account if it is raining. If you go below 30oC then your character could become ill, so to avoid this you need to start a camp fire to warm yourself up or find shelter from the rain.
You mainly find good weapons in the main towns and cities but near the middle of the map there is an airbase that contains a lot of good weapons, like automatic guns (for example M4′s) to backpacks that allow you to carry more items. Because of all these factors, this is a high priority place for other players so when you arrive there it is a good idea to be careful and not to make any unnecessary noise by shooting zombies that are not a threat. Because remember, if people hear you and they have good gear they’ll come and hunt you down. The whole setup of the game does take a while and you might run into some issues while trying to play the game. You need a copy of Arma 2 and the expansion pack Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead to be able to play this mod. Currently they are selling for £25 on steam for the “Arma 2: Combined Operations” pack and that’ll give you everything you need to be able to play the game. The main DayZ site gives you all the information you need including the mod files themselves http://www.dayzmod.com/. This mod is definitely worth a look and many other people, like me, have bought the Arma 2 pack just to play this mod. It is seriously the best mod I have seen and played in years. Even though the game does have its bugs, this is expected because it is still in the Alpha stage of development. I can’t wait to see what it’s like in future updates. So because of the current release’s bugs, it is not a 5 out of 5, but I’m confidant all of these will be ironed out in the future patches.