After years we yet again stumble upon H1Z1. You may remember this as the zombie survival game, which was surrounded by controversy due to its horrible loot box system. Since then, the game has been sold, renamed, redesigned and rebranded. It is therefore the best time to revisit this messy title and discover what it’s worth in its current state!
A History Lesson
I feel it would be appropriate to dedicate a paragraph to the history of this game, as it is frankly the most interesting thing about it. H1Z1 was originally a take on the zombie survival genre by Sony Online Entertainment. It was released in early access back in 2015 as a less buggy clone of DayZ. The game was received rather negatively, since the only significant innovation brought about by the developers was the addition of loot boxes. Meanwhile, SOE has been sold and rebranded as Daybreak Game Company, and the game itself has been split into two projects, Just Survive – the zombie survival mode and King of the Kill – a Battle Royale mode. In 2017, the title King of the Kill has been dropped and it seems that the game is purely a Battle Royale, while Just Survive is “Just Survive”. Even after almost 3 years of development, it remains in early access, and is plagued by microtransactions.
A Horrible Experience
So, what’s it like? The first time I played the game I spent over an hour just getting it to run. The process is quite tedious and required several drams of whiskey to overcome. Upon starting the game, the player is requested to register with the Daybreak Network. The reason for the registration, other than to spam me with promotional emails on a weekly basis, remains unknown, as Steam provides much more reliable multiplayer support than their network. It took 3 tries before I realized that nobody bothered to optimize this game for AMD cards, which is quite shocking, since the it has been in development for 3 years. After switching to my Nvidia setup, the matchmaking process still required 4 additional tries before finally connecting to the found game (with 100 Mbps connection and 34 ms ping). Was it worth the struggle?
Well, the first thing that you will notice upon entering the game is how ugly it is. I mean really, really ugly. The colours are off, the textures are hideous, the buildings and even the characters feel as if they were cardboard cut-outs. As much as I love battle royale, it was spoiled by the incredibly horrible engine and graphic design! And it’s not only the visuals… The character movement both on foot and in vehicles can be only compared to gliding of an air-hockey puck. The final drop are the guns – spraying confetti feels more satisfying than shooting with those guns. After 3 years of development, 2 studios and 3 attempts to rebrand the game we end up with this??