Project Zomboid: Game in Progress Review
It is very rare that a game in its' alpha stage of development manages to provide such in-depth gameplay to players, but Project Zomboid manages to do exactly that. From the moment players first step into the game they are given full freedom on what they want to do –and there are plenty of things you can do. Pick up items and weapons, learn skills from books, cook food, scavenge abandoned houses, fortify your current location, or just go walking around and killing zombies that get in your way. The only question is, for how long will they survive? Continue Reading
Release Date: 8th November 2013
Available on: Linux, Mac, Windows, PC Download
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Gameplay: Persistent Apocalypse
Project Zomboid (for the moment) is best played in multiplayer –after all, the promise of interactive survivor NPCs have yet to be implemented. The only way for players to meet and deal with other non-zombies is to connect to an existing server or to host your own. The single player mode is quite fulfilling on its' own, but it can get pretty lonely unless you feel like doing a ‘last man/woman on Earth' kind of thing. That said, the gameplay mechanics lend themselves well to either game modes.
Players are given a chance to pick up perks which they will have to balance out with character flaws –the system is balanced out with a point system to make it fair. For example, a player that chooses the strength perk which is worth 6 points will have to select character flaws that will bring negate the 6 points (like one negative flaw worth -4 and another worth -2). Negative flaws are traits like easily panicked, easily angered, claustrophobic, bad eyesight, and other features. At the same time, you can choose to not have any positive and negative traits at all.
Once you finish making a character, you set off in a small home with a few basic essentials –mostly a small supply of food, learning materials, something to use as a weapon, and some basic kitchen equipment. It will be up to the player to either fortify their existing home or to bring their stuff someplace else.
Delivery: Details of the Dead
For players who have completely no background knowledge of the game, but a general grasp of the zombie genre, Project Zomboid's pace is something that comes as both intuitive and easy to follow. That said, the game design is nothing short of fantastic. While it is a common idea to scavenge abandoned houses for items, the suddenness of accidentally triggering a burglar alarm and attracting a dozen zombies to the front door is a novel surprise. Players will find that being careful about their surroundings and knowing that plenty of the visual content is there on a functional purpose (beyond aesthetics) makes the game so much more fun to play.
Style wise, the sprite-based visuals make the game great to play. Though there is an option to use a 3D model of the player character, the whole look of the game seems to lend itself a little better to the 2D side of things. The camera view offers players a good look at their immediate surroundings though the game automatically omits content (like approaching zombies) that are not within your character's line of sight or hearing range.
The interface is where the game gets a little confusing. The menu system tends to get in the way of scavenging as pulling stuff from a container and into your character's backpack takes a little too many clicks (along with other procedures) –which can be a drag when you have a short amount of time before the undead arrive. The good thing is that this is likely to be improved as the game is still being developed constantly.
The Verdict: Too Early to Tell
To fully consider and judge Project Zomboid as a retail title would not be fair –after all, they game is in a constant state of progress and despite the fact that it is available on early access, players know full well that the game comes with its' own share of flaws and bugs. At the same time, Zomboid already manages to deliver plenty of great gaming content to players, and just trying it out even once is already a satisfying experience. Getting on a server and playing with others makes the game exponentially interesting. And really, the only reason to not shell out for this game is if you are tired of the undead genre –which really, would be a shame since playing this is totally worth it.
Tentative Rating: 93/100
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Project Zomboid is developed by The Indie Stone.