by Christopher Coke
previewed on PC
Mechanically Speaking (cntd)
In practice, however, there is actually very little difference between the two. While theoretically a normal mode player can access safe zones that feature account storage, the game does nothing to inform the player of this. Once inside the game world, there is no indication that storage exists outside of your inventory. Ironically, new players may actually find hardcore mode easier because they can immediately jump back into the action with a new, better equipped character.
In a discussion of mechanics comparisons are inevitable, and The War Z has been suffering them from the start. Most often, the game is derided as a clone of the popular DayZ mod. While this is a fair assessment in some ways, The War Z safely stands on its own. The depth of gameplay is not quite on par, but the quality of the engine far surpasses its competitor. There are fewer random bugs and the game just looks beautiful when cranked to its highest settings. Given added development time, The War Z could be a remarkable, polished experience.
Comparisons to War Inc., developer Hammerpoint Interactive’s previous title, have also been drawn. On the surface, one could be forgiven for finding the two games similar, but rest assured that these are only on the surface. Where War Inc. is a dyed in the wool competitive FPS, The War Z is its antithesis. One is about leaderboards and kill-death ratios, the other about scavenged bandages and fleeing at the first sign of trouble. Yet the games do run on the same engine, so graphics, models, and menus have a similarity that is hard to ignore. Do your best, little soldier, because War Inc. The War Z is not.
A Work In Progress
The game is not without its flaws, however. The War Z is very much a dog-eat-dog world populated with the haves and the have-nots. During the preview process, the zombie AI was also hit or miss, walkers sometimes being unable to move entirely across the whole game. Huge areas of the world seem without purpose yet, making towns and highways the only meaningful place to spend your time. The XP and skill system was also not available, nor were any social mechanics beyond a cursory chat interface. With no benefit to killing zombies, and no incentive or real purpose to cooperation, this led to a game experience heavily slanted towards PvP. That will remain, of course, but once some of the missing features get added, we can expect to see some shift in how the playerbase interacts with one another.
Overall, I walk away from this preview cautiously optimistic about what is to come. I am not kidding when I say that I nearly gave up. But stumbling across that lucky find, well, that changed my entire outlook on the game. It was fun, and exciting, and full of possibility. It was a peek into how great this game can really be. If Hammerpoint can iterate and expand, fix balance issues and bugs, and keep improving on the framework they already have, this could be a fantastic game.