DayZ Alpha review – Kill or get terribly murdered

dayz-2While I would otherwise shudder at releasing an Alpha review, DayZ is just too unique to miss out on. For those unaware, DayZ began as a player-made mod for Arma, which skyrocketed the title’s sales higher than its initial release. So what exactly is DayZ?

DayZ is essentially an open world survival MMOFPS. You begin your adventure on the eastern shores of a huge map (roughly about 7 hours walking from east to west) where you’re limited to a battery, flashlight, shirt, pants, and your manly fists.
From this point on, you have only one option, run. You’ll learn to run from most everything in this title as death is permanent, and you will lose everything you’ve gathered until now. DayZ can also be classified as Running Simulator 2014 since for the first 30 minutes to an hour, you’re pressing down the W key to reach the first town.



At this point, you’ll begin having encounters with the walking dead. While at first terrified, you will quickly realize that the AI must be modeled after the developer’s encounter with Helen Keller. Zombies will get stuck in buildings, on fences, randomly attack air, and just stop following you as soon as you run past a tree. The undead are the least of your worries. What you should really be terrified of in DayZ are the players. 9/10 times you will be killed on sight. Doesn’t matter if you have your gun drawn or just running around looking through the remnants of a supermarket long since forgotten, you will be gunned down, stripped and messed with.

So you’ve survived the first couple hours of the game. Now to get geared up. Priorities in the game are as follows:

  1. Food/Water
  2. Weapons/Ammo
  3. Clothing/Backpacks

You’ll find a wide assortment of clothing in DayZ. Everything from motorcycle helmets to hard hats and down jackets. There are plenty of options in how you wish your character to look. While accessorizing is fun, I would highly recommend camo gear since it will be harder for other players to gun you down in the forest.

So you have food and water, a cowboy hat, and some basic clothing along with a possible axe or even a lucky pistol. Time to get to the good stuff. At this point your choices are to either try and get lucky within the large cities or hit the army airstrip/base. Here you’ll find everything from camo gear to the best weapons in the game. About an hour after searching every little inch of this area, you should be ready to defend yourself from anything and everything. What now? Well, now you get to be a dick.


What most players will do is initially gear up, go to a quiet server with few people. Once you’re decked out, find a good roof and move to a populated server. Since at this point, your options are limited to:

  • Messing with Zombies
  • Helping players
  • Terribly murdering other survivors


While DayZ isn’t exactly up to par with Skyrim, it firmly holds its own in the visuals department. Think Oblivion on console – that is the closest similarity I would base it on.

Texture Detail: Very High
Video Memory: Default
Anisotropic filtering: Normal
ATOC: Disabled

Terrain Detail: Very High
Objects Detail: Very High
Shadow Detail: Disabled
HDR Quality: Normal
PPAA: Disabled

Interface Resolution: (Your Monitors Resolution)
3D Resolution: (Your Monitors Resolution)

Postprocess Effects: Disabled
Interface Size: Small
Aspect Ratio: (Your Monitors Aspect Ratio)
Vysnc: Disabled

With these settings I was able to enjoy the game with no framerate drops.


Final Reaction

DayZ is one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had with an indie game for the past year. I didn’t get much time to play the original mod, but if it’s anything similar, I would have loved it either way. The player base is interesting and quite diverse in the sense. One player may attempt to handcuff you and force feed you rotten bananas until you die, and another could hand you an extra sidearm, with which you then shoot him in the head and take everything he has. That is DayZ in a nutshell.

Grade: B+

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