Monday, January 23, 2012

Project Zomboid - Impressions

A month ago, I was asked to try out Project Zomboid, a new Zombie Survial game created by indie group "Indie Stone". Now the game has recieved several updates since I last tried the demo, including a sandbox mode. Even with the small amount of features currently present, easily becoming the most "realistic" zombie survival game to date.

From Resident Evil to Dead Island, gamers all over can’t seem to get enough of zombies. The market has been flooded with all kinds of zombie games recently, but none of them come close to recreating the vibe and feel of a “realistic” zombie survival as portrayed in movies such as Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later…

In enters “Project Zomboid”, a new kind of action RPG that’s set out to prove it’s not just another mindless zombie shootout. The available tech demo gives players just a little taste of what to expect from the final game, and I dived right in.

The demo starts off by telling you that you’re pretty much a goner. No matter what happens, YOU WILL DIE. Sounds kind of depressing, but I suppose how I end up dying should be interesting. The game opens up as a generic everyman named Bob Smith is standing in a bedroom with his wife: Kate Smith, who’s lying down on the bed with a bleeding leg.

From that moment, the game demonstrates a very simple crafting system that lets players take most items from the game world to create new items. From the craft window, I created bandages made out of ripped up bed sheets to use on Kate’s wounds. Moments after, I was using the same crafting system to create barricades around the house with a hammer, wood and nails.

After taking a nap, it was time to head outside for some food.

Walking to the next house over, I had to search the kitchen for food, and inside... A straggling zombie! I had to fight the thing off with my hammer. Trying to fight against that single zombie took a bit of getting used to: Holding down shift to ready your weapon, aim with mouse and attack with left mouse button. Attacking felt somewhat clunky, but it works… sort of.

After I grabbed a can of soup, I raced back to the safehouse. Time to make some dinner.

Using the craft window with a can opener and a pot found in the kitchen, I made some soup and stuck it in the oven to cook for a while. Upstairs back in Kate’s room, the radio picked up a signal. Word from the outside staying that the government isn’t doing much about the quarantined town we were in. Then Kate says that she smells something burning and…

Oh shi-

Apparently: leaving the stove on for too long means that a fire could start. I tried to put it out, but that didn’t work out so well.

Death #1

Ok… let’s try that again.

I went through the same routine as last time, with the exception that I turned off the stove this time. During the radio transmission, I noticed that someone was breaking into my safe house:

Looks like there’s other survivors around the town, and not all of them plan to be friendly. The armed man made me head up to Kate’s room and said that he was planning to take over the house. He threated to kill Kate as he suspected that she could be infected do to the bleeding wound. I wanted to see if I could save her, but the moment I took a step, the armed man took a shot at me.

Death #2

Made another run through up to where the armed man comes in, but this time I hid in the bathroom inside Kate’s room. The armed man confronted Kate on the bed, and I slowly walked up to the guy and bashed his head in. Kate’s safe and sound, and I got myself a shiny new bat and shotgun.

After eating the soup and getting more sleep, I decided to leave the house for good, but I barricaded the doors to the safe house from the outside, just in case. All around town, zombies were swarming, and I was taking out as many as I could as I walked from house to house looking for more supplies. Most of the food I found was either rotting or in the process of rotting, so I was mostly living off bags of potato chips and soda.

One house I was rummaging for supplies also had zombies swarming around the front, so I had to shotgun blast my way out.

Unfortunately, I got scratched in the head by one zombie on my way out and had to search for a first aid kit. I wanted to use the same bandages I used on Kate’s wounds to patch up mine, but it didn’t work for some reason.

With a sore head and an invisible bag filled with soda and chips, I searched more houses, including some locked houses that I busted into. It’s been about three to five in-game days since then, and I was determined to survive as long as possible.

I managed to find some more shotgun shells and some painkillers, as well as some gasoline that I used to make a Molotov with a lighter and an empty beer bottle. As expected more zombies showed up, but I kept on moving. My character was getting tired from all the running, so I had to rest up inside an empty convenience store. Unfortunately, I made the fatal mistake of leaving the doors open before taking a nap, letting several zombies inside to attack me while I was trying to sleep. I managed to kill all the zombies inside, but I gained several fatal injuries. I decided that the store was going to my last stand, and I wanted to go down in a blaze of glory by killing as many zombies as possible before torching the place, but sadly my injuries took me out first.

Death #3

Through several play-through, I’d have to say I’m fairly impressed by how much this single tech demo has to offer. It only had one scenario, but the promise of multiple scenarios and a possible multiplayer co-op mode could make Project Zomboid be the most ambitious zombie game ever.


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