Observations: The War Z

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an Observation piece about Day Z, the zombie survival mod for Arma 2, at the end of the article I wrote that I would like to see a full fledged MMO Zombie Survival Game come out soon. To my surprise, a game did come out and it is called The War Z. Yeah, I know, a blatant rip off of Day Z’s name. They could have honestly came up with a more original name than that.

Normally when a game comes out that I know next to nothing about, I do my homework on it before buying. I can honestly say I got far too excited when I saw this game on Steam for about $13 because I bought the game immediately. I think at one point I shouted “Shut up and take my money!”. While I was downloading my new game I decided to do a little research, to my dismay many people were bashing the The War Z, which came out that day. I chose to ignore their complaints and go with the assumption that a game that costs $13 isn’t going to be the best and the game had just came out, so a few glitches and issues can be expected. Boy, was I fucking wrong.

Let me just say, this is a terrible game with a fantastic marketing group. Have you ever seen a video for a product and then the product you actually end up with is completely different? Yeah, this is kind of like that. I watched a dev diary and the trailer for the game while it was downloading and if I had watched them before I bought the game, I would have still bought it. It was too good to be true.

Zombies never attack you looking this cool.

When you start the game you create a character using an abysmal character creation screen with only about a dozen customization options in total. After making a character you will be dropped into one of the random servers in a random spawn location…or into a group of zombies. The first time I spawned in this game, I was eaten instantly by a pack of zombies. Actually, I think they killed me before I even entered the game because I spawned dead. In The War Z when your character dies, it takes an hour or longer for that character to become available again. Their reason for having an hour long respawn time is they wanted to make death have more meaning in the game, but losing all of your items when you die is punishment enough. You can have up to 5 characters, but I just think it’s silly that it takes an hour or longer for them to be able to respawn because all of your characters end up looking the same anyway and have no differences other than looks and a name, it would be a hundred times easier to have one character who can respawn whenever. The characters have no special abilities either, they said there would be perks you can get when you have enough experience points…I’ll tell you secret…there are none and here is a short list of other things that were promised, but somehow didn’t make it into the game.

  • Up to 100 players on each server…it’s more like 50
  • Play with friends…there is no friends list
  • Private Servers…there are none
  • Hardcore mode…can’t access it…yet

My second character made it farther than 0 seconds and I ended up near a small town. It was still night time and I honestly don’t believe there is a day time in this game because I have yet to see sunlight. The town I spawned near was one of the towns I remembered from the dev diary I watched and that town had a good amount of guns in it from what I remembered. Zero, zero is the number of guns I found in that town. Zero, zero is also the number of items I found in that town. Fuckload, fuckload is the noun I would use to describe to you the number of zombies that stomped my face in. You die very easily, if you get hit 5 times from a zombie you’re done. Getting swarmed by 3+ zombies is instant death and there is nothing you can do about it. Your characters get a flashlight when you first start off (After dying the first time your character will spawn with nothing.) and using it to defend yourself is pointless. You might as well use a paper towel roll to beat zombies to death. If I had to guess how many hits it takes to kill a zombie with a flashlight in The War Z, I’d say about 30, which is 25 too many for me.

Just forget about running away from the zombies in this game, they will catch you. The only real way to get away from them is to sprint into the woods and cross your fingers that they will just stop. Very few times this worked and all the other times they caught up to me and beat me to death. In Day Z, escaping zombies is fairly easy and the main threats you have to deal with is bleeding out and other players. So far in The War Z, the main threats are zombies and a lack of weapons.

You see that gun? You will never see a gun like that in this game. You see those players all working together and living in harmony inside this building? You will never see players like this, they will be shooting each other...in the face.

The “official” size of the map you spawn on is about 100 Square Kilometers, but I don’t think it’s that big and you can’t even zoom in on the map. Every small town is littered with the same buildings just put in different locations and every city is crowded with so many zombies you don’t have a lot of time for site seeing, so I honestly can’t tell you specifics. Finding anything other than soda cans, chemlights and oatmeal is fucking impossible. I’ve pumped a few hours into this game and the best weapon I’ve found is a hammer. Everyone else seems to practically trip over guns and ammo and then use their guns and ammo to shoot me for my unlimited supply of chemlights and cans of ham. I haven’t lived in this game long enough to need to drink water or eat food to stay alive or even bandage myself up when I get injured because I can’t find any bandages. Day Z had the perfect balance of misery and as cruel as it was, I never got bored or felt like I was getting fucked over. The War Z makes me bored while it’s fucking me over.

I remember in one of the dev diaries I watched, one of the developers was showing off how quickly you can customize one of your weapons with the attachments you find in the game. He said something along the lines of “Finding weapons is hard, finding ammo is even harder and finding attachments is practically impossible.”, it’s not exactly what he said, but it’s pretty damn close. Now seeing how I haven’t found a single gun in this game, let alone an attachment, why the hell would they go through the trouble of making a cool quick customization thing for all guns when a lot of people, not just me, can’t find any guns. It just boggles my mind. I understand it has to do with the exploration part of the game, but you die so damn easily and you don’t have shit to defend yourself with 80% of the time, so it makes it hard as hell to explore anything. Everyone probably gets their guns from the bodies of dead players who happened to trip over guns. This game is not challenging or even hard for that matter, it’s just a pain in the ass.

If shit like this happened every 5 minutes in this game, I might be still playing.

The entire time I played The War Z I saw nothing but people talking shit about this game in the general chat and at one point someone asked when the Alpha testing was going to be over and the game would be released…he wasn’t joking either and according to developers the game was never “fully released” because they didn’t believe online games are ever “fully released”. A developer got on the server and decided to introduce himself, everyone immediately began to vent their frustration at him. I felt bad for the guy, the videogame industry is one of those things where everyone’s a critic, even when they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about. They bashed this developer for a good 30 minutes before he had to “Sign off.”. I’m not saying I disagree with their complaints, but it was the way they did it.

Only in the videogame industry will you find people telling the creators of something they suck and telling them that their product is terrible 10 minutes after they bought it, while in the middle of using it. I don’t think anyone has ever called Ford, while driving a brand new F-150 they just picked up off the lot, to tell them their truck sucks and that they want their money back. I know videogames and F-150’s are two entirely different things, but I just find it silly how easy it is for people to tell a developer directly, that his product is terrible and that all of his hard work or lack their of, has gone to waste on the pile of shit they have created.

This is an awful game, do not buy this product. Even if they go back and fix every little issue I have with this game I will not buy it. They lied to everyone who bought this game and in a very disturbing interview with GameSpy, one of the developers pretty much said the ends justify the means when it comes to making videogames and we do not need that kind of attitude in the videogame industry. You know that scene in Full Metal Alchemist, when Edward and Alphonse are trying to bring their mother back? This game is kind of like that. Edward and Alphonse are the developers and the twisted meat pile that is supposed to be their mother is the game. It was a good try, but the end result was an abomination and a horrible experience that the two boys have to live with for the rest of their lives. Please, I’m begging the next group of developers that make a MMO Zombie Survival Game to take their time, do not lie to the players and to make a great game, not a shit one.

I’m not making this article an official review, but I will leave my scores below for shits and giggles. As usual, I have a score that is a sentence or two that sums up the game and a number score.

My Score: This game is a chemlight and soda can scavenger hunt simulator that just happens to have zombies in it at best.

Score: 3