WarZ Review: an Apocalyptic World that Needs Further Polish
Hammerpoint Interactive had some tough months, for their zombie survivor MMO The WarZ got disastrous Steam release, trademark issue and negative reviews. They were also accused by DayZ community of stealing DayZ's idea. I personally love zombie things, and I'm really happy to see finally there's an open world zombie MMO. The problem is Hammerpoint Interactive seemed to be too urgent on their project and they released the game without having enough beta test.
The WarZ has some solid ideas (though you may say they are taken from DayZ) that make you want to play. I didn't play DayZ and I have no intention to start a WarZ vs. DayZ war so there's no comparison between these two games here. I played The WarZ for a week and my impression is: it's intense but it's unpolished.
The game is realistic and the whole in-game world is relentless. This kind of sandbox game has the glamour that's absent in traditional MMOs --- the excitement of fighting for survival. You start the game by creating a survivor, but you have very limited options to customize your character. You can only choose the ex-military guy at the beginning since the other characters are unlocked with XP. Stepping into the world called Colorado, you don't get any newbie tutorial which is quite disappointed. It's a sandbox game and it means there's no developer-created quest and you won't see a NPC in the game --- your purpose of playing The WarZ is to survive.
I searched for some survivor guides in the internet and they told me to find weapons and supplies in the many locations in the world. New players are recommended to join a clan (there's clan page at the game's forum) and work together to explore. You have no weapon but a flashlight and some food at the beginning, and when you encounter a zombie, you can either choose to run away or use the flashlight to kill it. It's true that you can strike a zombie to death with a flashlight... You got a better chance to survive longer by sticking with a group, however, if you prefer the loner style, your adventure will be more risky but exciting. I went into the villages alone, sneaking around the zombies and looting goods. Those were some breathtaking experiences: you picked up a route, you decided how to avoid being spotted, and you had to watch your back. The game is definitely not a shoot'em up game, so you don't want to fight a herd of zombies face to face.
Sound effect is critical in survivor games and The WarZ does not bad on this part. Depending on your environment, you can hear flies, bats, ravens and other birds. You make distinct noises when you walk on different surfaces. The background sound changes according to your situation (entering a village, encountering a zombie, chasing by zombies and so on), and sometimes, the background sound just freak me out. There are glitches on sound effects, for example, when I step on a rock, it sounds like I step on wood floor. Speaking of glitches and bugs, the developer has a lot of work to do. The game still has many animation and physics issues, some of which I came across included weird ripple effect, weird character jumping animations, buggy terrains, etc. Another thing that disappoints me a little is the graphics. The visual quality shown in the screenshots at the official site is not delivered in actual game.