There are already a lot to be said about games going on “Early Access”, but that is not to say that H1Z1's release in January 2015 has been done haphazardly. Sure, it arrived with some problems and issues, but it has been a long time since and the game has proven to be something truly worth looking forward to. But what is H1Z1 like right now, and what does the current state of the game tell us about the direction it is heading?
What is H1Z1?
The simplest way to describe H1Z1 is DayZ on steroids. The map is significantly larger, combat is more complex, there are no safe zones, and you can get into practically every single structure that exists in the game. But of course, H1Z1 is more than just another generic zombie apocalypse survival game, it is has many core elements that makes it truly unique and worth playing.
The game is set in a locale based on the Povegia Island which was the real life site of a plague colony. According to developers, this basis is even used in the game's main storyline. Players control customized, self-generated characters and must find ways to gain weapons, equipment, and resources as they keep moving from one place to another or find a suitable location to try and secure.
Everything is Accessible
One of the things we love about this game is the scavenging system. You can move around carefully and poke around drawers and cabinets, but you also have to be careful about the noise you generate. Causing a lot of noise will attract the attention of zombies, but at the same time, it also makes scavenging a much faster process (and doing things fast is a good thing since there is a limit to the amount of the amount of time you have each day). On the other, you can slow down the speed, but you also generate less noise. This emphasis to detail is something we expect to see given to other parts of the game as well, such as being able to customize locations for self -made forts, as well as with the item creation and crafting systems.
The developers also confirmed that all structures in the game can be explored by the players. This is a whole lot of content and making just a small town with a few buildings is already quite a lot. The devs have been even quoted that they hope the final game map size would be the as large as a state or possible even an entire country. That seems all fun and good, as long as players actually have worthwhile things to explore. Otherwise, it will just be a huge map full of nothing but generic buildings and a lot of zombies. The good thing is, the developers seem to know what they are doing.
Build It Up
Right now, players in H1Z1 are fully enjoying the ability to build stuff -and by build we mean entire rooms and floors of houses. This is currently what makes the game so fun to play and is one of the more welcome enhancements that have come through the many horror survival games over the past decade in mmo format (see dead games for the full list) . There are a large mixture of things you can do, such as set up outdoor grills, make a farm to grow food, build secure doors. In many ways, it feels a lot like the Sims house creation system was dropped into a zombie game, of course, H1Z1 makes it even more satisfying as you have to build everything up from scratch.
The Curse of Early Access
As the game is still a work in progress, be warned: there are a ton of bugs in the game. As well as a lot of glitches and stuff that need fixing. Early Access is no longer a term that means you get to play a complete game ahead of everyone else, it basically means you paid to test an early build (alpha/beta/whichever) of a game. This is not inherently bad thing -as long as you know exactly what you are buying into. But many players who are against the concept of Early Access should be warned regardless.
Too Early to Tell
With all the constant developer updates and the fact that the people behind the game actually seem to care what the players in the game think, we'd say that H1Z1 is heading in a very favorable direction. Sure, all the complaints easily outpace the speed by which stuff get fixed, but that's a norm for most developer studious. The good thing is that the evolutionary steps that the game has taken since its release has been very noteworthy, especially for the players. With a tentative complete release to be made this year, it seems that the developers will be able to include a huge amount of what they promised in the retail build of the game.