DayZ is a game that has been around for quite a long time. I remember hearing about some of the cool stories people would tell about things that happened to them when they encountered another player in this game’s world. That’s why when it was announced at Gamescom 2014 that it was coming to the PlayStation 4 I got really excited because I was going to get to experience this game for myself. Well time passed by and nothing seemed to be materializing from that console announcement leaving me wondering if this was even happening anymore. The year is now 2019 and DayZ has finally fulfilled that promise and arrived on the PlayStation 4. The only problem is, well, there are a lot of problems here.
One of the biggest problems I’ll say right off is that DayZ in 2019 is no longer as in demand to play as it would’ve been had it come out several years ago. Survival games have blown up in that time and there are so many choices now for gamers looking for this kind of experience. The other thing going against DayZ is that most of those other survival games offer more rounded experiences and are in far better shape on a technical level than this one is and that’s quite sad given how long we waited for this to come out.
When you start the game up you can view a few brief tutorial screens that will explain some of the systems in play in DayZ. The tutorial in the game is far from the best but you’ll be better off at least taking note of what it does explain. To get into a game you can pick from various servers in different world regions and then you’ll be spawned into a random part of the Chernarus map. From this point on the goal of the game is to survive by any means necessary. The map of Chernarus is really big and you’ll have to search anywhere you can to find food, clothing, water, weapons, and anything else you can dig up. All of these resources are important for keeping your meters in the game in good shape. Things like your health, hydration level, blood level, how hot or cold your character is and so on all need to be maintained and watched in order for you to survive.
That is pretty much it as far as goals go. There is no story in this game and it doesn’t have many other features that other survival games have shipped with over the last several years. DayZ just feels bare bones in terms of features and again that is just kind of sad given how long we waited for it to come to console. Every server can have dozens of players on it but in my time playing the game I rarely saw anyone else. When I first took note of this game years ago it was because of the stories that players had to tell of things that happened to them when they ran into other players. With no story in the game DayZ depends on these player created stories in order to be special but I just didn’t have anything really interesting happen to me the couple times I did run into someone else other than annoying gun fights.
Most of the time I was just running through forests looking for signs of life or a town so that I could hopefully find larger stashes of stuff. Sometimes it felt like there was just nothing left in this huge world for me to find. My hydration levels always seemed to be low as bottled water was sure hard for me to come by. Using anything you find is annoying too as the inventory system is another issue with DayZ. You can tell that not much work went into making it work well with a controller. The layout is clunky and it isn’t intuitive at all when playing on a console which just made doing anything with it annoying. Expect to struggle with the controls whether you’re simply trying to equip an item or move something around your inventory.
Using the weapons I found to attack other players or the zombies in the game felt broken as well. Many times I would swing at an enemy where I know I would hit them only for the game to not register the blow at all. Other times I would get hit by enemies that weren’t even close enough to me to hit me. Gunfights against other players didn’t feel good either as the player movement is really bad making it hard to land shots. Me and another guy just kind of moved back and forth around the environment trying to shoot each other in one instance for a good five minutes before we both gave up and went our separate ways. If you’re wondering about the trophy list in the game there isn’t even a Platinum trophy here to work towards for that group of players. Instead you get a short 13 trophy list with some coming from doing certain things for the first time and others that will ask that you do things like handcuff ten different people.
The other biggest thing going against DayZ in my opinion is just how terrible it is on a performance and graphical level. I reviewed this on a PlayStation 4 Pro and the graphics are still some of the worst I’ve seen this generation. Character models, objects, and the environment itself are all just woefully ugly to look at. This makes it even more puzzling why the next factor is so bad and that is the framerate. The game caps out at around 30fps but I rarely ever felt like I was hitting that. In fact it wasn’t uncommon at all for the game to dip down to the teens or even single digits at times. Why is a game that looks this bad performing this bad too? The problems don’t end there either as there are plenty of glitches to be encountered as well. Several times I ended up getting stuck in various objects forcing me to quit out of the game and jump into a new server. Other times I had audio drop out issues. This is a $50 game in 2019 and it is just unacceptable that it’s in the state that it is right now.
I really can’t say enough about how disappointed I was with my time playing DayZ. This is a game that I was so excited to see coming to consoles back in 2014. I can see how some people may be able to get in here and have some fun stories to tell but for me there are just too many other problems with it that put me off from trying to have a chance of experiencing those myself. In its current state, DayZ is simply not worth bothering with.
*DayZ is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.