Way back in the ancient times spoken of in myth and legend, also known as 2015 a small indie studio known to the mystic texts as Daybreak, released a game to Steam’s early access program called H1Z1.
At the time it wasn’t all that impressive, even as early access titles were concerned.
It entered a market that was more saturated with Zombies than Willamette County and it was initially met with a resounding “meh” by the PC gaming public.
After multiple attempts to rebrand, and fix the bugs created by fixing bugs from fixing other bugs, the original H1Z1 seemed doomed to become another failed DAYZ clone.
H1z1 honest review in 2019
From these humble beginnings, however, the dev team responsible for the initial outing worked really hard to make their game stand out amongst the shuffling horde of similar Zombie Survival games, much like an undead in a clown wig, first by splitting the team into two and spending significant time on polishing both game modes, “Just Survive” and “King of the Kill”, and by extending the early access mode of the game.
This was a good strategy for them because with that added bit of polish the game began picking up users. Things were going well and by late 2016 H1Z1 was getting closer to full release.
This did begin to fall off quite a bit during the great PUBG boom in 2017 and was exacerbated even further by the rise of the dreaded “Fortnite”, but it seems that lately, H1Z1 is generating some positive buzz among those who dipped out to play other battle royale games while the player base for the Zombie game started to dwindle.
To gain more recognition in 2017 the devs started to push for those esports dollars by announcing a pro league for the game.
It’s around this time Daybreak really started to gain momentum and by 2018 the game finally left early access and made its full release in August for both PC and PS4.
With the advent of UI changes that the H1Z1 faithful had been begging for, a separation for those who want to become H1Z1 gods and tournaments for those who qualify in the new “Pro” mode from the more casual players, the addition of a season pass for more cosmetic avatar upgrades, and the “Auto Royal” mode, Daybreak Studios has turned the little zombie game that nobody wanted into a real contender for the eyeballs of burnt out PUBG and Fortnite players.
The proof is in the pudding, as it were. Though I wouldn’t recommend Zombie pudding, there is a definite feel in combat that H1Z1 provides. The Time To Kill with the standard weapons is a little faster than the more cartoony “Fortnite” and a little slower than the more realism driven PUBG.
This makes engagements a bit more exciting and feels unique to H1Z1, especially in Auto Royal mode where the addition of vehicles increases the pace, provides mobile cover and adds a more arcadey wackiness to combat.
Weapons themselves, especially at the beginning of matches don’t have much in the way of accessories so customizing your weapon on the fly isn’t as deep, but the way they compensate for that is the skill ceiling of the weapons themselves.
Once you get used to the vanilla assault-style rifle and understand the drop, spread, and recoil of the weapon, you can rattle off headshots and increase your chances of survival without any fancy ACOG scopes or Red Dot sights.
This is a welcome change in my opinion that allows newcomers to stand a chance against more experienced players in middle to close range firefights but adds an advantage to the players who spend enough time getting to know their weapon of choice at longer ranges.
It can make the combat in early phases of the standard battle royale mode to feel a little on the dull side for some, but the wiggle room it gives new players may mitigate that a bit, and once that circle starts to close new drops of more powerful weapons start raining down from on high which can be gathered to up your arsenal or used as bait for unwary players.
The addition of the season pass seems to be a hit as well, adding some much-needed progression to the game that can extend beyond just grinding in singles or what have you to see how many noobs you can gank in casual matches.
Also since there is a skin game meta going on you can earn a couple of extra bucks selling unwanted skins or if you aren’t having any luck getting exactly what you want can also straight up buy the skin you are looking for at websites like https://www.gamersbone.com/H1Z1/Skins.html.
Some people just want to have a 90’s style hoddie with neon blue skulls on it without having to play the game for three weeks, plus I don’t care too much for RNG making the grinding process take forever.
I only have so many years on this earth, and I want to spend them playing as many games as possible.
The things that are getting the most praise seems to be a bigger emphasis on the “Pro” level players having their own match type. For those trying to take their H1Z1 gameplay to a higher level, there is a completely new ecosystem designed for you that also includes rarer skin drops for cosmetics and chances to play in tournaments for that most valuable resource to gamers, “bragging rights”.
As such, I recommend checking out H1Z1 if you haven’t already, and if you remember the olden days and dipped out because there wasn’t anything to do, I recommend coming back and checking it out.
The new additions are welcome, the community has grown significantly, and all in all, Daybreak studios are doing the most important thing a live service studio can do, they are listening to their players to make the game as satisfying to play as they can