The War Z can easily be considered a DayZ rip-off, because that’s honestly what it is. It’s an uninspired, thrown together mess compared to the successful ARMA 2 mod that inspired it. Unlike DayZ, The War Z doesn’t have a solid game engine to leech off of. Instead, it was completely built from the ground up using duct tape and the tears of gamers unfortunate enough to have faith in its developer, Hammerpoint.
The War Z doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, if you will. I can only assume that it longs to be a rouge-like survival game that plays like a broken free-to-play import title relying on micro transactions not worth purchasing, because that’s sure what it feels like.
The War Z (PC)
Developer: Hammerpoint Interactive
Publisher: Hammerpoint Interactive
Released: December 17, 2012
Players spawn in a poorly rendered version of Colorado without any indication of what to do or where to go. You just spawn and then wander around until you die. The concept of spawning in an unknown world without any tutorial or weapon is a concept that works when the world is rich, interesting and the player feels compelled to explore it – not when the developers punish the player for attempting to do just that. The War Z plays like a third-person mod for a FPS, basically the game is in third-person but the controls feel unnatural. There is an option to toggle it into first-person, which controls about the same, but it looks relatively better. The concept itself has so much potential, but it looks like we have to wait for the DayZ standalone title to finally fulfill it.
Graphically, The War Z looks like a rotten corpse that has been dead since the late 90’s. The skins on the character models are poorly rendered and a laugh to watch shamble. While the movement in the ARMA series (and DayZ) is horrible and stiff, at least the game manages to look modern. The buildings and environment textures are also extremely poor. The Colorado map featured in the game is a grimy mess with more gray than a Gears of War title. Zombies spawn in odd clusters and positions, sometimes halfway under the ground or clipped into the walls of buildings. From the low resolution textures to the FPS dropping into the single digits at random intervals, The War Z is a mess. The concept itself has so much potential, but it looks like we will have to wait for the DayZ standalone title to finally see it fulfilled.
The War Z is a game where you have to learn about the hardships of the zombie apocalypse first hand – with death. Much like DayZ, The War Z expects you to die over and over again until you realize how to properly survive. The problem with this is that Hammerpoint would rather finger your wallet than put in the effort to make the game enjoyable. When learning the ropes (i.e. dying) you will find yourself waiting four hours before you can spawn again. This is up from one hour, mind you. Yes, between the time I started this review and finished it, Hammerpoint has updated the game to include an even longer wait time. Why, you ask? Isn’t it obvious? Money.
Since that wait time is a huge pain to most players, Hammerpoint’s idea is that most players would feel compelled to purchase The War Z’s in-game currency, using real money, to speed up their re-spawn timer. I’m unsure if doing this buys your way directly back into a server or if it just knocks some time off of the timer, because I’m not stupid enough to invest more money into The War Z than I have to. It is safe to assume. however, that the ammo that’s also purchasable will be lost if you’re killed – even seconds after spawning.
If the wait time isn’t bad enough, Hammerpoint has blatantly lied to the community and treated it with a level of disrespect I have never seen before. Any forum posts that can be viewed in a “negative light,” aka honest posts about their piece of shit game, are a bannable offense. Like a bunch of spoiled little bitches that didn’t get their way, Hammerpoint attempted to save face by addressing customers claims as “misinterpretations,” avoiding serious confrontation and quietly updating the store page to better reflect what’s truly included in the game.
The War Z won’t be winning any awards in the audio department either. The music is loud, obnoxious and distracting from the experience The War Z is aiming to create – not to mention boring. Loud audio cues one would expect to be a warning indicator that trouble is brewing are just a part of the song playing on repeat.
I infamously gave Little Inferno a 0.5 out of 5 for it not playing like a game, but more like a $15.00 tech demo that felt like cash grab – but at least it worked and did what it set out to do. I hated it, but it was functional. If I could give The War Z a score lower than 0.5, I would, but that’s the lowest point on our scale at this point. I’m seriously considering adapting a 5/5 scale using abortions as reference at this point. If my review doesn’t convince you that The War Z and its developer Hammerpoint are both worth avoiding like the plague, maybe 5 out of 5 abortions would. The War Z isn’t a game, it’s a scam – a scam enough people fell for to see it reach the ‘Top Sellers’ section of Steam in just hours after its release. The game has since been pulled from Steam, with reason, so if you were one of the
suckers people unfortunate enough to buy this travesty, feel free to ask for a refund and then put it toward a developer worth supporting.
[Update: Given the nature of an "MMO," I've updated my review to reflect certain areas I've been able to spend more time with since the initial review has gone live. For "MMOs" in the future, we may have to adapt some form of "Live Review" model for handeling the ever changing nature of these games. Of course, The War Z doesn't have the luxury of having a high point that's only discoverable after clocking in several hours. For the confusion regarding the "incomplete" appearance of the orignal review, I apologize for the confusion.]