Sunday, 12 August 2012

Project Zomboid: An Undead Adventure in Pictures - Part 1 - Michael Dodds

A few weeks ago, I did a brief review of Project Zomboid, a survival horror RPG made by The Indie Stone. As you may recall, despite the game being unfinished, its atmospheric elements seriously impressed me, and I gave it my blessing. I promised that I would do a walkthrough of a free roam game, and without further ado, here it is. Just a few points to note before we sink our teeth in:

            -This version of the game is NOT the same version that I reviewed. It is an adapted version for Mac users (like me), which is similar to the full Windows version, but still contains a number of bugs, This is why, for instance, I haven’t shown the character creation screen.

            -The graphics are improved from the screenshots in the review, and the gameplay map is much, much larger, as is the variety of weapons and in-game items.

            -I’m writing this in real time, i.e. I’m pausing the game and taking screenshots every minute or two of gameplay, and writing captions then about what’s going on.

1.  Okay, this guy is Ben Jakson (or Jak Benson). He is a construction worker character, meaning he builds barricades faster and quieter than other characters, is more difficult to injure, and is shirtless. I seem to have spawned in a bathroom, but, because my spacial awareness is limited, I have no idea what is in the rest of the building.

2.  Venturing into the unknown, I find that I’ve spawned in an office building, which isn’t ideal at all. There are many points of entry, a lack of food and weapons, and a lot of places for those tricky zombies to hide, (zombies will only appear in the illuminated area of the gameplay screen, which represents my character’s point of view). I’m also probably in the most populated area in town, and therefore the most dangerous. I do, however, find a lollypop in a drawer. It gives me a small boost to hunger and happiness (apparently). Every cloud.

3.  A quick search of the building lets me know there are no zombies inside. I can see a few in the street though, and I’m not armed. I could outrun them, and find more suitable shelter, but it’ll be tricky, and it’s going to be dark soon. I’ll spend the night on one of those sofas and pray that no brain-munchers happen to stop by. There is also an awful lot of whiskey and anti-depressants in these desks. It was clearly a fun place to work.

4. I ingest a cocktail of drugs until I’m drowsy enough to go to sleep. I wake up earlier than I had hoped. It’s still dark, and I’m hungry. What is even more pressing, however, is that I can hear the squeaky pawing of zombies on the windows below. Whether they know I’m here or not, they want in. I should probably think about getting out of here.

5. A quick scan of the street from the roof of the building. I can see bodies on the street. They might be NPCs, they might be zombies. I can’t tell from here, but like it or not, I’ll find out soon enough.

6.  IMPERIAL TROOPS HAVE ENTERED THE BASE! Definitely time to leave. I have no way to defend myself yet.

7.  Wielding a frying pan I found in a desk at reception (spawning of items is something this game doesn’t seem to have down yet), I make my way to street level. An NPC was on a serious rampage here last night, which explains the zombie population, as well as the chunky bits on the street.

8.  While I’m panicking too much to take any screenshots, a posse NPCs show up and distract the zombies, allowing me to escape. This was a fluke, as AI in the game isn’t actually that advanced, Thanks anyway, Greg Sanchez, you plank wielding guardian angel!

9. My jubilation is cut short, as my request to team up is met with heartbreaking yet  relatable rejection. NPCs can be just as dangerous as zombies in this game, so I decide to leave old Mr. Sulky Sanchez alone. I don’t want to get the plank in the face, after all.

10.  Speaking of my face, and to add injury to insult (see what I did there?) I notice that I’ve been injured. A zombie must have grabbed me as I tried to battle some of them, and my face has been scratched. This yields a 25% chance of infection, and I have to find some way to treat this. I’m outside a suburban home, so I have a good chance of finding food and water here. My character is stressed, hungry, in pain, and angry as hell. I just need to go unnoticed for a little while so I can recover...

Will Ben Jakson find his redemption within the suburban home? Will he earn Grumpy Greg’s trust? Will he EVER get the chance to slay a zombie with his trusty frying pan? Find out next time, readers.

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