DayZ was supposed to be the game that would ruin my life. I’d heard of its addictive qualities on PC, and even tried it out a couple of times years ago on a friend’s PC. I was ready to become emotionally invested in this post-apocalyptic wasteland of survival, betrayal, and zombies. Instead I’ve already deleted the game off my PS4 and vowed never to go back. It’s a wasted opportunity and a real blemish on the game’s brand.
Where do I even begin? The problems are so numerous that it’s hard to find a starting point. I suppose a bit of background for those who aren’t clued up on what Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ is all about would be as good a start as any.
DayZ started out as a mod for ARMA 2 way back in 2012. It gained a cult following for its brutal and realistic take on the zombie genre. Instead of being a super-powered Hollywood hero, you’re just a regular person trying to survive. The concept has carried over wholesale to PS4, though things have changed since the original release. It is its own game now and as such, the developers have worked to set it apart from the game that it was born from. Not that it matters much.
There’s no story to be told in DayZ, but that’s one of the highlights. The idea that you make your own tales are you struggle to survive is what propelled DayZ into the gaming consciousness in the first place. I’ve watched many hilarious and tense moments play out via other people’s YouTube clips. These are videos that went viral, gaining millions of views and pushing newcomers to pony up the cash and buy the game on PC. That’s all good and well and the game still has a strong following on its original platform, but I can’t say that you should give DayZ the time of day on PS4, at least not anytime soon.
Your only goal is to survive. You’ll need to gather supplies and weapons, rest when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, and heal when you’re hurt. The idea is that you’ll come across other players along the way, and you can either team up and increase your odds of survival, or turn your weapon on them and steal their last can of beans to stave off the hunger for one more day. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except I never got to experience such things. Instead, I started my adventure in near total darkness with a frame rate scarier than any video game zombie.
The game starts off with you spawning near the coast. From here you’ll need to make your way inland where the best supplies are found. Houses can be ransacked and looted for goodies, so I tried to get to the nearest building. It wasn’t fun. The game’s frame rate is really, really poor, and couple that with the odd darkness that meant I couldn’t see anything clearly, other than the silloutte of the forest in the distance against a blueish night sky, and it was a recipe for disaster. I was set upon by some crazy zombies within minutes and despite my best efforts to fight them off, I died. OK, I thought, I’ll try again.
Once again I spawned in near total darkness. I took my time and crept my way to the road. I entered a house and began searching around for something that could be of any use. I found some clothes, a flare, and a stick of sorts. Great. I made my way back outside and was instantly attacked by zombies. The stick may as well have been a three-inch dildo. It was fucking useless.
Despite the map having up to 60 players at a time, I never saw a fellow survivor. I was completely alone. Granted, I’ve only managed to put around eight hours into the game, but I really do not want to waste any more of my time, even if means sharing it with a fellow idiot with nothing better to do.
There’s really not much good to say about DayZ on PS4. Everything is just a bit of a shambles. The tutorial, which is basically a few screens of writing, does an alright job at explaining how to use the game’s menus. It does a good job at explaining it, sure, but it’s a poor tutorial. When it came to it, I was left fumbling around trying to figure out how to put a weapon in my hand while a zombie chewed my arse apart. It’s a convoluted system that just doesn’t fit within the limitations of a DualShock 4. On PC it’s fine as you’ve got all sorts of hot-keys for quick actions, but on PS4 it’s a mind-bending mess.
Graphically, DayZ is showing its age. It’s nothing to shout about and it actually looks pretty poor when compared to modern releases. Hell, I’d say it looks outdated compared to the first wave of PS4 games that hit the console all those years ago. And then there’s the poor performance which makes it all the more frustrating. Servers issues were also a common problem, meaning I’d get booted from a game after an hour or so, losing all progress. Granted, the progress didn’t mean much, but it was annoying all the same. And for the record, I was playing on PS4 Pro, so you’d expect performance to be somewhat decent. I can only imagine the frustrations of those playing on a regular PS4. You poor souls.
DayZ could have been something special on PS4, but instead it’s a wasted opportunity. In the seven years that have passed since the game’s release as a mod, you’d think it would have grown and flourished into something worth actual money. It’s not. It’s a bad memory that I’ll hopefully forget over time. Until then, State of Decay 2 will give me my zombie/survival fix.
DayZ PS4 Review
Overall - Offensively Crap - 1/10
DayZ is a awful on every level. What made the game so appealing on PC has been dropped in the console conversion. Technical issues mar the experience from the go and provide nothing but frustration to an already frustrating game.
Horrendous performance, even on PS4 Pro.
Ugly graphics that don’t stand up to today’s standards.
Technical woes, including server issues resulting in being booted from the game.
Poor user interface that isn’t fit for purpose.
Far too expensive for what is essentially an unfinished port.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)