Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekly Shlockness with John Mikula

                This is going to be an interesting week Shlockheads. Mike and I basically played the same thing, so there may be a bit of redundancy to be had. No matter! Given no material is when a great writer shines. A true blogger can take the ashes of un-inspiration (unspiration) and mold them into a, f*ck I don’t know, a swan or something, using only their spit, tears, and many other bodily fluids. I like to think that shlocknessmonster-reviews has become a haven for this kind of blogger despite the fact that it definitely hasn’t. I mean, MMwMM? What the f*ck is that sh*t? No matter yet again! For I, John Mikula son of Jhern Mikula of the Weekly Shlockness, have come to piss on those who may doubt me and bring y’all a brief summary of the games I’ve played for any particular week no matter how contrived, redundant, or jaunty.

                Alright, now that my obligatory first paragraph is over I can get to the games. I’ve been playing a lot of DayZ this week, or as some of you may know it as “the only reason I bought Arma 2”. While I can’t speak for the suck-levels of Arma 2 I can say that I definitely have some mixed feelings about DayZ. The premise for this mod is that you’re a survivor in a zombie apocalypse. I know some of you may be sold on the originality of this premise alone but hear me out because the game only gets crazier from here. The entire mod is online only and when you join a server and start playing the game, you are dropped into this absolutely massive open environment completely at random. The map is dotted with forests, mountains, towns, and zombies and you’re tasked with pure, basic survival.
Not to be confused with 'Daisy' the beloved sequel to 'Flower'
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                This is actually one of my problems with the game. Your character has meters for their blood, hunger, thirst, and warmth levels and your top priority is to make sure that none of those meters ever run out. It doesn’t really get more complex than that. You can go about and find food and water just lying around in the environment so you have to explore the zombie wastes if you want to live for any real amount of time; however, my problems lie in the fact that there’s no real progression. It’s not like “I’m going to go get some food and them I’m going to kill the zombie king”. It’s more like “I’m going to go get some food and then I’m going to go get some more food”. I never feel like I’m working towards anything, I’m just trying to get enough to survive. I suppose that you can make up your own endgame scenarios like building a car or killing other dudes on the server; but when all is said and done the game feels formless and shallow.
Hey man! With graphics like these who needs depth and complexity?
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                One goal that I’ve been trying to achieve ever since I started playing was to find Mike. Remember when I said you are dropped into this huge map randomly? That applies to everyone and there is no way to designate if you’re in a party or not so you and your buddies are dropped in miles away from each other. For any other game this wouldn’t be a problem, but DayZ has to go that extra step to make things way more complicated. You don’t start with any maps, compasses, or anything that could possibly give you any idea of where you are, which means finding people is bloody impossible. I’ve played with Mike on Skype for hours and I have yet to see him in game once. It’s always “I’m by the light house” followed by “which lighthouse there’s a f*cking thousand of these things”. It’s frustrating, very frustrating, but not quite as frustrating as the jerks that play this game (sorry if you’re not a jerk and still play this game).
"Don't take this personally, I just NEED your can of Chef Boyardee"
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                DayZ is supposed to be about realism, therefore you die after basically one shot hit you. When you die, that’s it, you have to start over. All of your items are left on your corpse so there is a cool survival incentive to go around and kill everyone you see in order to take their stuff; however, I find that people just like to be dicks. A buddy of mine was murdered in cold blood by a couple of dudes, seconds after they urged him that they wouldn’t cause him any harm. I myself was shot dead by a guy I was trying to protect from zombies. It’s such a pain in the ass when you’ve been playing for three hours, you’ve found a nice shotgun, food, and a bunch of ammo, only to have all of it taken away by some douche who was able to sneak up behind you and get a quick shot off.

                But what may be the most frustrating aspect of this game are all the glitches and bugs. Sometimes items will float in the air and you can’t grab them, zombies will walk through walls, your character will perpetually walk left, and you’ll be teleported to a specific spot over and over again after hours of traveling. This mod is extremely buggy and not in a funny way either. These glitches are extremely irritating. I know the game is in alpha still so I’m going to cut it some slack; but be warned, if you are trying to get into this game, look out for these bugs because they’re fierce and they’re hungry for blood.
Relax. It's all part of the game
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                Now, I’ve done a lot of bitching about DayZ, and it clearly does a lot of things that I can’t praise, but god damnit part of me still kind of likes this game. I really like the ideas and the spirit behind this game. A hyper realistic zombie survival game in a huge open world that you can do basically whatever you want in; that sounds really cool! I’ve taken to calling DayZ a ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ kind of game. Wouldn’t it be cool if you’re dropped into a zombie apocalypse with no tools of survival? Wouldn’t it be cool if you had to find food and water to survive? Wouldn’t it be cool if you had to use the stars to navigate and find your friends? While all of that sounds really cool, none of it works really well. The game certainly has its audience; however, I find that it’s tedious, boring, buggy, and not a whole lot of fun. My recommendation is to do a bit of research and know what you’re getting into before you shell out the thirty bucks for Arma 2 so you can play this mod. Be sure that you’ll be into this kind of experience lest you waste your precious, precious cash.
              I think that covers all of the bases for DayZ. My heart goes out to Mike who now has to write another post all about DayZ even though I think I’ve said everything that needs to be said. That’s the beauty of not being constrained to alliteration. If my name was Timmy and my column was called ‘Timmy’s Tuesdays’, I’d be screwed. But Mike’s a smart dude and I’m sure he’ll think of something to say; and who knows, maybe he liked the game more than I did and will have a few nice things to say. Beyond all of that I got a chance to play a little El Shaddai again, which is part of the reason this post is up so late. I don’t have much more to say about that game, it’s still very good and I hope to finish it one of these days. On that note I must say that it’s getting late and this Shlockness Monster needs his rest. G’night y’all!

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