There’s no denying that zombies have become the it-thing in just about every medium of late. In particular, open-world survival titles have embraced the notion of the undead in a very big way. One of the most interesting of these upcoming titles is H1Z1 which promises to be a unique addition to the genre.
Developed by Sony Online Entertainment and standing in direct competition with genre behemoth DayZ, there’s a lot riding on H1Z1’s shoulders. The decision to allow the community to help shape that game’s microtransactions and custom servers is a step in the right direction but without strong core gameplay, these features could be rendered moot. As if in response to the recently-released teaser trailer, gamers finally have the chance to check out H1Z1’s first official gameplay trailer.
While the statement that H1Z1 will be unique to the zombie-survival genre still stands, the gameplay on display in the game’s first trailer sadly does not manage to highlight this. Much of the trailer is comprised of shots of the player backing away from approaching zombie hordes, picking them off one by one with headshots. This is hardly a new feature within the realm of zombie titles. Following the reveal of a beautiful panoramic screenshot of the game, a better look at the game’s scope would have worked wonders in setting it apart from the crowd.
One feature that the trailer did include though, that differs from DayZ’s current form is the inclusion of vehicles. As one of the most lusted-after features for these games and something that Bohemia Interactive has been working to implement in a future DayZ update, it would work wonders for H1Z1 if SOE is able to beat Bohemia to the punch and implement this first. If the scope and breadth of the game is as wide as gamers are lead to believe, vehicles would add an incredible amount of depth to the player’s role as survivor, providing an item of high value and utility.
Putting aside the excitement within the genre for the inclusion of vehicles, it’s disappointing that the trailer evokes such a strong feeling of deja-vu. With zombie fatigue clearly setting in for many gamers, the genre is in need of a significant shift if it hopes to remain relevant for more than a few short months. H1Z1 no doubt has the potential to shake things up if Sony can effectively implement player-chosen custom servers but in its current state, there is little on display that deviates too far from the tropes and mechanics that have become commonplace in the genre.
What would it take for H1Z1 to gain a leg up on its competition and set itself apart as a truly unique zombie title? Are custom servers something that you would like to see more of in console titles?
H1Z1 does not currently have a release date, but is promised to be “fully playable soon.”
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