In Daybreak Game Company’s H1Z1, the battle starts hot from the very beginning. Dropping down in the midst of literally dozens upon dozens of other players, all intent on your demise, you’re only goal is simple: stay alive! You’ll drop in, scavenge for weapons, avoid being spotted by your enemies, and do all that you can to ensure that you are the the one ends up on top, and not the one with a bullet in his back.
It is undeniable that the drop down in any installation of this genre can be one of the most exhilarating and suspenseful moments available in modern gaming, and yet, H1Z1 still managed to make theirs stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Unlike in similar games made in recent years, where the goal out of the gate is usually to immediately scavenge up some gear, in H1Z1, you simply just won’t have the time. You drop down, and almost immediately there are bullets flying. This head first attitude that Daybreak Game Company takes with their matches is something of a blessing, and as I’m sure you could guess, a curse. While is it extremely exciting to know that the first thing you’ll get in H1Z1 is a fight, it can at times feel a little lame when you drop in, and immediately get mowed down the the guy who just happened to land on that ak that you were looking for. This RNG nature is, however, built into the bedrock of the game, and so one must simply take it for what it is.
After the immediate drop (and subsequent bloodbath) the real game begins. Depending on if you are playing in a team or not, the thing to do now is do search for a car. One of the great joys of H1Z1 is the absolutely absurd vehicle physics. On the surface flying through the air on the motorcycle and spinning out of control, only to land wheels down right behind an enemy might seem like an issue.. But that’s just what H1Z1 is! One must embrace the absurdity, of not only the vehicles, but of the game as a whole in order to truly enjoy what the experience has to offer.
In a Free to Play game like H1Z1, one thing that always plagues the minds of potential gamers, myself included, is – is this thing Pay to Win? Thankfully, Daybreak Game Company has not only managed to avoid this awful stigma, but has actually been able to create one of the most innovative and rewarding loot box system that I’ve ever seen. In H1Z1, there are three kinds of currency: Skulls – earned by completing and performing well in games, Crowns – purchasable with real money, and Scrap – a resource gained by dismantling unwanted items. Now, all of these currencies are used for the same thing. Buying skins. There are weapon skins, vehicle skins, players skins – pretty much any equipable item you can find, there’s a skin for it. This allows for a level of customization that is not only accessible to even the most casual player, but that essentially ensure that no two players will ever look exactly the same by chance. In a game like this, where personal identity and your own skills are really the only thing that can set you apart from the competition, being able to customize your appearance so thoroughly really can do a long way.
H1Z1 is the Battle Royale Shooter that started it all; and to not give it the respect that it deserves, even if it is just for its role in paving the way for what has come in its wake, would be an egregious error of the highest degree. Daybreak Game Company may not have been the fastest with the bug fixes, or in keeping up with player demands, but damn if the idea that sparked this Arena Shooter revolution that we are all currently living in wasn’t theirs, and theirs alone. H1Z1, especially now as a Free to Play title, is something that should not be missed by any fan of the genre, new or old. As the player that started it all, H1Z1 will remain in history as a game that demands respect.