If Survival Is This Tedious... Death Might Be Better
Survival apparently comes down to three things; kill anything that poses a threat, build better weapons and take care of your bodily needs. Simple enough ideas, which in this game, are implemented so badly that interacting with them is pretty much the only source of horror.
Okay, the killing isn't badly implemented, unless you're playing with keyboard and mouse, in which case I often had the character aiming in a direction that wasn't where I had the cursor, kind of a fundamental problem. The constant reference 360 pad buttons should have been an indicator that it was intended to be played that way and with the dual joystick controls the game is actually infinitely more playable.
You're marooned on an island that is plagued by zombies for some reason, though considering there isn't much in the way of habitat I'm not sure where they came from. Conveniently there are people around and just enough technology to enable to travel from island to island. Your only real goal is get off the island, though of course other people aren't so willing to escape and want you to run errands for them before giving you the means to flee.
The "learning to survive" comes in the form of handbooks left around the island by Kovac, complete with "comedy" cutscene. While what's funny will obviously differ between people, I personally cringed at every one I watched to the extent I just skipped watching later ones.
There's also "recipes" to find that tell you how to craft specific things, though you can do this without finding the recipe. But the crafting itself is kind of a nightmare in itself. You have a limited inventory space and already need to carry weapons, ammo, health items and quest items, this leaves little space for the assortment of crap you find, and the game has enough backtracking built in that I wasn't prepared to just dump the excess in one location and travel back to it. Secondly, there aren't enough "common" items shared between recipes; you'll have too many items just for a specific recipe, that carrying them around on the off chance you find another part of the recipe (which I often would never happen upon) becomes a wasted inventory space. It also felt like there wasn't really a gradual curve in the improvement of weaponry, maybe because I didn't have materials to build most things, but for a long time I was using things I found early into the game.
You'll also need to cater for your character's thirst, hunger and sleep as well as their health, so yep, more inventory space taken up carrying around whatever you can find to keep those bars up. While I like the addition, I can't overlook the fact it cripples your inventory space due to the amount of different items you need to carry around.
The game is full of NPC quest givers who offer no assistance, you'd think their survival was almost assured somehow, especially given that if you lure enemies over to them they have no interest in attacking. They don't share whatever zombie repellent they have though.
The realisation of this game is that it's one giant fetch quest, you're constantly being sent from one end of an island to the other to pick something up and travel all the way back.
If the feeling of doing the same quests over and over wasn't bad enough, while there are multiple islands to visit, they all have basically the same aesthetic of beaches and jungle, adding to the monotony. The biggest way the game changes it up is to have swamps in later levels. While there is some variety in zombies, you fight so much that the game is forced to constantly show you the same fodder enemies again and again.
If you manage to make it far enough into the game, the reward for making it that far is... You get a mission that forces you to retread all the ground once more and visit every island. Getting to that point itself is tedious, but obvious and completely artificial padding out of the game completely ruins the experience. I almost gave it a single star for that alone, but I feel that should be reserved for games that flat out don't work as intended. I also got it cheap...
The game is functional (just about), but it isn’t fun. That’s mainly thanks to the quest design and inventory management. The game gives you *just* enough to continue forwards most the time, but the constant promise of new weapons then not being provided with the equipment to build them leads to an incredibly frustrating experience.
Don't be mislead at the idea that survival plays a huge role in this game, it's an arcade style shooter against zombies, with the most basic of basic level up/stats/upgrade system.