Welcome to the DayZ Origins Review. DayZ Origins is a new ArmA 2 mod based on a modified version of DayZ, the popular zombie survival mod that took the world by storm. Taking the core concepts of the original mod and expanding on its gameplay and feature set, Origins has taken the survival experience to a whole new level with the help of a large team of modders from GamersPlatoon.
Set in a redesigned version of the 625 square kilometre map of Taviana, the modders have introduced 60 new buildings from police stations and hospitals to military camps and museums. New islands have also been introduced to the map, adding more locations than ever before to explore and set up secluded camps for those with seafaring survivors.
One of these new islands is of special interest to most survivors, located on the far north east of the map is a place known as Salvation Island – where the rich have set up a fortified city for themselves guarded by what is described to be the worlds top trained mercenaries. This group of AI lives their days in safety, stockpiling high grade weaponry and food.
It’s one of the many new twists that DayZ Origins offers, survivors who can make their way out to the island can try their hand at looting the stockpiles of the rich – although they are definitely not friendly. This group of AI don’t just sit on their island though, they need supplies too and will often send out squads of men and helicopters to scout the main islands.
It’s a great addition, having to not only worry about the zombies and other players but also an AI controlled faction that is out to get everyone. It gives survivors a common enemy to focus on that has real rewards if killed, and they are definitely difficult so survivors are required to actually team up if they want to make it in and out of Salvation City alive.
There is a huge feeling of choice that Origins offers the player that the original DayZ hasn’t properly emphasized on, being the choice of good or evil – hero or bandit. Embedded in to many of the new features are two different paths, one for a bandit and one for a hero – players must choose their path as a survivor carefully with the new persistent levelling.
The humanity system within DayZ has been modified to a new persistent levelling system. Killing zombies, bandits, and providing medical support to other survivors will increase a players humanity and hero level, while attacking and killing heroes will lower a players humanity and increase their bandit level. Survivor levels are partially lost upon death, however when a player gains survivor levels they will cycle through 24 different skins.
Ever wish you could re-create the bus from Dawn of the Dead? Well now you can with the introduction of vehicle customization to DayZ Origins. Utilizing new items found in loot spawns, players can reinforce their vehicle with metal sheets, add a plough to the front and more – turning even the worst car in to a mini tank that can withstand small arms fire.
With over 25 customizable vehicles, the modders have also introduced survivor made vehicles – while this isn’t vehicles crafted by players, they are new helicopters, boats, and cars that have the aesthetics of something that appears to have been made by a survivor.
Putting work in to customizing your vehicles is a lot of fun, but it can be disheartening when someone takes off in your vehicle while you are offline. Luckily the modders have thought about that and have introduced a new system that by itself makes this one of the best versions of DayZ available – player housing. Survivors can now build their own villages.
By collecting resources such as rocks and wood throughout Taviana, players can use many new crafting items to build their own housing plots and garages. These houses can store a ton of items and be locked with a code to prevent access from strangers. With additional garages to store and protect cars, players can secure their loot without hoarding off map.
Player homes are fully enterable and can be upgraded to increase capacity of storage and other luxuries. Houses come as blueprints which can be found throughout Taviana, ranging from levels 1 to 3. Blueprints come in two different flavours – Hero or Bandit – and can only be used by a player of that specific alignment, enforcing a real choice amongst survivors.
Players can have up to 3 houses and 1 large garage each, however bandit houses can store less then hero houses. Houses also produce resources to be used in crafting, hero houses produce more than bandit houses. This is one of the larger difficulties in being a bandit and also a key motivator for more survivors to become heroes and refraining from killing.
DayZ Origins also adds many small new features that help change the atmosphere a little. New zombies have been introduced, meaning you aren’t looking at the same old zombies over and over again – there’s 12 new zombies types and even special zombies with the chance to drop rare loot. Players can also now sleep in their tents and homes to restore blood, although be sure to set a campfire at night or you may be attacked by zombies.
While the mod is still being heavily worked on, the features already available do a remarkable job at giving survivors a purpose. There’s more to do then gear up and kill each other, players now have a huge list of goals they can set for themselves to accomplish without the need for PvP to even come in to the picture – although you will still get plenty of that if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s what DayZ should have been a long time ago.
The mod introduces plenty of cool alternative ideas to what DayZ is, and while not everyone will like it – there’s a lot in store for the hardcore DayZ fan who is looking for more than a deathmatch. Vehicles are plentiful, but the loot to repair them isn’t – most of the high-grade military weapon spawns have been removed and relocated to salvation island. This isn’t a walk in the park, and loot is definitely scarce for the fresh survivor.
If you are looking for something to tide you over until the DayZ standalone releases, or you’re just looking for a good excuse to get back in to DayZ – Origins is perhaps the best version of DayZ to be released by the community ever. GamersPlatoon have done an outstanding job at truly taking the mod to a whole new level. If you want to try out DayZ Origins yourself, I recommend using DayZ Commander or visit the official site.