I’m going to play more but I’m a few hours in and this game feels like Mostly Bullshit.
Enjoyable bullshit. Kindof a “loving bad games” sort of bullshit that I’m on, as someone who specifically enjoyed malaria and gun-jamming in Farcry 2 I feel like this kind of jank calls to me, but nonetheless, it remains so distinctly Janky as all hell.
It’s obviously trying to have this really mechanics-focused philosophy for gameplay with the mechanical representation of tools and equipment and looting and the way the Prepper is largely showing you around for places where you’re supposed to find tools. I’m not sure if it’s heavily implied or outright stated that I’m supposed to return to these places, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much point in leading me to the location of the supermarket if I’m supposed to end up dropping a couple of planks and flares I was carrying to have surplus energy drinks on the way out that I then had to use to heal from the dangerous zombies that nearly killed me. (Thankfully I still had a flare handy.)
The reality seems to be that this game wants me to move through corridors, even if those corridors are in what’s supposed to feel like a more open building. I’ll admit, secret passages and the like do make these places feel more open. That doesn’t quite do enough to distract me from how rubble and the equivalent of missing door handles prevent access to what feels like natural routes for exploration.
I wish healing wasn’t such a strictly limited resource and I wish I had more close brushes with death. The statement, “I wish I could find more healing” might initially communicate that I’m running out, but I’m not. I have a huge pile of actual goddamn medkits both in my inventory and in my stash at home. My issue is that these feel like a strictly limited resource in the world. I don’t want to believe that if I use this healing then there’ll be exactly that much less health available to me in the game period. Maybe that’s a conjuring of my imagination, but the small-healing items that zombies drop doesn’t seem like it’d suffice in a situation where healing is actually something that’s going to save you from impending doom.
My issue is that it seems like to balance for that, the game contains very few moments where you’re seriously at threat. Only a couple of times have I ran away to put space between myself and some zombies. Most of the time it seems perfectly reasonable to stand and fight, managing use of the cricket bat’s alternative swing and push functions, or whipping out a handgun if endless swinging is becoming a drag.
It’s a hell of a thing to walk into a room that your scanner tells you has loot only for a screech to come from behind your ear as something swings at you, but it’s so ultimately inconsequential when the game has to manage how hard it hurts you with how accessible rewards are. It feels like DOOM, where in most stages there’s a surplus of ammo and healing (even if it’s not ammo for the specific gun you like) and occasionally you’re right on the brink, down on health and ammo, and have to take exceptional care in how you play to reach a point where resources are bountiful again. (ie. Switching from a handgun to a cricket bat until the loot piles back up again.)
This game seems like it has it’s intentions split between wanting to be a survivalist sandbox zombie survival game (closer to DayZ or STALKER games where you’re taking care of your equipment for when you need it) versus wanting to be linear story with setpiece encounters against enemies that you have to improvise to overcome like The Last Of Us.
In short, Waypoint, why would I plant a landmine if I have to come back through this corridor? Why would i board this door if I’m going to have to go back through it?
It’s not like the zombies are going anywhere.