Wednesday, 26 December 2018

H1Z1 ★★★☆☆

I should probably preface this with the fact that I’m not a fan of PUBG, not anymore. I used to be, certainly. As the popularity continued to grow I was right there, caught up in the hype. PUBG scratched that itch that no other game had before it, battle-royale or otherwise. It was clunky, it was unoptimised, the core mechanics needed some rethinking, but still… 

That slow, creeping tension of moving from one location to the next, every noise triggering a primal moment of panic; fight or flight? That experience was unmatched and kept me playing for a constant thirty hours. Yet, it grew stale. Quickly. I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since I last played.

I say that with an air of sadness because it had so much potential. And for some, it has achieved that potential. For me, not so much. In short, I find it to be too slow, too sluggish, too… uneventful to remain tense. Which brings me on to H1Z1. Despite having existed prior to PUBG, its popularity - well, player base - has increased since the switch to a free-to-play model.

I must be honest here; I have had far more fun with H1Z1 than I have with PUBG. Despite the fact that, on a technical level, H1Z1 is rougher than the two, the slightly faster pace and lighter tone made me more eager to immediately start another match after death. The core elements are the same: parachute down, find a weapon, find a backpack, armour, health kits, and stay alive whilst doing so. 

The gunplay is certainly less ‘realistic’ for lack of a better word, and movement favours speed over positioning and sound. Less engaging, maybe, but it keeps the pace up, and that’s the sticking point for me. The best way to explain it is to, of course, mention that other popular battle-royale game: Fortnite. Though less polished, H1Z1 plays like Fortnite without the building. Lighter, quicker, and more frantic. Plus, it too is free.

In short, H1Z1 is the midpoint of the two battle-royale giants. If the building aspect of Fortnite doesn’t appeal to you, and if you find the slower realism of PUBG is too tedious, well, that’s where H1Z1 comes in. Why take my word for it, though? It’s free, after all.

Lewis Hill

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