First Look: H1Z1 Review + hints and tips


It rains a lot…

OK, so the first thing I’m going to do is make it clear that his post isn’t about issues at launch, bugs or anything else that you would be expected to tolerate when buying a game in the very clearly labeled ALPHA stage.

This post WILL be about what makes this game so much fun to play, the different features I’ve experienced, the fantastic dev response to the community, and a few helpful tips should you decide to buy H1Z1.

What is H1Z1?

H1z1 is a zombie survival MMO for PC, created by SOE and built on the Planetside 2 engine.

So is it just DayZ then?

I’m going to go ahead and say no. Yes it’s the same genre, and carried a lot of the same elements, but if you have played a lot of DayZ I can promise you it feels wildly different to play and offers a lot of different elements of gameplay.

Need to know:

  • So right now H1Z1 is £14.99, or $19.99 for the US readers. Keep in mind this is for the Early Access version. SOE have stated that the game will be free to play on release, with different upgrade options at a cost.
  • It’s really not too demanding on your PC. You’re going to want at very least an i3 Dual Core, and anything above a GTX275 series. However unlike other games of this genre, the low/medium settings really don’t look that bad at all in comparison, and you don’t lose out on much functionality as players don’t render in from miles away anyway.
  • It’s busy. The map is a fraction of the size of what it will be, and with 200 man servers (most of which are always at least half full). So you are going to see people, quite a lot. However if you really want to you can avoid being seen.
  • This is a survival game. Finding loot is hard, after all this is a post apocalyptic world so your local supermarket has been ransacked long ago. Keeping yourself alive WILL require foraging for berries, hunting for meat, and purifying drinking water over a campfire.
  • Zombies. They’re dangerous this time, and there are a lot of them. To me, some of the other zombie survival games use the Z word a little carelessly. Within a few hours of my first session I was trapped in a building by a small horde of walkers.
  • Your character will save to a server. Once you make a character on a server, it will stay on that server. So make sure if you’re playing with friends you all start-up together on the same one.
  • There are different server types: First person, recipe wipe, headshot only, PVE, PVP, and battle royale.

We have the technology..


“Abandoned” cities

One thing to take note of at the moment is the crafting system. You have two tabs for this feature; a crafting tab, and a discovery tab. Opening up the discovery tab will highlight all of your crafting materials in your inventory, then from here you can drag in various combinations in an attempt to ‘discover’ different crating recipes. For example, pulling in a wooden stick and a scrap of cloth will discover the Makeshift Bow recipe. This will then remain discovered on that character and will persist through death (unless you’re on a recipe wipe server).

Hints and tips (spoilers if you want to discover this for yourself)

  • Berries are your best friends. When you spawn, look out for the light green/yellow bushes. Standing on these and hitting the E key will gather you some berries which will each restore 2% energy and hydration. Combine 5 of these with purified water to make Blackberry juice to make the most of them.
  • Choose your play style. When you spawn in you have two immediate crafting options.
    1. Make space. Tear up both your t-shirt and jeans (place items in belt) and use 6 scraps of cloth to make a satchel. This will have a capacity of 300 , in comparison to the 200 you get from t-shirt and jeans
    2. Arm yourself. Tear up just your t-shirt, and grab yourself some wooden sticks. These can be found from either the small leafy bushes in the forest, or smashing up wooden crates with your fists to get wooden planks (can be crafted into wood sticks). Using scraps of cloth with a wooden stuck will make you a bow, and using just wooden sticks you can craft 2x arrows.
  • Find the nearest road. Running downhill usually points towards a road of some variety, then follow this until you find a map. This will give you an indication of where you actually are, can be useful if you’re meeting up with people.
  • Be your own man and open your crate. In the basic version of the game you receive 2 crates and 1 key (cruel isn’t it..). Open one of your crates to discover your aesthetic item. Usually a different skin for your trousers or t-shirt. Although this doesn’t give you any direct benefit, if you group up with people this can make you distinguishable. The last thing you want is somebody accidentally shooting an arrow in your back. I say this from experience, you want to be ‘the one in the green t-shirt’.
  • Communicate quickly. If you see someone else, chances are they will at least have a bow. If you’re unsure if they’re friendly or not, be the first to say something. It’s perfectly normal to be ‘on edge’ in this game, nobody can be trusted. From my experience if you don’t say anything or linger around in silence, you’re far more likely to be engaged.
  • Hold shift whilst dropping items to drop in bulk. It’s not exactly clear in the game how you do this, and I spent far too long dropping one berry at a time to give to people.
  • Keep up to date. This is an Early Access game, released early with the intention of utilising the feedback of the community. Regularly check the Subreddit for posts by the developers, and bookmark the DEV PROFILE to see their regular posts.
  • Oh yea, and here’s a map, bookmark it.
  • Typing /loc into your chat will bring up your co-ords. Press up to get your mouse up, highlight the numbers and paste into the map box on the H1Z1DB site linked above. This will show your location. (I don’t know if this will remain in as a feature and I really hope it doesn’t, but it’s useful whilst it’s here!)
  • If you kill a deer/bear/wolf you can get meat/pelts/fat by taking a sharp weapon and hacking up the corpse (nice…).

Some awesome landscapes


The Lone Wolf


Zombies for days




Furthermore, for proof that this game is a) worth grabbing, and b) how brilliant this community is becoming, take a look at some of the reviews below:

Watched someone buy an air drop.
Watched him proceed to call in the air drop right outside a city.
Watched as he was attacked by zombies and everyone stole all of his loot.
Listened to him rage for 5 minutes.

10/10 Would watch again.

> In a town looking for my mate
Beat a guy to death with a stick
Took his shotgun
Found my friend
He didn’t tell me it was him
He swung a punch at me by accendent
I killed him with the shotgun
His body ragdolled miles

10/10 would shotgun again

To buy or not to buy?

Personally I’m really enjoying this game. The level of immersion and atmosphere makes it super fun and very easy to get stuck into. I have spent more time discovering things within this game than I have with any other, and met a brilliant variety of players.

If you’re thinking about buying it, I would definitely recommend. The developers have been brilliant with their response to community suggestions throughout the first few days of play, patching out many of the issues immediately and altering game-play features to create balance. Just remember, this is Early Access and things will be broken or just plain not work. But for me that’s all part of the fun.

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