H1Z1 (Hands-On) (PC) Preview

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 06.02.2015

Review for H1Z1 (Hands-On) on PC

Recently there has been an influx of first-person craft-athon, survival games. Games such as The Forest, where the goal is simply to survive as long as possible. H1Z1 is another such game, but with a twist. This is a PvP survival horror, where fighting is surviving. Cubed3 goes hands-on with this preview of the upcoming PC title.

Based on the Sony Online Entertainment network, each player creates an account when the game opens up, as though the game is an MMO (which it kind of is). This then brings up the menu screen and… well… the menu is a bit sparse, with minimal information and statistics.

Each server is shown with:

  • A server name
  • Game type
  • Current players
  • Ping
  • Region

The first problem is the ping isn't represented by a meaningful number, instead simply by a bar, which isn't the best way to judge how much the server may lag when choosing one. The other problem with this is the lack of actual player numbers, as it is represented by Low - High, which gives a basic idea, but a beginner may not be able to find a quiet server to learn the game's systems.

However, when the game begins, H1Z1 becomes much better. The graphics are decent and the controls are tight. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of instructions, and with as complex a system as H1Z1 has, it could put off many players.

The main gameplay systems are:

  • Fighting
  • Crafting
  • Driving
  • Collecting

Screenshot for H1Z1 (Hands-On) on PC

Characters begin with a simple flashlight and the ability to punch. The first goal is to scavenge supplies to build weapons by searching settlements and abandoned vehicles. The speed at which useful resources are gathered varies between games, as the item placement is random, so occasionally the game can be slow burning.

The crafting is very Minecraft, right down to melting metal to create bars and sheets. This allows the character to craft weapons, tools and medical equipment.

The fighting is fun and tactical. Most fights play out as a Dark Souls-esque hit-and-run battle. Most players will find someone or something to fight before acquiring weapons, which results in rather hilarious slap matches that end up with death. Using the guns packs a good punch, giving a real sense of empowerment. They also feel good to aim and control, giving a proper advantage over an unarmed enemy.

During the few games played for this preview, the driving controls were never really tested, as most cars were already occupied by other players. However, it seems to be smooth and really helps when traversing the mostly empty environments.

There is also the possibility of calling in air support packages. These act like an in-game event, à la Destiny. When a player calls in a support package they must wait for the plane to cross the map, at which point other players on the map will be reacting to the sound. Once the plane reaches the drop location a crate attached to a parachute is dropped, along with a smoke trail alerting all players in the area where to go to. Once the package lands zombies spawn and the players that have gathered duke it out to claim the prize.

Screenshot for H1Z1 (Hands-On) on PC

Final Thoughts

All in all, H1Z1 is an enjoyable, if average, zombie survival game. It needs some refinement in several key areas, such as balancing and HUD placement, among a couple of others. The fact that SOE was just bought over will hopefully not hamper the servers' stability. It is hard to recommend this game over any other established and successful survival game, but it is good and probably worth keeping an eye on.


Sony Online Entertainment


Sony Online Entertainment





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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