Surviving the Open-World

Open-world survival games are on the rise. But can you make it in these harsh environments?

The open-world survival game has become dominant in the gaming world. It seems like every week a new one is releasing. From DayZ to Rust, 7 Days to Die, to the recently announced ReRoll. These massive open worlds give players the opportunity to do as they please and put them in an extraordinary situations, while letting them have their own way out of it.

In recent years we’ve seen an influx in these games; the original DayZ mod could be the most important in the genre, as some would say it kicked off this trend. The recent release of the standalone version certainly didn’t hurt--its success has built some courage in other developers who all want a piece of the current fad. And they’re doing quite well so far.

The open-world genre has always been one of my favorites.

The ability to explore an entire world, rich and full of wonder and mystery, has always captured my attention. Throw in some other players, maybe some zombies, and plenty of supplies to scavenge for, and you’ve got a pretty good combination that will sell millions.

One of my first adventures in DayZ involved one random fellow I happened to stumble across. Another new player, much like myself, lost and looking for some supplies to continue our game. Neither of us had played before, so we decided to band together, perhaps make ourselves a harder target from the undead and the bandits no doubt lurking about.

We ran through woods for what felt like hours (and it probably was), we looted food, but no weapons were discovered. Until we came across a simple barn in the middle of a hilly field. Inside, my fellow companion discovered a rifle. The other player I had spent multiple hours with, roaming the countryside and defending, turned on me quicker than a zombie catching my scent. He picked up that rifle and shot me in the face, all so he could take my supplies.

This is the nature of the beast. The open-world survival game thrives on experiences like this, pushing people to the limit and watching them fall over the edge, doing whatever they need to in order to survive, in-game of course. I wasn’t angry, maybe a little annoyed, but I loaded back in and continued on. I learned not to trust people, especially in DayZ, and went my separate way. I didn’t outright shoot at everyone I saw, but if they got close enough it was their last mistake.

Some simple rules to follow while playing such games:

  1. Never trust anyone completely. Keep your eye on them and your weapon trained to the small of their back.
  2. Loot everything. No doubt you’ll need all the bandages, food, water and ammo you come across. It’s better to have it and be weighed down a bit then not have it and need it in the middle of nowhere.
  3.  Don’t stay in one place for very long. As nice as that abandoned town and two-story house may be, move out quickly. The longer you stay in one spot the more likely you are to get caught or be overrun.
  4.  Find yourself a weapon. It doesn’t need to be a fancy assault rifle with a scope and last sight attached. It can be a simple fire axe in need of repair; just arm yourself accordingly or else you’ll have a terrible time surviving anything.
  5. Avoid cities. These tend to be the areas most set up to camp and pick off players with snipers. Zombies tend to gather here as well. There’s nothing worse than running from another player and turning into a horde of the undead around a corner.

These instances above are in part why I continue to buy into the sub-genre. Some games may not be that different from the others, but they’re fun as hell and continue to offer hours, maybe hundreds, of game time.

Featured Contributor

Plasmid Addict. Zombie Survivalist. XCOM Operative. Vault Dweller. Writer. Editor.

Published Feb. 4th 2014
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    It's a very cool concept, for sure.

    I like games that give us an added sense of tension and urgency. Even though it's still open-world, it almost feels like the polar opposite of something like GTA, where there's never any urgency. I'm looking forward to trying Daylight. :)
  • Brandon Morgan
    Featured Contributor
    Daylight looks brilliant. That sense of urgency and desperation is an incredible feeling. You might have planned out your moves and where to go next, but that all goes out the door in tense moments, like when someone or something is hunting you down.

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