A Survivor Story from Infestation: Survivor Stories
It all began back in 2012, everyone was excited about a brand new zombie survival game, well…not everyone. Some called it a DayZ rip-off, some defended it until the end. A dedicated team seemed to be working on something huge, something that would revolutionize the way in which open-world post-apocalyptic zombie survival games were experienced.
I'm talking about Hammerpoint Interactive’s Infestation: Survivor Stories, formerly known as The War Z or WarZ. The title was renamed due to a legal situation in which there was a copyright issue with the name, as it matched World War Z, a popular book followed by an equally popular film adaptation.
Infestation: Survivor Stories’ Advertising
As I was saying, the game started with huge promises of bringing a super huge and completely explorable map, which would give between 200 and 400 fully explorable square kilometers. This map would be able to host up to 250 players per server, as it was said back when the game was in early alfa stages. The truth is, however, that none of these aspects were at all true.
If you see the image to the left, you’ll see some quite polished graphics, which would look good in a game; however, after getting my super awaited PC upgrade just a week ago, I decided to go back to the game and give it another try because I was one of those who would defend the game in its beginnings.
Sadly, running it in ultra settings at 1080p, the graphics of the game aren’t even remotely compared to the ones in this image, which was one of the images used to advertise the game. To show how the game would look like after it went out of beta and foundation (“foundation” was the name Hammerpoint gave to the “open beta” release of the game, back when it was still going under the name of War Z).
Infestation: Survivor Stories made a whole lot of sense at the time. Its ideas were definitely amazing: a post-apocalyptic world which was flooded with the undead, with players being put in a really huge map where they need to survive, to go out against these zombies, and even against other survivors.
In order to stay alive, players needed to go out in search for some water to drink, food to eat, and some items to protect themselves such as weapons and gear.
Sadly, none of the ideas were met. Graphically, the game doesn’t look bad; however, it doesn’t look good either. Maybe its landscapes are quite good, but when it comes to characters and zombies, it is atrocious.
This was another image that was used to advertise the game, how it would look like, how would players experience such a post-apocalyptic world. As you can see, it doesn’t look all that bad, even though the legs from the survivors do not look particularly well, or natural.
This is something more accurate, as charaters' animation is quite off. It simply feels buggy, it doesn’t look right.
When it comes to graphics and animation, I like to see things the way they are supposed to be, as natural as possible, mostly when the idea of the game is to survive the way in which one would do if the situation happened in real life. At the end of the day, fiction is here to bring that, the idea of “what if” X or Y situation happened, isn’t it?
There were plenty of what should’ve been considered “game art/concept art” that were advertised as in-game screenshots. This is something that can only be labeled as false advertisement. Another one of these images is the one below:
This doesn’t even resemble the reality of the game. Reality is completely different. There’s no “sepia” tone in the game. Characters do not look that detailed. The game simply is completely different.
If you’ve ever played the game, you will notice the many layers that were either added or modified in this image in order to advertise the game.
It doesn’t look good at all when a company advertises a game on one way, and the final product isn’t even remotely close to what was advertised. Unfortunately, when it comes to false advertisement, Hammerpoint Interactive should be given a trophy, because they did it on different ways, and not only with the looks of Infestation: Survivor Stories.
Just for you to have a clear idea of how the game actually compares to the ways in which the company advertised of the game, let me show you how Hammerpoint still advertises its female characters, and then let's compare it with the character creation screen from the game:
That’s quite different, isn’t it?
As I mentioned before, there are two other details about this situation, and both come back to the map. In Infestation: Survivor Stories, there is one fully playable map right now, which is the Colorado map. California map is undergoing some tests, but it isn’t a completed map, so I won’t touch basis about it on this article.
Colorado was advertised as a map that would be 160-170 square kilometers, quite different from the 200-400 square kilometers that were advertised at the beginning of the advertisement campaign for the game.
Then, when the game was finally released and the map was fully unlocked, its dimensions were way off compared to what was advertised.
Most of its perimeter isn’t accessible by players. Those parts of the map that you see in red, are not “playable zones”. I don’t have an exact number for the dimensions of this map, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a map of the dimensions described by the developers.
Which brings me to the other point. Right now, the maximum amount of players that can be on the same map is 200, 50 less than the advertised 250.
Whenever you’re on a map with more than 30 players, you will be facing them everywhere. Nothing like what was said about the fact that you could go around the map with other 100-200 people and never face each other during your playing session. And no, I’m not talking about seeing them in towns or big cities, I’m talking about you walking in the middle of nowhere and 3-5 others being in the exact same area at the exact same time.
Plenty of people labeled Infestation: Survivor Stories as a pure scam by Hammerpoint Interactive. At first, given the fact that I purchased my Legendary account with early access to the game, and got everything I was promised -besides my very own Stronghold map-, I defended the company and said this couldn’t be a scam. It was not possible.
Then, private servers appeared, and with them the option for players to rent their very own private server. Password protection was put in place in order for server owners to keep unwanted people away from their servers.
Given the fact that I had some GC (in-game currency only obtainable by purchasing it with real money) due to my Legendary status, I decided to go for it and get my very own private server for 30 days…boy was I scammed!
When you rent a server -and this is something that hasn’t changed- a timer starts to go down, starting on the amount of days you paid for, and going down hour by hour. So, when your time expires, the server simply stops working.
Well, you are paying to have a server available for you to use for the amount of time you paid, being this 1 week, 2 weeks, 30 days…the idea is that, if you so have the time to do so, you should be able to play the entire time without having issues.
Well, the thing with this game is that, if the servers have any issue and go offline, the timer keeps going. It won't stop. So, if by any chance (like it happened to me) the server is unusable for days, you simply can’t play on your server those days and Hammerpoint Interactive will keep charging you for using it.
When these sort of situations happen, the best way to go is by opening a support ticket. However, if you open a ticket in order to clarify the situation, they simply won’t reply to it and with that I mean that you are not going to get any sort of response from them. For instance, the first time I opened a support ticket with them back in 2012 hasn’t gotten at the time of writing this article.
When it comes to hackers and exploiters, Infestation: Survivor Stories is an oasis for them. When the game was just starting, hackers made their way into the system, and started cheating their way up. We all know how annoying it is to be killed by someone that is cheating, don’t we?
Imagine this: You have worked for hours, maybe days in order to get yourself geared up to fight the zombies, and defend yourself from other survivors. You’re walking in the middle of nowhere, absolutely nobody is around, and bam! you’re dead. When your body hits the ground, you see a character flying through the map, shooting everyone from their magical flying cloud…just for the fun of it. You’ve now lost everything.
Or what about you’re in a town scavenging for some food, when out of the nowhere bam! You’ve been shot through different walls, a super-bullet if you must, which was aimed straight at your head by Casper the not-so-friendly ghost.
In order to avoid hacking, Hammerpoint Interactive assured that they had a team working on it, even that they developed a “flawless” system that would automatically detect cheaters and ban them instantly, leading to different ban waves in which plenty of people that never cheated got their accounts permanently suspended, banned, after paying the ridiculous price the game started at, which was nothing compared to the few bucks it is now worth.
Then, the “FairFight” system appeared, in which players can report others for cheating, and with these reports, a staff member will check on that user in order to see if he or she is cheating, if found guilty, the account gets banned. Which is a nice concept, however, it isn’t flawless either.
Now, when I decided to go back to the game having high hopes about the developer having some time to polish the game, I go on the forums and ask other Legendaries how is the game in regards to hackers, and the answer I got was that simply…it is a party for them, with hackers flooding every single server and doing as they must. Quite encouraging, right?
Well, the examples I put before, are the ones that have happened to me in the last week, a week I tried to give another shot to Infestation: Survivor Stories, and a week in which I saw how wrong I was when defending the game and the company behind it…
Hammerpoint Interactive has done some quite awful job with the whole game. The idea behind Infestation: Survivor Stories is quite amazing, but poorly executed. Some might say that EA has the worst support ever, I can prove them wrong and show how Hammerpoint Interactive has won that fight. Tickets without answer for over a year, bans for innocent people without the right to defend themselves, cheaters doing as they must around the game…it is just total chaos.
Back when I was still working as Editor In Chief for ElitePvPers.com, I reviewed the game, which got then ported to this site, showing how at the time the score given to the game by Metacritic was a flattering 20 out of 100, something that has not changed at all (check here for the details). Personally, I was good to the game, and gave it a 5 out of 10, because the game was still under development and wasn’t a final product.
Today, with the game being up for over a year, the same issues persist, and so my score must change, and go lower, matching Metacritic’s score of a 20 out of 100, or to use the same method I used before, a 2 out of 10.
Basically, I don’t recommend getting this game, nor spending money in it if you already have it. Sure, it has been possible to get the game for $3 in different times, but the game isn’t worth that money, unless you are one of those you cheat and just want to experiment with the game in order to improve your knowledge and hacking skills.
Have you played the game? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.