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Project Zomboid is the best zombie survival game there is, it's that simple. Okay, maybe not quite that simple, as this may or may not be true based on your expectations of what a "zombie survival game" should be. Should it be realistic? Should it just let you mow down hordes of zombies in a cathartic killing spree? Should it be difficult? How many RPG elements should be in it? Let's try to narrow down exactly what Project Zomboid offers and if it could indeed fit your idea of the "best" zombie game.

To understand what Project Zomboid is, it could be worthwhile to single out what it isn't. It isn't an "easy" game. It is neither easy to play for the first time nor does it compare well to other zombie survival games. The isometric perspective and the somewhat unintuitive controls cause Project Zomboid to be quite a daunting experience in a first playthrough. A lot of trial and error and, consequently, a lot of dying is absolutely a part of the gameplay experience. Indeed, each run in Project Zomboid starts with the phrase "This is how you died...", hinting at the fact that it is very much expected that your character will eventually get overwhelmed by the many dangers of a post-apocalyptic land filled with the flesh-eating abominations that once lived there peacefully. Project Zomboid is very much a simulation of what surviving such a hostile environment entails. You will need to forage for food, catch rain with pots and pans and learn practical skills such as carpentry, metalworking or fishing. Most importantly, however, is that you need to be very careful and deliberate with your each and every move. Zombies are quite plentiful and new hordes will always form, especially in urban areas rich in supplies. Killing a single zombie is almost laughably easy. Killing two or three can be a little more challenging, especially if you do not have a weapon. Any more than that, and you will seriously need to consider the risk versus reward factor. Is it worth completely exhausting your character, killing 30 or so zombies by hand, just so you can loot a tiny corner store in relative peace? Should you use the shotgun you found in a police station to clear out a particular area, or will the noise just attract more freaks to your location? Should you just push through a horde with your car, or will that damage the engine too much? Is your new safe house really safe, or is it right between where a large horde is and where it's going next? These questions constantly keep you on your toes and if you do get overwhelmed, it is often the end. Each scratch delivered by an infected may infect you as well, which is a certain game over. If you get bit, that's a guaranteed infection. An interesting meta aspect of the game is that you can keep playing in your current world even after your character dies - As a brand new character. This means that you can take advantage of anything you built with your previous character and any supplies they've hoarded can be yours for the taking as well. You can even go to where you died to find your character, now likely part of the shambling hordes themselves, to reclaim any important gear they had on them such as car keys or a military backpack.

The above experience is strictly based on the vanilla settings of Project Zomboid. It is worth noting that you can customise these to your heart's content when starting a new world. Fewer or more zombies? No problem. Zombies that sprint after you instead of slowly shuffling? Also possible. Finite zombie hordes that do not repopulate after you kill them? It's all in the settings so you can make the game as easy or as hard as you'd like. Add to that the phenomenal selection of community-created mods available through the Workshop and you get to decide exactly how your world should look and feel. You can add tons of content to the game, new guns, new cars, entirely new towns that fit seamlessly into the game world, or you can change some core mechanics to more suit your playstyle. You don't like that an RNG infection will just always kill you? There's a mod that gives you a chance to survive an infection with proper care. Or maybe you'd instead like to roleplay as a brave scientist looking for a cure? Also a mod for that. I myself put together a collection of mods intended to enhance the vanilla playstyle with more content without drastically changing the game, you can find the full guide and collection here.

Admittedly, Project Zomboid may not be for everyone. No matter how much you tweak the settings, the game will always reward a slow and methodical playstyle, as well as a drive to learn more about its mechanics, how zombies can be manipulated, how your character's moods work and how you can best improve any particular skill. If you do enjoy all of this, the game is a compelling storytelling engine that will give you a different experience everytime you start a new game. Surviving for over a year of ingame time and building up a somewhat self-sustaining safe hub on an abandoned farm can be quite rewarding, as is hoarding guns and ammo to eventually take out and go on an all-out rampage in town with. You have to set your own goals, the game only gives you one: Survive for as long as you can.

After what feels like an eternity, Project Zomboid is still in Early Access. This is often a bad sign, but in this case, it shows that the game is still under active development. Every major patch promises huge changes to the game and plenty of content. Currently, the developers are working on AI controlled animals to hunt and domesticate, which in the long run may open up the possibilities for AI survivors to interact with and/or fight. Currently, you are the only survivor in singleplayer, with the endless undead being your only company. However, this could change very soon. Similarly, the developers listened to the community who have expressed a desire for being able to play a character for a very long time. This means more ways to live off the land, more primitive crafting skills that help you create tools that may never get manufactured in a factory again. Maybe find ways to generate electricity long after the power plants have shut down and all the gas pumps have run out of fuel. All these features will eventually be added.

Another huge feature is the multiplayer. You could team up with some friends to improve your odds of surviving, or you could find a server with different factions and actually fight others for control of valuable areas. While PvP is currently not the most balanced experience, the possibilities of roleplay servers are endless. This will again depend on your personal preferences, as it turns Project Zomboid into a very different game.

I will stick to what I stated in the introduction: Project Zomboid is the best zombie survival game IF you like the genre, want a customisable but overall difficult and realistic simulation type game and are a fan of a healthy dose of RPG elements. Also, there is a bit of a time commitment that is needed when you first get into the game. It's easy to try it out, die because you didn't know how to vault a window and then never play it again. If you do give it a chance though, it may well be one of the most unique games you'll ever play and the future is looking bright for this title with its huge fanbase, active modding community and the dedicated dev team that's constantly working on new, exciting features for this labour of love.
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last played on Jul 18
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sorta sketchy. 5 hours ago 
+rep - thanks for the rimworld mod collection, you're a lifesaver:happyBUD:
Holgecito Jun 7 @ 1:57pm 
+rep, friendly clown <3
Autist May 19 @ 3:18pm 
+rep Erengorgon
Minimum Wage Maximum Slay May 11 @ 12:58pm 
RoBuxKiller2016 May 3 @ 5:59am 
Yea, my bad :CB2:
Deathstar May 3 @ 5:54am 
Right so you were talking about the tile rather than the hotkey - gotcha.