Project Zomboid RC 2.9: What Has Changed?
CR 2.9 is a long awaited release (though not as long as RC 3.0, though we take what we get). Since the last stable version of Project Zomboid numerous things have been changed, added and reworked. One example is that of combat. In the Stable Project Zomboid Build you could take on an entire HORDE of undead with a spiked baseball bat and win. In Project Zomboid RC 2.9 you will die to hordes, a lot, even when armed with the best possible equipment. You have Thirst, Perishable food, Illness, Temperature and of course the Zombie Infection waiting around the corner. This is, by no stretch, the once easy and friendly game that people might had once knew. It is going in the direction of a proper, full-fledged Zombie Apocalypse Simulation, and so far it has kept me hanging on the edge of my seat.
Project Zomboid RC 2.9 – What Does if Offer?
There are a few things that I will have to mention about RC2.9 for you to get a solid idea just how nicely Project Zomboid is maturing. We have two Game Modes (there will be Story Mode still), Survival and Sandbox. Survival has a set difficulty, and it is, as some people put it on the forums, a way to share your “Top Score” with others (since the settings cannot be manipulated everybody is on equal grounds). Then we have Sandbox, a Mode which lets you set how you like your Apocalypse. What I LOVE about Sandbox are the settings for both the World and the Zombies that you may use. You can set how the Infection Spreads, how long does it take for an infected to die and reanimate, the zombie speed, their “Intelligence” and Senses (they could be blind like bats, if you like). You might even want to make 28 Days Later style “zombies”, with sprinting, keen senses and an incredibly quick infection time. The World Settings allow you to set the pacing of your game (you can even set the Time to “Real Time”, so each hour in game is a real hour in our world, though you can still speed time up), number of zombies, where the zombies congregate and when will you lose access to Water and Electricity.
Once you are done playing with the World settings you can jump to making a character. The first major difference? You can now play a Female Character. Other than that you can choose a Starting Profession for your character (each one has a certain benefit) and then select your Traits. The Traits work on a point system, so in order to have a positive Trait you first need a negative Trait. Some Traits may be more useful than others, depending on how you plan on playing the game (and your world settings).
Once you are in a game you will find yourself starting somewhere in this vast world. The Map has been expanded. It is so big I cannot even tell you how big it is, since I usually died too soon. You have your Urban, Rural and Wild Areas. I once got scared of zombies and decided to go into the Wilds. After about two days of travel, half-starved and thirsty, I found an entire warehouse full of stuff! Without much thought I decided to set up camp there. I did not see any zombies around so I felt safe… That is when I entered the last unexplored room in the building, right into the warm embrace of two zombies. Only because there are much less zombies does not mean there aren’t any.
Food is perishable, and almost every item in the game has some value. Weapons will break, food will rot, water will run out. You can setup a camp in the wilds and grow your own food. You may choose to be a scavenger in the city (a very short-lived idea). Perhaps a bit of both? Have a camp just outside the city and head to the shops, searching for what you need? With looting I should mention the new container system. You can carry around items that may be used for extra storage. If you lack the extra storage space you could find yourself overloaded, very quickly. Even with a simple Plastic Bag I could carry around an awful lot of items (though I am sure there will be some fine tuning, such as with the shotgun and cooking pot that do not take up that much space yet). Instead of just doors you can climb through windows and over certain fences. If the door is locked you can force open a window, or break it. Zombies can and will follow you though. A fence or broken window is not much of an obstacle to a hungry zombie!
The longer I played Project Zomboid RC 2.9 the more I realised that this game would become incredibly fun with Co-op. This is something that is planned by the team but unlike in the previous builds this becomes apparent in RC 2.9. I can see one person acting as the Decoy for the zombies, luring them away from a building, for the other survivors to try and search the place for useful items. Perhaps an entire community building houses and forts, with farms to keep everybody fed? NPCs are not in the game just yet, I imagine that making them useful in this game will be far more challenging than any other part of the game (hard to substitute a living, thinking human mind).
Let us talk about combat. Yes there are guns, but there is never enough ammo and while guns offer you the advantage of range you are by no stretch a marksman. You will miss, you will waste ammo and there will always be more zombies than you have bullets. Melee is just as demanding. A single zombie might be easy to kill, but anything beyond that will be a challenge. A single zombie scratch or bite could take you out completely. Meanwhile a whole horde will rip you to shreds in an instant. You can knock down a zombie with a melee weapon and then you have to make sure it is dead by striking down at it. It’s not as easy as swinging a baseball bat and killing thirty or so zombies in a single go.
You can build an awful lot of stuff using your hammer! And the crafting system has been a bit reworked. There are more things for you to do! Or, you know, you could get eaten by zombies… that’s what I usually end up doing.
The Models are still being worked on, as are the animations, and there are still a lot of bugs popping up. I enjoy the 3D animations, both on the survivors and the zombies, even if a things do get a bit confusing at times. On the other hand, even with the occasional crashing and breaking the game offers a save system that lets you continue from when the game crashed, so you do not lose your game (unless your save gets corrupted).
If you already own Project Zomboid you can go to the Forums and download the newest RC 2.9 build (there are sub builds, with fixes, you do not need all of them, just the newest one). I will not say what my survival record is, it’s not pretty.
A few tips though, if you play on playing the RC 2.9 builds. The E button is used for Interaction. It can open windows, close blinds, climb through windows (if you hold down E) and open doors. When facing a window with blinds E will close the blinds while the mouse click will open or close the window. Right clicking on certain objects offers you more options (such as breaking windows, drinking, filling bottles, etc.) . Crafting works like this: You Shift + Click objects you want to try and combine and then Right click on either one of them. In order to build stuff equip your hammer as your PRIMARY and then right click anywhere. That is all I figured out for now (or found on the forums), so good luck out there! I will need it myself…
Alex “WriterX” Bielski