How we would survive a zombie apocalypse is a question that has been addressed over and over again in fiction. The Walking Dead, The Last of Us, Days Gone… There are many works that have warned us about what survival would be like among the infected undead, with interesting reflections on the decline of human values in extreme situations. Now it is the turn of Undawn, the MMORPG from Lightspeed Studios and Tencent Games that approach this genre with a perspective that emphasizes a formula that has proven to be very addictive in recent times: shooting, construction and resource management. Next June 15 we will have it available on PC and mobile. At MeriStation we have attended his presentation and today we tell you our impressions.
The ABC’s of the Z genre
Undawn is introduced to us as an open world struck by a zombie catastrophe, with the usual topics of the genre: wild nature that makes its way between decaying ruins, abandoned and dumpy buildings. Our character, who arrives unconscious on a beach, has the sole objective of surviving. And, of course, he cannot go on alone, so he will soon find a settlement in which to build a new life.
With PVP and PVE confirmed, our experience was based on the first few missions of the game that double as the tutorial. Little by little we will learn the basic mechanics of the game, adapted to the usual mobile controls where you can press on the sides of the screen, where we also have the menus. With the third-person perspective, which evokes a Fortnite, we will have to face hordes of zombies that move at a light speed. On the other hand, we will also have to deal with wild fauna such as bears and wolves, and we are in the classic post-apocalypse in which nature has reclaimed its position. Our daily bread will be to have an inventory with weapons and an ammunition briefcase to be able to manufacture more bullets as soon as we are left empty-handed. Melee weapons will also be essential when we find ourselves cornered. For the player used to mobile games, the controls will be very intuitive, and we have noticed that the aim is quite precise.
Costumbrismo in zombie times
Likewise, in Undawn certain rules that we have already learned from the Z genre apply. A shot to the head is lethal, the noise alerts them and at night they are more numerous, while humans feel more afraid. However, there is a rule that we found curious: body odor makes us bait. Therefore, we must remember to bathe and wash clothes when we return from an expedition. And it is that self-care is going to be one of the most important pillars of survival: being well hydrated, fed and rested will be essential, as well as going to the bathroom regularly.
Health will be endangered not only by possible infections and injuries, but also by diseases that we can contract like a simple cold, which can periodically decrease the life bar. Likewise, the weather will be an important factor: we not only have cycles of day and night, but also dynamic atmospheric changes that will make us experience sunny days, storms or rain. We will also collect clothes on our expeditions, and our changes of look will be commented on by our colleagues.
In Undawn, also, not everything will be shots, although this will be an important part, but everyday life in an apocalyptic world. With this, we will be able to interact with other characters and complete missions such as fixing a radio to search for more survivors, rescuing a partner and, as expected, protecting our home from waves of attacks. Likewise, our actions and lines of dialogue will shape our relationships; It will be possible to build friendships, although we have been confirmed that it will not be possible to have romances in Undawn. And, as usual in the Z genre, we will also discover that there is no creature more dangerous for humans than humans themselves: we will face dangerous factions such as the Owl Gang, the Clowns, the Pickpockets and the Eagles. And this, although they are not official translations of the names, we do confirm that the game will be localized into Spanish.
Build your own anti-zombie hut
In a new post-apocalyptic mannerism the other main mechanic of Undawn comes online: the construction. In some moments, we will have to create our own shelters, with a very deep construction level that will require the collection of raw materials such as wood and stone. In addition to creating furniture and decoration, we can have our gardens to grow our food. And, of course, we will have to defend our home from enemies.
Regarding monetization, Undawn follows a system free to playwith purchases in-game to acquire skins and displacement vehicles. Undoubtedly, it shows that the direction is to create an MMORPG that immerses us in hours of play, and where we ourselves can choose what to do in each adventure, where we can spend a relaxing day crafting and building or also have a dose of adrenaline when risking our lives against the zombies.
And yet Undawn has seemed a superfluous portrayal of the zombie apocalypse, even within its fantasy context. The plots we’ve experienced have been extremely clichéd for us, although we might see interesting twists in the full story, and the expressionless faces of the survivors give us a rather cold feeling for the immersion we’d expect in an RPG title. And, regarding the design, we are struck by a dichotomy that is already obsolete in open-world games: while there is a variety of male characters (attractive, elderly, overweight, thin), they are almost always young-faced. boyish and slender body, all except children. Perhaps, in other bars of the game, we do see more diversity, although for the moment it only occurs in one direction.
The Undawn apocalypse is coming soon. Meanwhile, let’s prepare our planks and clean our shotguns so as not to fall in the way of zombies.