Project Zomboid is a 3D top-down/isometric sandbox survival zombie game where sandbox survival aspects take a front seat in this bleak survival horror title.
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Pro Can truly challenge your survival skills, creating an environment where you must adapt fast in order to survive
While you can turn the difficulty down, PZ can present a true survival horror experience for those that are interested in it. In PZ zombies pose and actual threat, crafting is not easy, fortifying your shelter is hard and a the tiniest mistake can be fatal. And there are so many tiny mistakes you can make - forgetting to change your bandage might get your wounds infected, leaving the stove on could burn your house down. The odds are stacked against you and you won't win, but let's see how long can you survive.
Pro True sandbox gameplay where you are always free to do whatever you like
There are no missions in Project Zomboid, meaning the player can do anything they can think up, at anytime they want. This gives a level of freedom not always found in games, but of course makes for a great way to just waste time screwing around and testing the limits of the sandbox.
Pro Zombies pose an actual threat, keeping the player always on their toes
Unlike many other games in the genre, Project Zomboid manages to instill fear of zombies pretty quickly. You are considerably outnumbered and the smartest move in many cases is to run away from an encounter. You're not superhuman in this game, zombies will overwhelm if you're not careful.
Pro Well realized bleak atmosphere that suits the game perfectly
You truly feel like you're survival is at stake. You are constantly reminded of the ever-present danger of zombies everywhere with sound cues. And even though it's a top-down game, your field of view is limited - zombies could sneak up on you or you might run into one around a corner. Any move you make could be your last one.
Pro The competent weather systems gives a feeling of realism to the game
There is randomly generated weather in the game, which can effect your character such as getting sick from being wet and cold. This offers a level of realism that makes perfect sense in a survival title.
Pro Feels more realistic compared to other survival horror games
Project Zomboid feels less arcadey compared to similar games. You are not an all-powerful character capable of carrying the town's arsenal in your backpack and taking on hordes of enemies alone. If you break a window to get into a house, you might get cut, if you decide to stock up on food and not use it, it will rot, etc.
Pro Easily adjustable difficulty creates a game that anyone can feel confident in trying, no matter their skill level
You can adjust the difficulty in sandbox mode, which can greatly impact the way the game plays. You could make it extremely easy to survive, but the opposite can also be accomplished with the with a more difficult setting.
Pro Character traits add more fun to the game, allowing you to customize to your liking
You can level traits as you play like strength, carpentry, cooking, etc.
Con Slow development prone to setbacks
Projest Zomboid development has been going on for several years now and has hit quit a few snags that have set back it's full release.
Con Weapon and weapon crafting systems could use some work
The weapons (mostly guns) in the game could use some work. They are oversimplified compared to the rest of the mechanics in the game.
For example, to repair used guns the player uses other guns, which feels wrong. It would make much more sense to use cleaning kits to maintain them.
Survival in Project Zomboid is pretty difficult, which makes advancing in the game something to be relished when accomplished.