How to Survive may seem like just another ordinary shooter, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. How to Survive is a survival action RPG that breaks all the boundaries. Based on the fundamentals of survival, the game requires the player to drink, sleep and eat to maintain their character’s health status. Going without drinking or eating for prolong periods of time can lower your stamina, making simple tasks such as moving around and even attacking a physical chore.
Aside from finding shelter, you must also worry about crafting your own weaponry. You can use the mundane weapons that are available to you such as sticks, branches and other items that break easily, but these will only sustain you for so long. Crafting weapons is vital to your survival. Finding recipes to create new technology and then upgrade it later is the only way to make survival easier.
The environments in How to Survive are unforgiving. Nothing inside the game world is handed to you; if you want something, you will have to craft it. The same thing goes for other important materials. The crafting system is so versatile, it allows the player to create weapons and tools from useless junk that is scattered throughout the game world. For example – the only way you can carry water is by finding empty plastic bottles. The beauty of this system is how you can recycle the plastic bottles for something else once they are empty of drinking water. Unlike other survival games where a bottle magically disappears from your inventory after being used, How To Survive teaches the player that survival involves reusing the same items continuously. This gameplay mechanic adds to the game’s realism.
How to Survive includes a complete day and night cycle where daytime travel is completely different than traversing the environment at night. Everything changes when the sun goes down. New creatures and other nasty things come out, making survival even more difficult. You are required to carry a flashlight or craft a torch if you plan to travel during the night. Camping during the night is rather exaggerated as you will find these sleeping pods that come complete with automatic doors. This really hampers the game’s survival horror atmosphere. In this type of game, it would have been more appropriate to camp out inside an abandoned house or even by a campfire in the middle of nowhere.
There shouldn’t be sleeping pods in the middle of nowhere. The game works the pods into the story by explaining that Klovac – the individual responsible for these sleeping pods – designed them for security purposes. But when you consider where they’re located, it tends to lessen the fear factor when you can sleep comfortably in a world that is overrun with the undead. The option to build your own shelter should have been added to the crafting system.
Aside from surviving, you can find side quests that are not related to the main story campaign. These quests do not have to be completed, but they will give you additional resources and valuable recipes which can then be used for crafting food, weapons and other useful equipment. Like I mentioned earlier – How to Survive is not your typical shoot’em up. You must learn how to survive against overwhelming odds.
The only feature How to Survive is lacking is online co-op, but that is being included in a future patch/update. Once the patch is released, surviving will become a lot easier. There were times while playing when I really could have used the assistance of additional players (especially during combat).
Even the environments are massive with plenty of locations to explore. In fact, you can spend hours searching for random recipes and additional items for crafting. Plus, the graphics are simply stunning. Lakes shimmer in the sunlight while you fish; trees and rocks cast deep, black shadows during the night; and your undead adversaries are horrifically gory.
The music does an incredible job of setting the mood too. Zombie fans would be forgiven for comparing How to Survive’s sound track to 28 Days Later or AMCTV’s The Walking Dead – you can tell it drew its inspiration from both.
It should also be mentioned that How to Survive can have its humorous moments despite being a serious game. While subtle, the humor can occur when you least expect it. Survival books can be found randomly throughout the game. These books contain tips on how to survive, but what raises a few chuckles are the stick figure drawings that depict what you should and shouldn’t do during certain situations. For all intent and purposes, this helps to break up the serious mood the game portrays.
As mentioned earlier, How to Survive is more than just an average shooter. It gives the player a full-on survival experience that will keep them occupied for hours. Combat is fast-paced and rewarding, and the story eases you along instead of pushing you through a linear storyline. As far as survival horror games are concerned, How to Survive is simply one of the best games to launch on Steam in a long time.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
OS: Windows XP
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Ati 5700 series/NVIDIA GeForce GT240 or equivalent
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Developer: 505 Games
Publisher: 505 Games
|Beautiful isometric environments and characters.|
|The movie-style soundtrack makes you feel like you’re starring in 28 Days Later.|
|The combat is fast, brutal and unforgiving.|
|How to Survive includes the perfect blend of action, crafting and role-playing elements.|