From the start, the premises in Survive the Nights are all wrong. It’s the same with any zombie game. No one would begin a survival experience in the middle of a field with a wind-up torch and an empty water bottle. No one. You would be at home, at work, in a car or somewhere that isn’t the middle of a field. At the very least you would have seen that the dead were coming back to life and locked your front door so from the moment the game began there is no immersion.
Next, and this is a big one that all developers cannot solve, ZOMBIES BITE. They bite you, you get eaten or turn and then you bite, there is no arm flailing in any Romero movie I have ever seen and there is certainly no “jump attack” (Thank you for that one Dean Hall).
Here is my short essay entitled “Zombies are a menace because” which I think all game developers should learn before they make a zombie game.
1) THEY BITE,
2) THERE ARE MILLIONS OF THEM
3) IN CRISIS PEOPLE BAND TOGETHER
4) HEADSHOTS ONLY, YOU HAVE TO DESTROY THE BRAIN
From a gameplay point of view, I understand the lack of headshot only kills in Survive the Nights or any zombie game, this makes sense, it would be too hard to have headshots only and it would mean only the elite gamers would be able to fair well.
On essay point 2 however, Dead Rising launched on August the 8th 2006 for the Xbox 360. 12 Years ago on a machine with a roughly equivalent spec of core 2 duo and a GTX7800, and I felt overwhelmed at the number of Zombies onscreen, how come in modern zombie games there are only ever a few zombies on screen and I can run past them. Actually, in Survive the Nights after you run past they just join the conga line of dead folk behind and I hear the Benny Hill theme playing in my head while I run on.
Why is it, that the only reason I was killed by a zombie, is that I was bored of running around and decided to let a small group of them kill me? Why is it that the threat in all zombie survival games comes from other players and not the zombies? Why not remove the zombies all together and let the real threat be the other players if this is the intent? The reason is simple, there are no zombie survival games that get the number of zombies on screen needed to make zombies a real threat so people have to invent the threat themselves.
It is a proven fact that in a crisis people band together. I was caught up in a hurricane (its how I broke my back) and not one person wanted to go it alone, in fact, I can honestly say being alone would have been terrifying. We are pack animals, we seek human companionship and we find solace together. Despite what every apocalyptic story seems to predict humans would seek each other out. This should be a major mechanic, radios that you can broadcast your location on, ways to share and meet up with other survivors, sure, there may be tension between groups eventually but this is the biggest downfall of this genre and the reason these types of games attract so many people who want to kill on sight is, there is not a lot else to do and with only a handful of zombies on screen at any one time, no other danger to contend with.
Finally, I want to talk about my first point. Zombies bite you, you are then either eaten, lose a limb (via machete in most films) or turn. Why do all zombie games have the zombies flailing around and hitting you? They should try and grab you, getting too close to one is not an issue in this case but when three or four grab you or you are surrounded by hundreds all baying for your blood, well, goodnight Rick.
So, I cannot recommend Survive the Nights at the moment, I have tried to play the game for some time but the game wouldn’t even start, I then made it into the menus and couldn’t join a server, I then managed to make it into one server where it was the night.
I ran along a road looking for, well anything, but alas all I found was a signpost. There were some zombies who followed me for a while and once I got bored of running I let them kill me. Then I spawned again, in the middle of a field, just like a real-life survival situation where the only preparation I would have done was to stuff a wind-up torch and empty bottle into my pockets, get to an empty field and then start to “survive the night”.
Survive the Nights is not in a saleable state yet it is being sold. The game is being developed by a first-time developer who may be a little out of their depth with this product. The game is being defended by white knights who will ultimately be the downfall of a potentially good game as real criticism levelled at Survive The Nights will be handled by fans instead of the devs (Survive the Knights maybe) and this will, in turn, leave the devs to only hear from people in awe of the game.
There are some excellent ideas being touted for Survive the Nights but in my opinion, this game is two years late, may not make it out of early access and will probably never be the game everyone hoped it would be.
I hope I am wrong and that Survive the Nights becomes the one we were promised a long time ago. Unfortunately, I have seen many reports of the developers quashing criticism where they can so if these reports are true I would urge the developers to stop this immediately, people who are not happy with you are not trolling, they feel they aren’t being listened to.
So talk with those fans who are not happy and largely ignore the fanboys because if you want the truth, listen to the people who are telling you their truth not just those telling you what you want to hear.