H1Z1 Au­toroyale em­braces the mad­ness

Four wheels, no rules, non-stop ac­tion and in­san­ity

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

he his­tory of the bat­tle royale genre, its path from Dayz game mod to multi-mil­lion sell­ing be­he­moth, takes a route straight through H1Z1 and Auto Royale is Day­break Games’ re­sponse to the in­creased com­pe­ti­tion it now faces in the mar­ket. As re­sponses go we would call this one loud, clear and per­haps just a tad in­sane.

Auto Royale feels like a mode built by a de­vel­op­ment team that was pay­ing close at­ten­tion to con­sole play­ers of Playerun­k­nown’s Bat­tle­grounds when it orig­i­nally launched on Xbox One. Many play­ers of the most re­cent in­car­na­tion of PUBG were mak­ing use of cars, bug­gies and bikes as a means of avoid­ing confrontations with other play­ers and giv­ing them­selves added pro­tec­tion. This was some­thing that PUBG Cor­po­ra­tion patched to try to tone down, but the ac­tion it in­spired was very com­pelling. H1Z1’S re­sponse is to dou­ble down on the con­cept and ramp up the ac­tion even fur­ther.

Look­ing like some­thing out of GTA On­line’s race cre­ator mode only on a much larger scale, Auto Royale pits up to 30 teams of four play­ers against each other in ve­hic­u­lar war­fare. You de­cide be­fore the game be­gins whether you would rather drive or shoot and as things be­gin you’ll al­ready be in your car. You can’t get out of the ve­hi­cle and you can’t switch po­si­tions. The float­ing pick-ups and up­grades need to be col­lected by driv­ing through them, sim­i­lar to driv­ing games like the bat­tle rac­ing in GTA, and there are ramps scat­tered all over the map, also rem­i­nis­cent of Rockstar’s on­line of­fer­ing.

In terms of ob­jec­tive and me­chan­ics, it re­ally couldn’t be any sim­pler. The aim re­mains to be the last team stand­ing, or rather the last team sit­ting in their re­spec­tive seats in­side the ve­hi­cle while the charred re­mains of the other teams smoul­der on the tar­mac. To do this you must shoot the life out of them, dam­ag­ing their car to the point that it ex­plodes. Your own team can

For­mat: PC | pub­lisher: Day­break Games | devel­oper: In-house | re­lease: out now | play­ers: 4-120

mit­i­gate the im­pact of other teams shoot­ing them by driv­ing over re­pair pick-ups, find­ing weapon up­grades for the squad and so on. It’s re­ally no dif­fer­ent from play­ing any other bat­tle royale for­mat of game just with re­sources be­ing a lot eas­ier to spot and camp­ing not re­ally be­ing a sen­si­ble playstyle.

Which brings us to what makes Auto Royale par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing in its early stages. It’s chaot­i­cally ac­tion-packed for a bat­tle royale game. Com­pared to the ve­hi­cle use early on in PUBG on Xbox One, where stay­ing in a ve­hi­cle was a de­fen­sive move, Auto Royale is all-out of­fense. The map is large, but with 30 teams driv­ing around in Humvees, that space feels very small even be­fore the toxic gas be­gins the close in. What’s more, the in­ter­vals be­tween the gas clos­ing in are pretty short, forc­ing play­ers into close prox­im­ity very quickly. Air­drops of­fer some very en­tic­ing re­wards, which again makes for a high like­li­hood of con­fronta­tion. But, then, when you know you can peel away in a mo­ment to find safety, the risk and re­ward of those mo­ments be­comes some­thing of an in­ter­est­ing cal­cu­la­tion.

En­ergy bars above the ve­hi­cles as you take them on make judg­ing progress against your com­peti­tors very easy, al­though be­ing lured into a false sense of se­cu­rity by their health when they could have laid down mines,

oil slicks or be car­ry­ing ex­plo­sive ar­rows, is some­thing to be wary about. As it is, with health read­ily avail­able, matches we’ve seen have a ten­dency to get to the fi­nal safe zone with at least ten teams still in the mix, which means ab­so­lute car­nage in the fi­nal mo­ments.

As a re­sponse to Playerun­k­nown’s Bat­tle­grounds and Fort­nite con­tin­u­ing to draw in new play­ers and with the re­ports that H1Z1 had lost 91 per­cent of its play­ers, based on its peak in July 2017, this feels like a bold, am­bi­tious and smart play. That the re­lease of this beta co­in­cided with H1Z1 fi­nally com­ing out of Early Ac­cess and cost­ing only £14.99 to down­load is both a nice piece of tim­ing to get this ti­tle back on our radar and un­der­cut the cost of some of the com­pe­ti­tion out there. H1Z1 is back in the fight and this feels like the shot in the arm we’ve been wait­ing to see for the bat­tle royale for­mat.

“MATCHES WE’VE SEEN HAVE A TEN­DENCY TO GET TO THE FI­NAL SAFE ZONE WITH AT LEAST TEN TEAMS STILL IN THE MIX”

there are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cles to pick from, but the humvee ap­pears to be the most pop­u­lar to use at the mo­ment. and they can be cus­tomised with paint jobs if you want to stand out from the crowd (a risky move in bat­tle royale, we would...

ramps are po­si­tioned all around the map, of­ten of­fer­ing pick-ups on the way. some are smartly po­si­tioned in vil­lages and will help you es­cape ur­banised ar­eas a lit­tle faster, while oth­ers are sim­ply out in the world and could be a lit­tle risky to use...

uni­corn masks are typ­i­cally a good sig­nal in terms of where a game is com­ing from. For in­stance, you’re un­likely to find a uni­corn mask in a game about dark and evil ter­rors emerg­ing from some­one’s sub­con­scious, but you are likely to find them in...

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