H1Z1 Autoroyale embraces the madness
Four wheels, no rules, non-stop action and insanity
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”
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