Okay, so I’d not played EKO Software’s How to Survive at all on the PS3 because it was a digital-only title, I was fed up with zombie games and figured missing one wouldn’t be a total loss. Boy, was I wrong on that front. When 505 Games invited me to see and play the enhanced PS4 version, How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition (along with some really stupendous mobile titles I’ll need to write about soon), I popped up with no expectations (a good way to approach any new game, folks) but came away very impressed with the brutally challenging game with the most fitting name. If you’ve played this on other platforms and love it, you know the drill and this one’s been keeping you busy for a while. If you’re new to the game and happen to have a PS4, you’ll be pleased to know this version will bring you the original release and DLC in the same download…
That isometric viewpoint was calling me as soon as I entered the room the game was being shows off in, but this isn’t at all a Diablo-style clone game thanks to the survival elements. You’ll need to keep an eye on your selected character’s Health, Hunger, Tiredness, and Thirst meters as you work your way through assorted missions in solo, couch co-op or online play modes. The game is familiar enough in viewpoint and gameplay for anyone to hop into, but plays if rough when you get into its intricacies and eccentricities. As you wake up on the island after a shipwreck and have nothing on you save the clothing on your back and some basic starting skills depending on who you choose to play as, everything needs to be scavenged and if possible, crafted into better gear.
There are a bunch of books scattered around by a mysterious man named Kovac who seems to know everything about the undead roaming the island and how to best dispatch them. His clues are quite handy, as simply running around with a wooden stick trying to kill everything you see that’s not your reflection is a really terrible idea, especially if you play with a friend. Wildly swinging or shooting (when you find or craft a firearm) can and will injure or kill your co-op buddy, not a good thing when you’re swarmed and need aid only to die yourself while reviving your partner. You learn fast how to play separately but together in dispatching zombies as quickly as possible while not harming each other. I played solo for a few minutes, but another editor type popped up and we ended up teaming up for a few tense but fun (and funny) missions.
Oh, Kovac may be a wee bit too helpful, but he’s also a total NUT. One co-op map I played had myself and my buddy wearing metal helmets and carrying machetes on that deserted (yet zombie-packed) island during a thunderstorm (!). Not only did we need to worry about the undead jumping us from high perches, but ankle-biting mobile brain things, a VERY fast alligator that needed avoiding and yeah, LIGHTING strikes hitting one or both of us. I think my poor character died more times from lightning than any zombie attacks. Yeah, the game is THAT tricky at times. Still, it’s all in good fun and hey, you can always play this to practice for the REAL zombie apocalypse. Well, “real” means you cowering under some blankets and hoping help arrives soon before your water supply runs out and that chopper wants to land on your roof (where you’ve spelled out HELP in some old clothing) because you’re in the middle of the ebola zone (Eeeeeeeek!). Yeah, I went there, but hey – it COULD happen. Yikes.
Anyway, the bump up to next-gen has done the already good looking game well, although I know the more perfectionist of the graphics hounds will find something to gripe about here because it’s not using all the console or PC bells and whistles blaring away. I was surprised there’s still no Vita version of the game, but one can’t have everything one wants, can one? Anyway, this Halloween you can play this hopped up survival horror/humor adventure light RPG and see for yourself how cool it all is when How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition hits PS4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam).