DayZ Arma 3: the reason you should play the DayZ mod again

I'm inside of a wall, inside of a fire station. I see a fellow survivor—only not really, because I'm inside of a wall. Mashing V repeatedly, I slowly slide down to the ground floor of the four-story tower. As my feet touch the floor, I sprint back into the traversable interior of the fire station and begin the hunt. I step outside and immediately spot N3m3sis. Zeroing in on his head, I pull the trigger and he drops to the ground.

DayZ players everywhere anxiously await the impending launch of the DayZ Standalone's alpha. People aren't content with the dated graphics, the endless list of bugs, and the general state of the DayZ mod. DayZ Arma 3 is here to change that. The Zoombies team has ported the DayZ mod straight into Arma 3. You'll be seeing the exact same models, zombies, and weapons rendered in the full glory of the Arma 3 engine. Let me be the first to say that it looks absolutely amazing.

On my rig, DayZ Arma 3 runs much better than the standard DayZ mod—a credit to Bohemia's Arma 3 optimization. Even if many of the textures are just upscaled, the difference in lighting and detail is terrific. Even the guns look amazing. In the DayZ mod, the Lee Enfield is abhorred by experienced players everywhere for being an aural flare gun. Shooting it alerts every zombie within an almost ridiculously large radius. In DayZ Arma 3, that same gun transforms into a beautiful amalgamation of wood and metal. It's not functionally different, but it looks amazing. Throw in Arma 3's improved physics and all the weapons feel as powerful as they look.

The ragdoll physics of Arma 3 are hilariously applied to the zombies. One minute they're alive and well, zigzagging across Chernarus for a chance to take a swipe at you. The next, they're somersaulting backwards into the pavement. Seeing a zombie faceplant is inherently satisfying and makes killing zombies so much more fun.

Although the zombie animations are still awkward because of their tendency to random stop, player animations have seen some subtle improvements. There's a distinct sense of weight that accompanies each stance—running, walking, or sprinting. I noticed each and every step that I took which is important in a game where being seen or heard is tantamount to being dead. Although many of the animations look nearly identical to their Arma 2 versions, additions like prone sprinting and a better walk animation go a long way towards making the game look tighter.

There's one thing that makes DayZ Arma 3 infinitely better than the original DayZ mod—inventory. Arma 2's inventory system was never to meant to support a loot-driven game like DayZ. Zoombies has fully integrated Arma 3's glorious, low-input inventory system with multiple inventory spaces (backpack and vest) as well as near instant interaction. Picking up an item isn't nearly as hard as it used to be.

If you have ever had any interest at all in DayZ, go try this right now. DayZ TV has a great guide on how to get DayZ Arma 3 installed. Braver readers can visit the official site and figure it all out themselves. The bugs may not be fixed, but the games looks, feels, and plays so much better.