H1Z1 is finally releasing on the PS4 - and it just might be Daybreak Games' saving grace. Few games have had as long and tumultuous of a development cycle as H1Z1. The title started out as a battle royale with a zombie component- something that current battle royale games such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds seem to lack - but things changed over time. And now, H1Z1 appears more like the aforementioned titles than something unique as it once was, and that may cause some issues down the line.
Although Daybreak first announced plans to release H1Z1 on consoles in 2016 - along with the announcement that the PC version would be split into two separate titles: H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Hill, the latter of which is now just titled H1Z1- it has taken them more than two years to finally deliver on those promises. Sure, it's great that another battle royale game is coming to the PS4, but it may be too little too late. And all the effort that went into redesigning the game from the ground-up for console players may have been all for naught. But still, a PS4 release just might be what Daybreak needs to get back on track.
Related: H1Z1 Goes Free To Play
Screen Rant attended a media briefing this past weekend in Las Vegas where Daybreak Games revealed gameplay footage for H1Z1's PS4 version as well as some technical details. What's more interesting about the new version is that it's definitely not a port of the PC version. Basic console ports have been known to cause problems, after all. Instead, H1Z1's PS4 release is being designed specifically with console players in mind.
H1Z1's PS4 version will feature 60 fps on the PS4 Pro and 45 fps on the regular PS4 (though that's not confirmed to be locked), with matches now lasting an average of 15 to 18 minutes in length. Furthermore, the gameplay has been tweaked to be much simpler and require less action on the player's part to keep the game going. Looting has been changed to a simple, proximity item looting system that makes it easier to acquire new equipment and weapons. And in lieu of an inventory screen, H1Z1 will have a selection wheel to choose between various weapons (short-range, mid-range, and long-range). On that note, backpacks will now provide additional weapon slots instead of just extra space.
The controller layout has also been modeled after traditional console shooters like Call of Duty, and the PS4 version of the game won't feature any building or crafting. Plus, with constantly moving gas and multiple tiered-airdrops (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3) that drop for every four players in the match, Daybreak truly wants to push the action on the console version compared to what's happening on the PC version. But that may not be enough. Adding all of these features sounds great in theory and they actually look somewhat decent in person, but everything that Daybreak is doing just isn't enough to distinguish it from the crowd.
A lot of what players complained about the PC version don't seem to be fixed on the console version - the vehicle mechanics, for instance (there are also twice as many vehicles on PS4). And with no planned launch date, by the time the game actually releases in its completed state, there will be several more battle royale games on the market for consumers to choose from. Again, this all might be too little too late. We won't know until the game releases, but players will get to try it out for themselves when H1Z1 PS4 goes into open beta on May 22. Until then, it's best to manage expectations. The PS4 variant looks fun and is certainly an improvement over the PC version, but that's all it is: an improvement, not a genre-contender.