How To Survive

[E3 2013] Uh Oh, I Don't Think This Is Survivor

We get our very first look at How To Survive.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: June 11, 2013
For a game so far along in its development I was surprised that up until a week before E3 I had never heard of How To Survive. Developed by heretofore unknown developer EKO studios and published by 505 Games, this interesting take on the survival genre is set to make its way over to the PSN this October.

Best described as a mash-up of the basic gameplay of Dead Nation combined with the crafting and looting of Dead Rising 2 all set on a deserted island. It's a very interesting blend of stuff we've seen before but never put together quite this way.

The story of How To Survive is one that will be familiar to most gamers by now. You (and possibly your buddy) wash up on the shore of an island and soon realize that its been completely overtaken by zombies. Damn it. Thankfully there is a rugged survivor on the island and he's helpfully left "How to Survive" guides strewn around everywhere that give you cool Fallout-esque cartoons about how to make fire, build a bow, or find a safe place to sleep. And yes, you WILL need to sleep.

Before you can do that though, you'll need to arm yourself with weapons and supplies. Weapons to kill zombies of course, and supplies to make sure you can keep your health, hunger and thirst up. Let those vitals get a little low and you'll have trouble doing damage and eventually you'll get tired faster. On an island full of zombies that means death.

While we were watching, our intrepid survivor started out with only a stick for a weapon, but by finding supplies from dead bodies, caches and even fallen wildlife that stick became a bow, then a hardened bow, then a pulley bow. Simple arrows were upgraded to feathered arrows by killing a turkey. Later on some various mechanical bits were all crafted together to make a homemade AK-47. Those same parts could be stripped down and rebuilt into a high-powered rifle if one chose.

Eventually night fell and new breeds of zombies came out, much more aggressive and tough. As tiredness set in it became more imperative to find shelter that was safe. Our survivor came upon a small base camp that was overrun with zombies, and although he fought valiantly he eventually fell to them before making the area safe enough for rest.

One of the highlights of How To Survive is the inclusion of two-player co-op both on- and off-line. There is a story mode that is roughly 8 hours long and is fully playable, or you can elect to take on one of the eight challenges that are essentially small slices of the story mode. While story mode has checkpoints on occasion to make sure you can keep going if you can't survive, challenge mode is just one straight shot.

The game was surprisingly deeper than we thought it would be. There are 3 survivors to choose from and they have pretty significant differences. While all survivors can learn to build fires (there is a skill tree for everyone and that is the first one you learn) skills will branch out from there. One guy may be able to build more advanced weapons, while the girl will be better at harvesting supplies (I made those up, but that is the general idea). That lends a little strategy to choosing who to go with in co-op.

After seeing the game in action it quickly went from something we hadn't ever heard of to something we're very excited to play all the way through. This fall is shaping up to be filled with a LOT of good games and then of course a little thing called the PS4. What a time for gaming!