So. I've been following this game for a very, very long time and finally got a few tastes with the 7 day demo, and now the Early Access! And I must say my wait was justified.
For some this game will be very boring and tedious, it's not a "Kill dem zombies" game , it's a survival RPG in a world that just happens to have zombies being a huge hazzard. Which is exactly what I've been waiting for. The setting and premise of this game alone fills a whole in the market which currently is in desperate need of filling. Dayz, 7 Days to Die and the like are not really filling it properly either.
So first off we must establish what kind of zombies are in this game. For that we have the greatest of zombies, the slow undead type which have infectious bites that rely on swarming and being pretty much endless. So if you were hoping for special zombies, go ♥♥♥♥ yourself. Because honestly I hate you anyway.
Now onto the more detailed portion of the review!
When the game begins you will be generating a character for yourself, you might want to figure out what stats do what by a wiki, but at this point they are pretty straight forward. You select a few skills and then volia. You are now the protagonist of the game.
While we're on the subject of your character i'll explain what your role is. You are the leader of the shelter, everything hinges on you. You are the lead scavenger and no one else can lead parties into the field. You slowly become stronger by successfully completing objectives, not by the numbers of skulls you crack (unless those heads happen to be objectives.). From rough estimates from how the game functions right now, at end game you'll be generally stronger than your average man by quite a decent sum.
Now onto the second part. The shelter. You will always be in a school, and for the most part it makes sense. The school can be upgraded in various ways to support certain perks and gameplay styles, with only 1 core feature among all plays having to be accomplished : Have resources to survive (food, that's about it.) and keep the fence from breaking down (To prevent being swarmed in your sleep.)
Allies in the game at current are pretty static in their locations and not a lot of interaction is added. That said survivors all have strengths and weaknesses. Some excel in the field while others are great to keep just in the shelter. Some are phycopaths/sociopaths who just want to use you, whilst others are timid and supportive and maybe misguided. Some will be infected, and you'll have to deal with that constant threat in the shelter at all times, but they might be worth keeping since their skill sets are great.
The game is really based mostly around you and your interactions with survivors more than anything else, as I said originally the zombie outbreak is more of a hazzard than it is the main antagonist. Other survivors are your most vicious enemy, while dangers from within are the greatest over all. Having a sociopath rally a bunch of your survivors against you for example causing your labour options to go to ♥♥♥♥ is not very good and could threaten your game.
And now for combat. Combat is pretty basic, and even with superior AI and path finding down the road it's pretty simple to learn how things will go down. Turn based is definitely a plus in my book for RPGs. Perks and general skills will determine how good someone is at handling their weapon and getting the bullet/pointy end of something into a target. While you yourself won't panic or have any qualms killing poeple/zombies some of your NPCs may have hidden modifiers that will reveal and make combat hell when you thought it could be simple.
For a more simplisitc view of combat. It's mostly bashing zombies skulls in with melee weapons to prevent a swarm coming out of no where and overwhelming you, whilst fighting humans it's trying to gun them down and taking out bigger threats before they can signficantly damage you. As a neat option you CAN use zombies against your human enemies! Which is pretty god damn satisfying.
At this point in time . 9/7/2014 the game is worth buying ONLY as an investment. Things are prone to change so the game will not be at all like it is now save for the turn based combat being refined and premise being kept.
If you feel you've been lacking a good ZOMBIES SURVIVAL experience, i'd recommend this, else wise wait to see some Twitch streams of people doing some lets play's to get a good feel for it.