TL;DR - Don't buy this game. The mod will provide you with a better experience.
DayZ is probably the biggest example of a cashgrab I've ever seen on Steam Early Access. As the game has now been in development since its release date back in December 2013, the developers have made tens of millions of dollars off the 3 million copies sold (since January 2015). Many people have asked what happened to all this money: Only rumors remain... (I could go on a rant about how Dean Rocket stole all the money for himself and is now living in a cozy mansion but I digress). Please don't get the wrong idea. I really enjoy DayZ as a game. What infuriates me, however, is the fact that this game has so much potential but was all squandered with the lack of updates, fixes and news from the surprisingly large development team. In the time that I'm writing this review (April 2015), it has been just under two years since the game's release (excluding the many months of development beforehand as well as the Closed Alpha stages - dating all the way back to May 2013 and even earlier) and very little improvements have been made; thus, the game remains in Alpha despite the many deadlines in which the game would move into Beta and even release, only to be delayed every quarter of the year.
My personal experience with the game has been an ever-worsening nightmare. With some history playing the DayZ mod and the many variants of it (Epoch, Overpoch, the whole lot) on ArmA 2, I simply just had to purchase the game only a few months after release with the mindset that it would be a great game by the end of the year, especially with the videos being posted left and right showcasing the new features and potential that it would be superior to the mod in every single way. Boy, was I wrong.
The main issue that was supposed to be fixed many months ago but has been pushed back was the optimization of the game. I cannot account for anyone else when I say that you require a NASA supercomputer to run this game. This is the main area where DayZ shows its potential: The game has gorgeous visuals on maximum graphic settings. The reality of this is that the majority of people that play the game have to run it on the lowest settings due to poor optimization and use of an outdated engine that fully renders the entire map all at once for some reason.
The game struggles even with the most basic functions such as moving, vaulting, equipping weapons and such. Often times, I would die because of how glitchy the ladders and staircases in the game are. Inventory management is a drag and does not add any realism or immersion. Also, it is important to mention that the game presents a very poor atmosphere : Apart from the few piles of debris (I'm talking about the infamous tossed-out laundry machine) and the building with the plane crash located at Cherno, all the major cities in the game look like they were built yesterday. The developers could have easily made vast improvements rather than just ripping the map off of the mod and just modifying the spawn points and adding a few cities. Other than the major cities, many of the small villages in the map are recycled and reused many times. It's easy to get lost in the map because of this. The use of an online map would deter this but, at the same time, remove what little immersion remains.
One large factor which was lacking in the standalone game but had a strong presence in the mod was vehicles . At this time, there are only two vehicles in the game which are very similar: Both are military transport and they look visually similar, the only difference is the number of seats they provide. Due to the size of Chernaurus+, it would be less of a hassle to travel by vehicle rather than spending hours sprinting to a location. A bicycle at the very least could have been added.
I had high hopes for this game after its release. Unfortunately, the game does not deliver what it promised. The developers know this but yet continue to release very small updates every now and then to give us players the illusion that changes are being made in the game. In all honesty, there is no hope for the game. With all major fixes being constantly delayed, it is doubtful that this game will exit Alpha. Please save your money and play the mod if you want a good experience. Thank you.
Oh wait, wrong game lol. k get Unturned! 10/10