Before PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds swept the gaming world, H1Z1 was the dominate battle royale game. Released into Early Access back in 2015, however, the game’s development was split in 2016 so developer Daybreak Games could focus on the multiplayer aspect of this title. This competitive online game spawned legions of fans and its own esports league thanks to the easy to learn but hard to master design. Now that game is finally launching out of Early Access and it’s bringing a host of new content with it.
The biggest addition is certainly the new game mode – dubbed Auto Royale – that is a mix of Twisted Metal, Mario Kart, and Mad Max. In this game mode, 30 teams of four are all confined to vehicles and fight it out to be the last car standing. Outside of simply ramming into one another, players can drive around the map looking for ammo, weapons, or various power-ups to give your squad the edge in a chase. These power-ups include the ability to heal yourself, damage other vehicles, or throw enemies off your tail. Additionally, the level will include various traps like landmines, corrosive smoke, and oil spills. For the hopeful stunt drivers out there, Auto Royale’s map will include ramps, vehicle jumps, and turbo boosts so you can make dazzling escapes.
Two new vehicles – a sedan and armored recon vehicle – will also be introduced, both of which have their own pros and cons. The recon vehicle is easier to use at the cost of speed and turbo fuel efficiency, while the sedan is a nimbler car that’s designed for skilled drivers. A new light machine gun is also set to release, but this sustained damage focused gun is only available in Auto Royale. It should be noted that Auto Royale is in beta despite H1Z1 finally getting a 1.0 release.
There are also some additional features launching with the final version of the game such as a mini-map or a special cosmetic item for those who played H1Z1 in Early Access. This title will also launch its first season that boasts a new scoring algorithm that doesn’t just take into consideration who makes it to the Top 10. Deploying onto the map has also been tweaked so players can use a heat map to see where are the most popular locations that users go. A heat map will be great for new players or those who like to avoid early game firefights. Finally, H1Z1’s airdrops have been adjusted to drop at a more frequent rate and with higher value items.
While H1Z1 will struggle to reclaim the battle royale crown from Fortnite and PUBG, this new game mode is exactly what the title needed. Auto Royale sounds like a blast and is certainly a fresh idea given the car combat genre hasn’t had a resurgence. Whether it will be enough to draw players in is yet to be seen, but it’s certainly making a good first impression. H1Z1 releases from Early Access today and will cost $19.99 on Steam.
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