Radiation, bandits and flesh-eating ghouls. Come visit Zero Seivert‘s Zakov today! Please note: Rad pills not supplied.
I’m going to admit to this right out of the gate: I have a love/hate relationship with hardcore extraction shooters. Do I love the adrenaline rush I get from pulling off a successful run? You betcha. Do I absolutely hate whenever I make a single mistake that results in me losing all my progress and sending me back to square one? Absolutely. So, with that said, Zero Sievert might not sound like the best fit for me…
Zero Sievert is a relatively new release, with the full version landing on Steam around a month ago. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s an extraction shooter, which is something I can only describe as a mad scramble around a map looking for shiny trinkets before booking it to an exit. Think Escape from Tarkov meets S.T.A.L.K.E.R, with a lovely 2D aesthetic sprinkled on top. Now I’m not normally one for extraction shooters, mostly because the majority of them are player vs. player, which in my case means that I have no chance of competing.
With Zero Sievert, I was pleasantly surprised with the fact that the game is strictly single-player, with the only antagonistic force being the legions of bandits and hostile wildlife that inhabits each of the maps. Speaking of the maps, this is one major element that helps keep the game feeling fresh, even after putting in over 20 hours. There are currently 5 maps in the game that are available to players, although you’ll need to unlock them by progressing and upgrading your hunter. The zones are also procedurally generated, ensuring none of your runs will be the same each time.
Combat is handled fairly simply, with players having to take careful aim if they want to ensure that they stand a chance in a firefight. In your quest across the multiple different zones, there’ll be a multitude of bandits, hazards and critters that are out for your hide, so preparation and proper planning will make sure you come out on top.
Up-to-date readers will notice that combat has changed relatively recently, with the release of the major content patch overhauling the way that ranged combat works. Before the patch, shooting was relatively simple — point front towards an enemy, click on the enemy, rinse and repeat. Easy enough, right? Not any more with this new patch. Say hello to effective ranges, recoil and new hit percentages.
You’ll be able to swap and change most of the components on all of the firearms that you end up with too, with an insanely detailed customisation system for pretty much every ranged weapon that you have access to in the wild. It’s a nice little touch, but having the ability to add and take away from a weapon helps sell the feeling that you’re becoming more of a veteran hunter by fixing up your weapon. The survival elements keep you on your toes, with harder difficulties making them more of a bother as time progresses.
You’ll have to keep your eyes on your hunger, thirst, radiation and tiredness as you re-enter each zone looking for wasteland loot. I found that they were manageable, seeing as you’re able to cure all of them at their respective vendors for a small fee now and again. Don’t expect any respite from the difficulty settings, this is a challenging game. I had to lower the difficulty constantly as I found myself getting into engagements that I had no chance of winning as well as generally just getting whacked about by AI that always seemed to be able to pinpoint my exact location with a carefully timed gunshot.
Briefly touching on one of my favourite mechanics in the game, the crafting system (that I’ve used so far) is extremely cool and one of the standouts for me. I love having the ability to craft my own little corner in the HQ by saving up materials I can scavenge each run, it helps add a further sense of progression on top of all the quests and tasks that you’ll be handling for each of the bunker NPCs. Quests, I say? While they’re fairly simple the tasks that you get given in the game are, in my opinion, scaled in a way that helps the player get more established and kitted out to survive in the zones.
You’ll find that the Barman is your best bet at unlocking each of the new zones as they’ll send you out on missions that prove that you’re ready to move on to a newer, more dangerous map. I will say that if you’re looking for an easy introduction, don’t hold your breath as Zero Sievert is pretty intense straight out of the gate. I can’t tell you how many times I managed to get my hunter mangled in the first 5 hours of the game. Got your back turned while looting a corpse? Oh well, too bad you didn’t know the corpse’s friend was around the corner with a gun pointed at your head. Back to the train for you.
So, closing out, do I recommend Zero Sievert? Absolutely. I think it’s a well-crafted experience that’s both engaging and challenging, with enough to do and enough to see that it’s well within its asking price. You’ve got full reign on whether you’d like to do your own thing or follow the chain of tasks, something I very much appreciate in a game of this scale. Good luck, hunter!
ZERO SIEVERT is available now on Steam!