Skill points are earned through every action, from combat to crafting clothing. Spending them will present a number of statistical changes to you various traits and abilities, but they are never given a context to make sense in. I leveled up my running skill but often felt as though the choice I made was not ideal, as I was still unable to craft or repair various items that were necessary to survival. Because of this I simply dreaded spending skill points I had spent so long earning simply because it was confusing and unsatisfying
Once the tutorial was finished, my partner and I found a small plot of land to work with. I enjoy exploration and combat while my partner enjoys base-building, so we split up to pursue our desired objectives. As I explored, my inventory became stuffed with supplies that promised recipes of defense and combat, but the game fails to make clear how to get the other materials required to finish those recipes. I could press a button to see the recipes for things I wanted to make, but without indication of where to find supplies, I was left with full, useless pockets. Hypothetically, I could have placed items in a box at my house for later, but navigating the landscape is so slow, it would have been a larger inconvenience.
I returned to the home plot, dismayed. While I was away my partner had built a small wooden hut for us to use through the night, so I hopped in, threw down a bedroll, and settled in to the anticipation as we closed the door and prepared for night. The night is insanely long. In-game hours creep along as you are subjected to every howl and growl the game can muster. After patiently waiting for what felt like an eternity for our foes to arrive, the zombies were able to completely destroy the wooden hut that took all day to make in mere moments. We watched as the walls were ripped off and door smashed as the zombies worked their way in. We destroyed a rear-facing wall and ran from the death-shack before we became zombie-chow.
We spent the night running as dawn slowly came, but the next day was no better. We found a house and got killed. Got our supplies back, boarded up doors, got killed. Playing with another player was fun, as it allowed us to share what we were learning and doing, but the feeling that it was a series of endeavors all leading to death loomed over us.
We tried to stay still and maintain a base to survive; we ran out of food. We tried being nomadic, to find food; we died continually. The further we ventured into the wasteland from our aforementioned base, the more the game would lag, initially just navigating menus but eventually the lag worked its way into actions such as walking and combat. We continually found what seemed to be usable materials in our quest, such as gun parts, but we were locked out of being allowed to build weapons or even supplies for survival because we hadn’t found the required blueprints.