Rough around the edges, there’s still some life left in this undead game.
I love me some zombie games. If it has zombies, it’s a game I usually will want to play. 7 Days to Die was the first zombie game I’ve been extremely hesitant to play, for two reasons. 1. This is a game, releasing on consoles that is still currently in early access on steam. This might not sound like a big deal, but it gave me an uncomfortable feeling. 2. 7 Days to Die is a crafting game. I’m not a fan of the genre whatsoever. I have creativity, but not enough to spark my own fun in a “built it yourself” sort of world. So there was my concern, and yet… It has zombies in it! I wanted to check this out regardless and give it a shot. Were my fears unwarranted?
Heat exhaustion blows
The premise is simple; players either start the game in a pre-made or randomly generated world filled with the undead. This keeps the locations fresh and interesting for every instance players create after they have fully explored the pre-made map. In this world, it’s up to players to loot, build, and survive. As time gets closer to the 7 day mark, zombies becoming increasingly agitated and the hordes get bigger. It’s a fight to grab what players can, build a fort or hold out point and survive that 7th night.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Multiplayer: split screen, online 1-4
How long to beat: N/A
After, the process begins anew with the challenge getting harder and harder. Zombies are the main enemies players will have to deal with, though I also ran into an extremely agitated animal my very first run. I was chased by an angry, bloody mouthed bear, which yielded both hilarious and scary results. The thing simply wouldn’t leave me alone. I had just started and I’m fairly defenseless weapon wise. It chased me across hills and plains, never stopping. I found my way back to a house, shut the door, and hoped it would leave me alone. It didn’t. It soon busted the door down and in a bare fist brawl, I went down screaming in laughter. Me: 0 Bear: 1 I’ll get my revenge one day.
I start again and realize I’m still in the same map but somewhere else now, with little to nothing in my possession again. I’m starting over from scratch, everything I had is gone. Talk about rough, but it’s the nature of the beast and the world of 7 Days to Die. I do realize though that the skill points or levels I earned for my various actions remained. This really helped me feel as if, even when I die, I’m making progress with my character. It’s a shame that as of now on consoles, characters are all pre-made, as having my own custom character would have added even more to this. So while dying sucks, it didn’t feel completely hopeless. Another element I discovered is custom rules can be set for the instances. So if players don’t want to lose everything upon death that can be enabled. Don’t like how long the days take, or want them to be longer? That is a function as well. It’s nice to see this element of customization on a console game, and it gave me some more breathing room to explore and figure out if I was having fun.
There are various elements to 7 Days to Die. Crafting is a huge part, as well as fighting against the zombie horde. The third element is nature itself. Getting hungry, thirsty, sick, breaking a leg, having a massive bit of diarrhea and even heat exhaustion. These are elements that also need to be managed and have to be considered in everything you do. It’s probably my biggest issue with the game – I’m looking at the heat exhaustion in particular. It just seems to rise way too quickly at times, and soon I’m dying of heat stroke, shitting myself, and have zombies on my tail. Talk about a rough day.
A change of perspective
Once players are done doing solo mode, accustomed to the rules and nature of the game, it’s time to add some friends into the mix. Split screen or online co-op is here, and it makes the game even better. Imagine running across the fields, scouring the lands for supplies, building a utopia of mass proportions and slaying zombies. It’s a tough world, but with friends the elements might just work more in your favor. If zombies have strength in numbers, so do players. Those wanting to see what sort of weapons or types of crafting materials can be utilized and build can also start up a cheat mod of sorts that gives players everything at their fingertips. Weapons, tools, everything! I sat down at one time just shooting a rocket launcher into the ground, as the hole just went deeper and deeper. Sometimes it’s the small things that matter. The only caveat to this mode is all trophies and achievements are locked, so this is strictly for those wanting to mess around.
7 Days to Die didn’t make me learn to love the genre, but it pushed me to give it a bit more of a fair shot, and the results were surprisingly fun. Yes, there are still a lot of odd issues with a game of this sort. I never had any hard crashes, but just the overall look and feel of the game comes off rough at moments, granted the price of entry makes this a bit more tolerable. Graphics are extremely subpar for consoles but I understand the abilities to break everything down for loot, materials, and building has to have some caveats to it, which include the N64 like fog wall. Weapon use feels decent, but still not quite polished or a level that feels good. Shooting in most games has some nice feedback or effect, here it just feels limp and secondary. Animations are also extremely rough. That bear moment I mentioned earlier was just hilarious to look at, as well as seeing a deer frolicking away from me.
Stiff and smooth animations just make it comical at times. A moment of screen stutter also occurs when the game auto-saves at times, highly annoying but I was able to largely get used to it. All these issues aside, I was still having a blast playing this, and I can see myself stepping into the world of 7 Days to Die on and off at times. It’s not a game that takes commitment, yet people can also spend a lot of time in the world surviving, building, and just having some co-op fun. It has plenty of content to experience even though it lacks any sort of story or cohesive quests. It’s literally about surviving in the undead world, alone or with friends, rough spots and all, and the fun factor is what you make of it.
My favorite moment: Due to the nature of the game and random elements, there could be many favorite moments. This one was more subtle. It didn’t involve enemies or terror, but atmosphere. I had stumbled upon a bigger city, it started to rain and I took refuge in a building I had to break into as the sound of rain beat upon the building. A very serene moment in a dead world.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.