Over the weekend we had a look at “7 Days to Die” the hybrid-style survival game by development studio The Fun Pimps and Telltale Publishing. Based on the marketing, the expectations on gameplay and fun factor were high. We tested on Xbox One, but same or similar points are likely to affect the PS4 and PC release as well.
It’s not that clear why Telltale decided to publish a game outside of their focus genre, which relies heavily on storytelling and quick-time events. Perhaps they thought it would be a good match with their Walking Dead Telltale series.
Also, this release has to be considered as a game with a focus on crafting. If anything, that is its strong suit. We encountered a few aspects we didn’t like, but let’s start with some positive aspects.
It ‘s hard to develop a good game taking place in the hyped zombie apocalypse setting without being “inspired” by other releases. Somehow The Fun Pimps have managed to work on this title without copying from other similar games. Their ideas seem genuine, and they followed their own vision as to how the game should look like.
They also made sure that there are options for people who want to play together via multiplayer. Beyond that, they also implemented a local co-op for console players. This is, unfortunately, a rare feature nowadays, usually involving “beat ’em up” games and Diablo 3. So if you’re a fan of “couch co-op” you might want to give this release a closer look.
Some points of critique
Our evaluation is focused on a few weighing items. One key aspect is that this game is in development since 2013 and the other aspect is that it is not free. And since real money is involved, it’s also fair to include real feedback on 7 Days to Die.
I don’t want to call “poor graphics,” but I just did not feel immersed into the world of 7 Days to Die. I comprehend that you have to tolerate some shortcomings for this type of games involving randomly generated areas in an “open world,” but it really hurt the gameplay. It also somewhat irritated me that I kept seeing a single type of lumberjack zombie the whole time. Perhaps some more model diversity would support the overall experience. The Dead Rising series raised the bar for that.
You are thrown into the game without many instructions. There is no story, no tutorial, no narrative or anything else that would point you in the right direction. If you want to follow the “quests” for collecting and crafting a variety of items, you can, but I didn’t feel very motivated.
Playing on a console, you keep being reminded that you’re playing a game that was ported from PC. The interface screens keyboard and mouse control at you the whole time. While the control on console is not very intuitive, you get to figure it out after a while, but as far as visuals go, it remains to be clunky.
Beyond the aforementioned visual quality issues, you might have trouble to accept the animation shortcomings and other realism flaws. For instance, we encountered deer that moved like oversized squirrels and let’s not forget about those freely roaming pigs that can take a lot more pistol hits than the strolling zombies. I’m just glad those pigs didn’t turn into zombie pigs, or that would have increased the gaming difficulty a lot.
There are heaps of pre-made characters for you to choose but many look like a child has put them together. In the time of here and now, anything but build-your-own character is a missing feature. When you’re interacting with the game environment, creatures, and objects of the game, you are relatively often encountering lag, even though you’re playing locally without using an Internet feature.
Expecting an Open World setting, we were often stopped by massive “radioactive” areas, which can easily be identified by the brick piles on the ground and the lack of grass. These areas border to the accessible area and aren’t really well implemented, they are linear map endings, which damage you upon entering them.
All of these aspects and the lack of a soundtrack reduce the whole game’s atmosphere and feeling. I just didn’t feel it in all honesty.
The game is marketed as “survival horde crafting game.” That is a well-chosen definition as well because that is exactly what it is. If you’re a fan of farming/crafting games and like zombie settings, this might be your game. Everybody else should carefully review this before they spend their money.
The PC version is sold as Alpha Access for $24.99. Both the PS4 and Xbox One releases cost $29.99 and are sold as “full game.” Perhaps it would be better if they also sold the console releases as alpha versions instead because that’s how they feel like.
If you’re not a crafting person at all, you might want to save your money for when State of Decay 2 will be released later this year.
YouTube: ‘7 Days to Die’ Tutorial – Surviving Your First Day
Photo credit: The Fun Pimps / Telltale Publishing