Friday, 26 August 2016

7 Days to Die

For PC fans, open-world survival games are almost a dime a dozen but console players haven’t had many experiences in this genre. Out of all the games on PC to make its way to console, I don’t know if 7 Days to Die would be one I would expect to come out. This isn’t because the game isn’t good enough or that the mechanics wouldn’t appeal to the console market but simply that the game still isn’t finished or in a state that should be considered playable.

Developed by The Fun Pimps and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, 7 Days to Die is a survival sandbox game infested with zombies. On the surface, the game looks like every other open-world survival game as you move from area to area gathering resources, but 7 Days to Die is a voxel-based world that allows you to alter every single part of the world. What makes its setup much more enjoyable is in the sense that the emphasis on running from zombies, gathering resources, and using those resources to build add-ons to structures and reinforce is required to thrive. Once the sun goes down in the game’s day-night cycle, the zombies become more aggressive and are a true force to be reckoned with. This means you are always on the defensive making it a different experience to a lot of other open-world games of this genre.

What makes the game stand out is that no matter what you do, how much you scavenge and build up your fortifications, you will always feel vulnerable. Zombies can always outnumber you and in force, they are almost unbeatable. It is a survival game that truly feels like that is the main feature.

This building and reinforcing brings the best moments of the game but all the surrounding features detract from it. Simply put: This is a PC game that’s been horribly optimised for consoles and it clearly shows. When you want to build in the world, the interface on a controller is clunky and a hassle. The layout of the UI is still very much modelled on its PC counterpart and therefore navigating them is a chore on a controller.

7 days to Die was one of the first big survival games that really captured player’s attention. This originally came out as an Early Access title in 2013 and has remained there since and ultimately is the reason why I cannot recommend this game: It still isn’t finished. There are no warnings but the game is incomplete and it looks and feels it. It doesn’t look good, performance isn’t great, and there is a distinct lack of polish throughout. When you buy a game on disc, especially on console, you expect the game you play to be in a complete state but 7 Days to Die is not.

There are some great ideas and mechanics at play in 7 Days to Die. However, the ugly visuals and the janky animation takes away from the experience. Should they have not rushed this game to console,  I might have recommended this title but the myriad of flaws and overall bad presentation means that any decent mechanics just don’t feel worth it.

A shambling mess. 2/5


Jason Redmond

7 Days to Die at CeX

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