7 Days to Die Review

Credit: Telltale Publishing

 7 Days To Die Review

7 Days to Die is a zombie survival game that focuses heavily on the aspects of survival and crafting. 
Originally released through the Steam Store, 7 Days to Die has made its way (questionably) straight onto the Xbox Marketplace, negating the Xbox Preview Program. Although hopelessly riddled with glitches and bugs, 7 Days to Die isn’t a write off just yet.

The visual style of the game could be described as just that, style, as I’m sure many of the dedicated fans of the title will tell you. However, with scenery and objects throughout the game-world being comprised of overlapped 2D textures it could also be described as… outdated. The visuals are often a laughing point, as you look down on grass or shrubbery from above to see those 2D cross formation textures trying their best to feign the aesthetic of 3D assets when glanced over from afar. These types of visuals and assets aren’t what we should be expecting or even accepting of for a title selling itself in excess of £20 ($29.99) for a ‘next gen’ console. The title is also teeming with texture pop-ins and low resolution rendering of both scenery and NPC models, which often times can cause you to frustratingly find yourself entangled inside a cactus.
Credit: Telltale Publishing

The actual visual style of the game is very similar to any other survival game (DayZ, Rust) with the environment being entrenched in realism. The natural landscapes do actually look pretty decent, so long as you aren’t inspecting the foliage from above, and the difference in weather specific biomes is rather detailed. There are a few issues with low resolution textures on some ‘blocks’ within the game (as the buildings and structures follow the Minecraft block on block architecture) such as crates that can be found in pharmacies for example.

7 Days to Die does offer a massive amount of variety within the game worlds (of which you can choose pre-built or randomly generated) with a myriad of different types of buildings and locations. You can find yourself wandering across a very blocky looking campsite in which you’ll find tents and vehicles that can be mined and resources can be collected. If you don’t have the tools to deconstruct cars for their precious iron and gasoline you can risk trips into the towns and cities that dot the impressively large playable areas, in which you can discover; pharmacies, gun stores, tool shops, garages, saloons, hotels, hospitals, police stations, banks, suburban homes and many more types of structures.
Credit: Telltale Publishing

The largest focus in the game is the crafting mechanic. Much like Minecraft, everything in the game world can be destroyed if you have the right tools. You can deconstruct cars, dig holes, pull down entire buildings, mine rock and cut down trees. All of which produce important resources for the in-depth lists of craftable items, from tools and weapons to building blocks and traps. This can at times be the most monotonous of tasks and can become mind-numbingly boring, however when you know that you’ll desperately need that last bit of wood for your defenses as night approaches, it starts to feel a lot more important.

On top of all of the creative aspects of the 7 Days to Die, the title also offers an in-depth levelling system in which every action in the game can be levelled and points can be assigned. From Athletics to Mining each task has its own benefits and advantages to being as high a level as you can be. This really does help to give the player a sense of direction and an objective which is often the reason many gamers just can’t stomach the survival crafting genre, the lack of direction.
Credit: Telltale Publishing

There are a whole host of enemy characters that you’ll have to contend with through-out your time playing 7 Days, and which will ultimately come to destroy everything you’ve worked so hard to build, every seventh day. There is a selection of zombie types to contend with from your typical slow walkers and runners, to the spitting police zombies and faster than is comfortable crawling spider zombies. Some enemies however seem awfully out of place… such as the massive bees. I’m sure there’s an explanation. You’ll also see a few bears and dogs out in the wild, they’re probably scarier than the zombies in all honestly. 

There are co-op capabilities such as split-screen, which I’ve had a blast with. Playing with a friend, stocking up on snacks and drinking while sitting together is a great experience with 7 Days to Die. This feature was well received in my books, with split-screen functionality being severely under-valued by modern day game developers and publishers. The ability to play a game with a friend or partner in the same room on one console seemed to always have been a no-brainer.
Credit: Telltale Publishing

Additionally, there is a multiplayer aspect that is in no way dissimilar to the single player experience albeit the ability to grind faster and more efficiently, and also stab your new found friends violently in the back to steal their plant fiber cowboy hat. I’ve had a rather amusing experience with the multiplayer aspect while playing with some random players, but I can imagine that playing in a large group of friends will be the highlight for this feature.

Overall, 7 Days to Die is a game that can cause you to overlook it's short comings for the hours of fun, thrills and laughs you can have with a couple of friends. Glitches and bugs can become hysterical and derail a game that may take itself a little too seriously in a way that is, I suppose, endearing. I'd suggest picking it up in a sale if you're tentative or are just dipping your toe into the survival crafting genre, but so far I've not regretted the time I've spent with it. And as long as you don't take it too seriously, you won't either.  

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