7 Days to Die is marred significantly by technical problems, poor porting to console and amateur presentation, which is a real shame, as the minute to minute struggle to survive is actually quite compelling, especially with other players. But unfortunately its potential isn’t enough to redeem this terrible title.
7 Days to Die follows the familiar formula of placing you in a harsh world where you need to gather resources to equip yourself, build shelter and survive against nature and the zombie horde terrorising the area. It’s a clichéd setup, but one that can be exciting and entertaining in the right circumstances.
In this case, the right circumstances are during either local split-screen or online multiplayer. With other players involved, their intractable nature opens up wonderful opportunities for emergent storytelling. Working together to build an impregnable fort is rewarding come night when the zombie horde is most vicious and laps up against your walls and traps in their frenzy. Meanwhile, skirmishes with other players over resources are equally enjoyable. However, the fun is all too fleeting; 7 Days to Die’s many faults easily overshadow the fun.
The poor visuals are immediately obvious. Muddy, low detailed textures are draped over everything, including characters and zombies. Meanwhile, the presentation disappoints even further due to poor, repetitive animations. This becomes even less forgivable when the draw distance is revealed to be extremely limited, with the world shrouded in fog a mere handful of steps in front of you.
When you start moving around you’ll notice terrible dips in frame rate randomly occurring, and the game even freezes for a second or two every time it quick saves, which is often. A cluttered, unintuitive menu system for crafting and inventory management makes the core gameplay suffer, along with a feeling of little to no impact when you swing weapons, and no difference between them; whether you’re swinging a stick or a sledgehammer. But of course you may not experience these issues at all as 7 Days to Die frequently crashes whilst loading a save. Indeed it’s a poor offering both technically and mechanically.
However, what’s worse is the fact that this title has seen a full release on console whilst its PC counterpart is still in Steam Early Access. It’s baffling why they’d port the game in its current PC state over to the Xbox One, especially with the Xbox Preview Program as an option. It screams a lack of investment in the game’s future and comes across as feckless from developers The Fun Pimps and Iron Galaxy.
And there’s just so much potential clearly bubbling below the surface. A vast crafting system allows for some impressive structures to be built. Furthermore, the scrounging for resources, weapons, food and water is rewarding and simple. You need to eat and drink to survive as well as manage your comfort by wearing clothes to stay warm or staying in shade to stay cool. Animals roam the countryside and can be killed for their pelts and meat, that’s if they don’t eat you instead. During the day the zombies are shambling threats to be avoided but at night they are fast and ferocious foes to flee from. Meanwhile, the aforementioned human interactions through multiplayer open up even more threats and opportunities for adventure.
Indeed, 7 Days to Die has so much potential, but for every neat idea there’s a game-breaking flaw that completely overshadows it. On PC it still has a chance to blossom into a great survival game, on console we’re stuck with an embarrassing, awful port.
Thanks to Xbox and The Fun Pimps and Iron Galaxy for supporting TiX