‘7 Days to Die’ Review

Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Platform Played Xbox One

Genre Survival Horror, Crafting

Developer The Fun Pimps Publisher Telltale Games, The Fun Pimps

Consider combining the survival features of Don’t Starve, with the crafting and building mechanics of Minecraft, while the zombie plague of DayZ are constantly hungry for human flesh. 7 Days to Die is an interesting and exciting premise, but unfortunately 7 Days to Die fails on almost every level of execution. Instead of creating a thrilling hybrid of gameplay mechanics 7 Days to Die is a technical mess, which runs worse than any other current generation console release I have experienced to date.

Now before going forward I must acknowledge the elephant in the room – 7 Days to Die is still in Early Access form on PC. But the console release has no mention of the content available within the console version being an ongoing or Early Access product. As such this review will be reviewed with the same standards of any other release. Let us begin.

7 Days to Die’s premise is outstanding, but the entertaining foundation breaks down quickly, as the clunky, unstable and technically flawed mess, ruins almost any chance of this premise reaching its full potential.

7 Days to Die is without almost any story content or goals to achieve; players must survive at all costs and utilise the crafting mechanics to increase their chance of survival. Players are spawned randomly in an open world environment that is infested with the undead, and every 7 days a blood moon will rise causing the zombie menace to turn into a frenzied pack of hungry dogs. When players initially spawn they are greeted with 8 basic survival tasks to complete in order to get a brief understanding of the gameplay features and how to utilise them. Initial frustration begins as almost no tasks are explained aside from the brief statement given, which meant I had to seek online advice in order to progress on a few occasions. There are no helpful hints within 7 Days to Die and even the brief 8 tasks players are given do not come close to scratching the surface of the many facets players must comprehend in order to survive.

7 Days to Die expects players to manage their food and water intake, their body temperature and health, as well as building up resources during the day in order to craft and prepare for the upcoming day of survival. 7 Days to Die does offer a lot of choices when entering the main survival mode, with options to change zombie behaviour and spawn rate, lengthen and shorten game time, alongside the choice of 6 different difficulty levels. Choice is one element where 7 Days to Die greatly succeeds, allowing players to truly customise their experience depending on how they want to play.

It became a constant frustration as I would venture out into the open world to collect food and water, only for 7 Days to Die’s technical problems to appear. The technical complications throughout 7 Days to Die make learning and understanding each facet or survival a painful and frustrating task.

One of 7 Days to Die’s biggest issues is the atrocious pop-in, which meant pieces of the land would randomly appear in front of the character as I was exploring. I could only ever see about 10 metres in front of my character at all times, anything beyond that point would be blank and spawn in when I eventually got closer; there were even times when I would find myself walking through a grey void as the world itself could not appear before my character arrived. The issue could at least be explained if the visuals were AAA quality, but sadly 7 Days to Die has some of the worst visuals on current generation consoles. Textures look muddy, sticks look pixelated up close, and even random newspapers found on the ground turn into a mash of colours and incomprehensible scribbles; I haven’t seen visuals on this level since the PlayStation 2 era. 7 Days to Die unfortunately hits the technical trifecta, because despite the poor visuals and absurd pop-in 7 Days to Die constantly has framerate issues that slow the game to a crawl, or simply freeze it in place, which meant having to restart the entire game. These are just a few of the technical issues that completely ruin the promising premise 7 Days to Die has to offer.

The same poor quality is found in the audio, as almost every zombie has the exact same growling noise and almost every single time I began mining it made the exact same sound; regardless of what item was being used or being mined. Weapons in 7 Days to Die have the same audio issues, with most bullets absent of sound altogether, or sounding like a cheap cap gun. With the issues I experienced both visually and in audio form, I was left astounded that loading times after death and when initially loading a map can be upwards of one to two minutes. Those times are generous because most of the time the loading process will freeze the entire experience and force another manual restart.

Combat throughout 7 Days to Die is also bland and borderline broken. When engaging in combat almost every enemy will not acknowledge the fact they have been attacked, as the enemy will keep swiping and moving as if nothing has happened – before they eventually fall down. There was one occasion when an angry bear attacked me almost instantaneously upon spawning in the map, but the bear was unable to deal any damage. Fighting for my life I simply held down the attack button and finished off my attacker with my bare fists in about three minutes, as the bear could do nothing but growl and swipe to no avail as damage could not be delivered to my character.

One of the few positives in 7 Days to Die’s features is the crafting system, which can actually be enjoyable during the time the game decides to run well. There are over 400 items to craft and experiment with, and 7 Days to Die’s creative mode allows unlimited resources to create and experience every item. Crafting is not without its issues as navigating each menu mirrors the cursor-like control system found on the PC, meaning every selection and decision must be made utilising the analogue sticks with no options to simply manoeuvre each menu with the directional pad. This cursor control system is clumsy and made crafting and experimenting with items become an agonizing process.

7 Days to Die does feature local split screen and online multiplayer, but the experience within both of these options is much worse than playing alone. Split Screen can actually provide some enjoyable moments, but due to the horrible performance that enjoyment is quickly squashed. Online is even worse, as the framerate and pop-in issues become a constant battle. There were minutes at a time where I was running through nothing but grey empty void, as 7 Days to Die could not keep up with the fact I was walking through the environment. Even when I did experience a few seconds of smooth gameplay, it wasn’t long until 7 Days to Die would either freeze or simply remove me from the online session with an error message. 7 Days to Die’s multiplayer experience is so horribly produced that the entire feature is barely playable and the split screen options (while appreciated) can hardly perform under the strain of double the activity on screen.

7 Days to Die is a horrible port that is so technically broken that I cannot even comprehend how it has been launched in this state. Despite having a unique and interesting premise, the console execution has been so poorly produced that it should be avoided at all costs.

If you desperately want to experience 7 Days to Die’s unique brand of zombie survival crafting that is your decision, but be mindful 7 Days to Die is borderline unplayable, broken, and frustrating. With such an interesting premise, it is unfortunate to see such an excellent idea presented in such a poor product.

The Good

  • Interesting and unique premise.
  • Fun crafting system…

The Bad

  • …ruined by poor cursor-based menu navigation.
  • Ugly visuals, atrocious pop-in and constant frame rate issues.
  • Constant game freezes that require restart.
  • Basic and bland combat.
  • Poor multiplayer performance, both online and locally.

The Score: 2.0