Zombie slaying, survival, exploration, crafting and what feels like a never-ending Alpha are what 7 Days To Die brings.
The zombie in the room from this game has been it was released for sale as an early access game on steam back in 2013. Development has also felt like it’s slowed down a lot over the years. Games like this can have a lot of pros and cons to them depending on the type of gamer you are and what you find enjoyable.
Recently a lot of longer-term players with hundreds to thousands of hours played have been review bomb diving this game and I feel that is a little harsh. With this game having a single player or a co-op option. Most games you just never get that many hours out of them. I myself have over 250 hours played both solo and with friends. It has been a wild ride and lots of fun along the way. The game has had recently big changes when Alpha 17 was released.
If you are buying into an Alpha game there is just the thrill and risk where you can get a lot of value out of it. You for a very long time get massive updates to a game over years that are like expansions in most other games in the current state the industry is in. As long as the game remains in a playable state and the developer keeps working on it.
That also means what you fell in love with along the way may or may not end up in the final product. To be fair by the time these longer Alpha games do make it release us players tend to be long gone playing the game till the point we just can’t stand thinking about it for another moment.
Along the way, they have had a lot of bugs sometimes ranging to cutting edge systems right down to those who just fall into system minimums having a horrible play experience due to lag. Most times It gets fixed eventually. My FPS to this day is still not that great.
You also have from time to time major update causing conflict with older game saves and having to start a new world over. If you are someone who loves starting over from scratch this can be a pro otherwise this game might not be for you in its current state.
Environment And Survival Aspect
With this being a survival game there are a lot of different systems in place. It does have some realism added to it. If you fall from a decent height you can break a leg and are in a cold area you can freeze to death.
If you are someone who does not enjoy a hunger and thirst system you will be quite annoyed with the endless requirements of these. Certain foods can also make you very thirsty. While you can drink water out of a lake that can also lead you to get poising unless you boil it first.
I wish there were more options for sanitizing water. You gather some out of a water source such as a lake, toilet, or find some and then you place it on a lite fire. There nothing else to it.
This game also has many different kinds of biomes from dessert on one end to snowing areas on another. So this means having the right clothing where ever you venture off into. At higher levels, if you put points into certain skills and the right gear that provides protection to both types. It starts to become less of an issue. Even more so since you can just go indoors, jump into a river or light a fire.
Another thing this game has you deal with is diseases, death effects, and other elements. That can really hinder your game. If you have a bad string of luck suddenly the game is now a nightmare of not being able to recover for hours.
Such as having just broken your leg, be out of the water, died a few times, and coming down with an illness and boy the games got you good. You are lucky to kill a zombie let alone make it to a water source before getting killed again!
Overall I think it adds a bit of fun and requires some planning when you are out exploring. If you are not prepared you might have to skip over venturing into a really cold area. On the other hand, some days you might find yourself just trying to recover in wherever you set up a base in. Even if that is in an attic in a random house you broke into.
Zombies And Animals
If this is your main attraction to this game and it should be you are going have a blast bashing, shooting, punching, and seeing them get killed off by traps. While sadly not as fun as State of Decay since you can’t just open a car door and run over a bunch like a bowling ball. There still quite a lot of fun to be had.
One of the biggest struggles this game has always had is just how dumb the AI is. Back in the day, they would tear down an entire house to get to you instead of using an opened window or door. While they are a little smarter these days they still are not that bright.
There are quite a few different types of zombies you will encounter they can even be infected. Everything from bloaters that could explode. Crawlers that drag themselves that you might not see. Along with special region types that you only find in cold areas or burnt forest. Just to name a couple.
While there is also wildlife to hunt such as bears and boar. You will also encounter dogs and whatever the heck this giant thing as well. The wildlife can be somewhat infected once in a while causing a greater challenge than normal. Lots of animal loot as well if you manage to take one of them down. Even if you are struggling to find food sometimes you just need to go hunting.
I feel there a decent amount of zombies and other creatures in this game. I just wish they were a bit smarter. Your own level can also affect things later on in game making it harder when all you start seeing are the infected and blowing tons of ammo just to get some very basic items out of a shop.
Day, Night And Blood Moons
The Day and Night cycle play a very important role in what actives you end up doing. During the day the zombies walk normally and are easy to notice and deal with. During the night they get increase speed, show up in bigger numbers, and can be easy to miss.
I often found myself during the day time going out and exploring new areas. Looting, collecting water, and farming resources. Once night starts to fall however its time to get back to base or find a hiding spot for the night.
Back when I was playing this with some friends we normally just AFK during the nights. Unless there where some base improvements we could undertake or craft. Most of the time you just wanted to stay very quiet unless you were down a very deep hole somewhere mining.
That was of course till the blood moons which also fits into the games name. Every 7 days the nights would turn bright red and hordes of zombies would come out to play. If you were not prepared you would just be getting killed over and over. This really helps spice up the game and they increase every 7 days bringing bigger and bigger challenges. Until you learn how to outsmart the AI then they are just on farm mode.
I really love the dynamics the day of time adds to the game. If you go out too far you can have a very bad night result in death and loss of items. While sometimes the nights do feel a little boring you can also change the settings to have them not last too long and increase the length of day. To the point where you just have a great opportunity to get up for a short break or finish off stuff in the base.
Back in the day, there used to be a single piece of the newspaper you would find on the road that gave a slight hint at what was going on. While supposedly there is more than those nowadays I’ve not to bump into it myself. You just know for certain there are areas with radiation that will kill you and things I don’t want spoil from what little I’ve seen.
This part of the game feels still quite primitive. This system, for the most part, is quite new. Nowadays they even start you off with a basic little tutorial quest when you first start. That leads you to a trader that has further jobs or “quests” for you to carry out.
Many of them are things like fetching, go and find something hidden, clear an area of zombies. While they do have different tiers of difficulty there not much to them.
This part of the game is not one I’ve spent much time around. It just lacks luster. Outside of getting new recipes if they happen to be the reward I can craft better items. There are skills to further go down this path of the game and get more rewards. It was just not for me. Felt very basic.
This is a really big and complex part of the game. Many of the higher end items require the player to specialize in a certain area like a grease monkey, hammer and and forge, or engineering to name a couple. Most of the items in the game can be crafted by the player. With everything having the ability to be broken down into more basic materials such as iron, brass, glass, wood and so on.
Crafting can be as simple as picking up a couple of rocks, plant fibers, and wood and crafting it from your inventory. To something more complex requiring a forge to smelt forged steel, a workbench to create a bunch of different components before assembling it all together. Sometimes you might even need to go out to find an item you can’t craft or the schematic for it.
Many items can also have mods you can add to them to cause more damage or provide more protection and so on. This I feel really opens up your options and lets the player further spend resources to better deal the challenges they can face. Are you willing to give up movement speed for more protection? Do you need more insulation for colder clients?
While the player can craft a lot of useful stuff like weapons, armor, and tools. You might also find yourself in a better to do off situation where you are crafting decorations that really have no use as a table. There are a lot of building options. I myself tend to just take over a building. As I just find it far too time-consuming to want to build everything from scratch.
I’m rather happy with how the crafting system keeps improving. I hope one day every single item can be crafting or it might already and I just have not found the recipe or plans for it.
Back in the good old days, you walk everywhere and if you could not carry something it was left behind. I remember looting cities and just putting down storage at each end of a city’s main road to put a bunch of stuff in. Then my friend and I would spend hours playing pack mules during the day and hiding during the night. Heck once we spent a few days tunneling into a city so we could move at night back to our base!
Nowadays you kids are spoiled. We felt lucky when we had a very buggy single seater we made out of duct tape, short pipes, rusty wheels, and a shopping basket we used for storage. This has style to it not too bad for being living in the apocalypse.
Don’t even get me started on the amount of truck space this bad boy has. Sure it took a lot of resources to craft but it was worth it.
I felt this was a really big and important part for any zombie killing game out there. You no longer feel so restricted to one area. You can haul a lot more items back with you without wasting a bunch of time going back and forth. Overall these new vehicles they have added recently I see as a major quality of life upgrade this game needed.
While this game is not the most graphically prolific game out there and it will sure keep aging as it has. There is a ton of exploration to be had. This is also the best way to find needed items and to build up your character.
There are two official maps. Navegane which has always been the more handcrafted map with certain areas to explore that has evolved over time. Then Random Generation that will keep expanding and growing with the player. This second option has improved quite a lot over its first inspection and can provide quite a lot more hours of gameplay. While also making the game feel fresh since you have no idea where anything is.
The game has so many different building types and locations to explore with each major update normally adding a couple more in. Each one tends to have a specific goal in the kind of loot you can expect to find there along with challenges it brining’s.
Sometimes you find single buildings without anything next to it that can be filled with hordes of zombies. Such as this live bait shop at lakes. Some of them make an excellent place to try and hold up for a night or longer. While others I would not be caught dead in one like the bait shop!
Other times you can come across giant towns and neighborhoods that have homes and business to loot.
You will also find a lot of places like Pop-N-Pills with a very cheeky name that also has focused on one type of loot. In this instance medical supplies store. That has rows and creates full of painkillers, blood bags, splinters, steroids, first aid kits and more. Finding one of these and your needs are set for quite some time.
Each area also has a certain amount of time before it resets with more loot for the player to come back and get as well as clear out any threats again. How long that takes depends on the server settings selected.
There are also just a ton of cool places to find on your own outside of buildings. You could find caves, lakes, giant forests. I often find once I have a vehicle it can be fun going on day trips out to new areas and seeing what they have to offer.
For an Alpha, this game has had quite a lot to do for some time. It has improved much over the years from trying to chop down a single tree lagging everyone around you due to the animation it had. Entire buildings falling apart because someone steps on that one tile on the roof everyone knows you should not. Into a game now that has a gyrocopter that still needs some work but you can fly! For whatever reason, a project like this will suddenly just have that day they declare it’s a full release game. It’s hard to know where that point starts. Often times you find not many improvements from a year before to that development team feeling its good.
While I prefer to review games that have been fully out for quite some time. This game has at least proven to have some staying power. Even if they stop development tomorrow or never put out another major patch it has a lot of stuff that rivals some triple-A disasters that been going around these days. With a much cheaper base price of $24.99. Where you can often find it at 50% discount during summer and winter steam sales.
I’m at over 250 hours through the years so I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth on this one no matter what it turns into or not. Most of the time it was just some weekend zombie bashing with friends on a private server. Trying not to bleed out from getting attack by dogs and finding a new place to call home base. Till we looted that area out and moved on like the nomads we were. Other times it was just solo play for a couple of hours on a weekend. Either way, I’ve had an amazing time.
Screenshots were taken and content written by @enjar. Screenshots are from a game called 7 Days To Die.