I want to tell you a story. Imagine you have the next two days off work; you decide you want to rent a game that would tide you over until the responsibilities set back in. We all know that feeling of walking into a video store, the smell of hundreds of stale boxes fill your nostrils, and you’re excited to see what all is in stock and ready to rent. You go back and forth through the isles for 15 minutes, imagining what sort of experiences you could each potential game could delve you into. You can’t settle until you see it… 7 days to die, a brand new “survival horde crafting game,” which you have heard zilch about. You eagerly flip over the fresh parcel of plastic and your eyes sprint over the selling points. Explore – huge, unique and rich environments! Craft and repair weapons, clothes, armor, tools, vehicles, and MORE! Fully destructible worlds, split screen co-op! Split screen co-op… You’re in. You think to yourself, “Awesome! My buddy can help me build a safe-house and defend it against the denizens of the underworld, this’ll be great!” You immediately check the game out, and rush home to start the Xbox download.
Once the download is complete you fire the game up, and explore the menus. You’re was surprised with the amount of features and options available for an Xbox game; different characters, SO MANY difficulty settings that each had their own variations of zombies, survival and creative multiplayer modes. There is a lot here; this game is obviously more tailored to a PC user.
Your excitement builds in anticipation as you load the actual game. The graphics are the most immediately unpleasant thing you notice. Low resolution grass, trash, blood, and cars are easy enough to make out within the small draw distance. You aren’t someone who will take the visuals to court, as long as the gameplay well makes up for it.
Thanks to the quest system, you’re able to rapidly pick up on the essentials. And after bloodying your fists on the trees, harvesting stones, and yanking on the low res grass; you easily craft a stone axe, and the latest in grass fashion to start your adventure with. It’s not much, but you know you’re going to be building bad ass armor, all in due time.
Your head swivels to see your first pillage-able landmark. An abandoned house which you have conveniently spawned next to. A rush of exhilaration and unrestricted curiosity consumes you as you step inside the uninhabited abode. You find some beneficial items like water, a can of beans, and a candle. A few frame freezes later your backpack weighs slightly heavier on your back as you wander out better equipped for the trails that lay ahead.
While eyeing for feathers in a meadow to construct a bow, you see a silhouette in the distance. “Another player perhaps?” You ask yourself as you close in on the shadowy creature swaying in the distance…
Stop. Stop the story. I can’t do it anymore… You guys, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. This is when things started to go from bad to a whole lot worse. Now in this meadow, I could have sworn this was another character doing the Bernie, a popular dance that died off months ago (video of someone doing the Bernie). But I was wrong. It was a zombie, and the animation was laughable at best. I readied my stone axe that I had so tenderly crafted, and ran in close for the kill. I pulled back on the trigger… and then… it happened…The swinging animation of the axe had absolutely no follow-through… I’ve never seen an arm move like this in my life. Remember when you were playing kickball and you’d try to kick a ball but you miss the mark, your leg overextends and tears the muscle along with all of your pride and cool-factor because all the kids who witnessed it on the kickball fields. It’s like that… just the opposite… in every way… Except for the pain and embarrassment felt along with it. It was sooo bad. After this the poor animations stuck out like a sore thumb. I almost died laughing at a deer running away from me after I beat on his backside with a half assed swing.
The longer I played the more things I saw that made me rethink my decision at the video store. Maybe this game just wasn’t for me. But how could that be?! This game is the combination of Dead Island’s zombie action, Fallout 4 scavenging, and Arma’s in depth survival system that made you adapt to your environment, Minecraft-like building... and yet, the execution of this concoction is makes you feel exactly like… well the first time you find human fecal matter in the game.
The combat packed no punch, the scavenging left something to be desired, the survival system had no life, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to waste my time doing construction work.
After I finally died my first time after consuming broken glass… Yeah, how is that realistic in anyway? WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD DO THAT?! Anyways, after dying to internal bleeding from EATING the broken glass… I gave up on the story I was so eloquently crafting for myself. I was now ready to review.
The graphics were terrible, and so was the game on a technical standpoint. Freezes every other minute, assets that transformed, the inability to stay connected to a multiplayer server… it all was tallying up. It’s 2016 and I’m playing on the Xbox One ya’ll. They want you to pay $30 dollars on this game, retail? I feel cheated after spending 3.
I was ready drive back up to the video store, and trade this game in for something I could actually enjoy on my two days off. So I did. But the magic I had felt before vanished, as I desperately pleaded with the employee to let me trade in this game, not because it was broken or didn’t work. Because it was BAD. I didn’t want to lie to him, and I don’t want to lie to you.
7 Days to Die gets 3 whiffed balls on the playground out of 10.