7 Days to Die heads to the Xbox One hoping to capture the essence of titles like ARC: Survival Evolved and add zombies, because everyone likes zombies, Right ?
Zombies are a popular addition to any franchise, and when you look at the quality of titles like State of Decay, Dead Rising, Dying Light and even Dead Island it’s easy to see how an online multiplayer zombie title could not only work, but be highly regarded amongst gamers, With 7 Days to Die being among the first to really tread this ground on Xbox One, there’s little doubt many gamers will purchase it on that fact alone.
When you do step inside 7 Days, you begin with a brief tutorial, craft the trusty stone axe, a bow and arrows, and then some clothes and the basics you’ll need to sleep.
During this time you won’t see an awful lot, there’s the madatory trees and rocks on the floor, maybe a derelict building in the distance and if your lucky you’ll see a few zombies too, but lets leave those guys alone for a while.
This initial section gives you much of what you need in both inventory and the menu’s, crafting system and experience you’ll need to move forward at a steady pace before you’re unleashed to fend for yourself, soon enough one of those zombie dudes will come staggering up towards you, and while I would love to see them crying out for brains, there’s the more subtle grunt and groan as they stagger towards you.
Nobody has quite picked up how a zombie, a mass of decay can even see or hear, but these guys know where you are and will happily attack you, there’s always the option of outrunning them, but even trying to climb out of there way will see them clamber up after you, a good beating with a club usually works but these guys seem to be damage sponges and will take more than a dozen hits before they drop.
During these early stages of 7 Days, the zombies don’t feel stupidly powerful, they just chip away at your health, but because your heavy stone club seems to do half the damage of their bare hands you’ll soon be facing death if you attract the interest of too many zombies.
Some would say that’s a good thing, forcing the gamer to avoid confrontation, but these are standard zombies, no super powers, no leaping from rooftops, so I’d really expect a club to do more damage. It’s almost understandable that developers would want to highlight the danger of a zombie or the power of latter crafter weapons, but there’s an unhealthy balance which leaves you feeling dissapointed.
Once you decide to stand and fight or keep away from the zombies, you’ll begin to explore a little, after a few attempts every starting spawn while varied was far from populated, there was no bustling town, no thick lucious forests filled with wildlife and no hordes of zombies waiting by the corner store,
Both with the zombie population, and the derelict surroundings everything feels a little sparse, almost Fallout styled that you’ll see a structure in the distance, and spend a few minutes walking towards it, whereas Fallout would conceal a hidden quest or vendor, 7 Days usually rewards you with a derelict building, and if your lucky you might find another zombie there waiting to soak up your flailing club strikes only to backhand you a few times and leave you fearing for your life.
This all add’s to a pretty underwhelming experience which will initially be tough to see past, Venturing on though you’ll slowly gain more powerful weapons which make encounters more fun, and playing co-operatively is always more fun when you’re taking down zombies.
It’s hard not to compare 7 Days to the wealth of other Survival and Zombie titles on the Xbox One and unfortunately it doens’t make for good reading, Dying Light gave us seemless co-operative play with bustling surroundings packed with hordes of zombies, 7 Days gives closer to a barren wasteland with a handful of zombies, Ark : Survival Evovled gave us a deep crafting and progression system, filled with wildlife and a deep training system, 7 Days gives us a barren wasteland with a handful of zombies, even Minecraft gives us more of a world to explore and more zombies too.
As with most survival games, it’s a slow start but 7 Day’s never really gets out of second gear, and even the most patient of gamers will struggle with the poor visuals and often buggy gameplay with unbalanced combat and sparsely populated areas.