7 Days To Die Preview (Alpha 9)
The month is August 2014, that is for certain. The date, however, has been lost to me now as the days blur together as I stare into the wasteland and pray that I never see a soul for the rest of my days. My eyes wander down to the pistol in my hand and I have the same thought that has plagued me since hell appeared on earth: Is today the day I die? It matters not, as only one thing is certain, only The Fun Pimps can be blamed for my situation. 7 Days to Die is a first-person survival game with obvious inspiration from DayZ and Minecraft. The Fun Pimps, the developers behind 7 Days To Die, have set their title down the route of Steam early access after a successful Kickstarter campaign and I’ll be basing my opinion about the game in its current state as of 31st August 2014. There is no set release date as far as I can gather but there are consistent updates to the current alpha build of the game, which is shaping the game with feedback from the community. The basic premise of the game is essentially this: You “awake” in a random location and with only a few supplies and resources, you have to survive the current zombie epidemic. Yet, as we all know, any game story which involves “zombies” is far, far from simple.\
The game has singleplayer and multiplayer components, with the latter being far more entertaining. Whilst the single player has a certain ambiance, it really lacks meaningful gameplay in my opinion. After initially waking up and taking in your surroundings, it’s essentially a fight to survive from the zombie horde until you get bored. Whilst the basic idea of the game is great, and fans can enjoy a new zombie survival experience, in its current state there are certainly aspects that need to be worked on, which I will be touching upon later. Collecting resources like grass, rocks and wood and then crafting them together to make a sharp rock axe or other useful pieces of equipment can be made to fend off the horde and survive another day. Crafting weapons is just the beginning though, as this can expand into full fortification of buildings.
It’s the multiplayer aspect where the game really shines though. With either Cooperative PvE or PvP components depending on the server you choose, it’s the interaction with other players which meant I could look past the game’s faults. Cranking up the difficulty and fortifying the base ready for a night of zombie bashing was extremely fun. My friends and I were working together to fend of the horde and each of us had set roles to help the process become more efficient. Having a joint cache of weapons and resources meant we were all able to pitch into the struggle as dusk was slowly creeping and once night time hit, there was not a chance of getting outside without a nasty Z trying to rip us apart. If facing off against brainless AI isn’t your fancy, then heading over to a PvP server with friendly fire enabled can offer a fresh experience and instantly takes me back to DayZ and the ever burning question that pops into my head every time I see another player…Friend? Or foe?
Graphically, the game is mixed. Some of the textures are nice on the zombies and trees, but wide open vistas send me back to the days of playing Might and Magic 7. Some of the zombie animations need some work as well, as it’s basically easy to kill the zombies without taking too much damage, simply by walking back whilst attacking and the zombies swinging wildly at where you once stood. The audio needs some work on it as well. What can only be described as the call of a frightened koala coming from some of the zombies needs serious balancing. On more than one occasion I was shocked to hear what appeared to be a zombie in close proximity, only to discover that the only other creature within eye sight was a clear 200 meters away.
Whilst the premise of the game is great and the multiplayer aspect can leave people engaged to try and survive another day in zombie hell, for me the current flaws of the alpha build and consistent crashes that left me frustrated means I’ll be waiting until a full release before stepping back in and taking a look at how the game has progressed. Still, there is a lot of potential in the game, so if you have already dug many hours into DayZ and want the crafting experience that only the likes of Minecraft can give you, then I would certainly give it a shot, even if the current early access price is a little steep.
Head over to the the game’s Steam Early Access page if you’re interested in some zombie survival loving!