Since its release in June 2016, the zombie survival game 7 Days to Die has received numerous reviews, yet most of them edge more towards criticism than praise, especially regarding the console version, which is the one I played. Yet despite these criticisms, I personally found the game an enjoyable experience.
The criticisms aren’t without merit. Like many other players, I saw pigs attempting to defy gravity and jump into trees, I saw zombies glitch through the floor and only re-emerge after they’d dug themselves out from within the ground, and perhaps my favourite, a ridiculous stag run animation which was more akin to the bouncing of a kangaroo. Despite these (arguably numerous) glitches, I still found the game incredibly enjoyable.
As a game, I’m sure many who’ve played would agree with me when I say that it most resembles Minecraft. Starting with nothing, you must punch and destroy the surrounding environment, in order to gather resources to build your first key items, and then later build up a base out of blocks of whatever material you choose. The twist: every seventh night consisting of an attack by a zombie horde, with an increase in difficulty for every seven days that go by.
“Despite numerous glitches, I still found the game incredibly enjoyable.”
Yet although the game’s basis is rather simplistic, it’s still enjoyable to play. Unlike most zombie games, the differentiation in zombie type is actually rather substantial, not only in design, but in abilities. Simple zombies attack with medium strength only when within reaching distance, whilst others have their own unique attributes: shooting acidic projectile vomit at the player, screaming to attract a horde and zombies with such extreme defence that they simply refuse to die.
When dealing with these Feral zombie monsters you’re more likely to run out of ammo and patience before you eventually kill it. In fact, it is probably these titan-resembling zombies, that gave me the most trouble, though as they give not only the most experience, but the best loot, it did make killing them worth it. Thankfully, they don’t appear too often, and not until late game.
“Unlike most zombie games, the differentiation in zombie type is actually rather substantial.”
Also, unlike other games such as Unturned, the scavenging and crafting element of 7 Days to Die is much more interesting than any other that I’ve played. Not only do you need to find specific schematics for better armour and weaponry, but the variety of items you can create is incredibly diverse, ranging from not only useful weapons (such as AK-47’s and Sniper Rifles) but also the more miscellaneous and cosmetic. Whilst technically useless, room furnishings help to add a sense of personalisation to your base which other, more simplistic, games severely lack.
Also, unlike Minecraft, 7 Days to Die implements a sense of gravity; structures collapse without proper support. A touch I particularly appreciated, even if I had to discover it through watching an entire portion of building collapse. This addition of gravity especially causes you as a player to be more careful during block destruction and, in multiplayer, can really add an element of humour, after all, who doesn’t love to collapse the roof your friend is standing on, simply by removing one block?
“The scavenging and crafting element of 7 Days to Die is much more interesting than any other that I’ve played.”
However, I will admit that the game is flawed, especially for the console. Although I spent hours upon hours within the game, once I reached day 64, I’d achieved everything I believe the game had to offer; almost all schematics had been learnt, my base was practically impenetrable, my armour and weapons were of the highest quality, and I had a minibike which made outrunning hordes, no matter what size, rather straightforward.
Not only that, but a lot of my enjoyment may have come from the fact that I played it multiplayer, and had no expectations of the game beforehand. In fact, my boyfriend and I only stumbled upon it accidentally when looking for a new 2-player game to play. It’s also arguably overpriced for it’s content and were I to play it single-player, I don’t think I’d have gotten nearly as much fun out of it.
Overall, despite its flaws, 7 Days to Die is still a decent game that I would happily recommend to other gamers – especially in regards to its multiplayer features. My only suggestion would be to play it on the PC, which, to this day, is still being patched and modified, as the console version is arguably an unfinished product.
Although perhaps controversial, I’d argue that the game doesn’t deserve the amount of criticism it’s received. If you’re looking for a fun zombie game, it’s worth a go, and if you do try it, maybe you too will be pleasantly surprised.