Pop Culture Embassy Review: 7 Days to Die (Early Access)

7 Days to Die is a voxel based “survival horde crafting game” with a tower defense feel being developed by The Fun Pimps. Set in a post World War 3 apocalyptic world where a new virus causes dead human beings to return from the dead as zombies, you must gather resources and the knowledge to use them to survive. And right now, it looks to be one of the best, if not the best, zombie genre games ever.

Think survival horror meets Minecraft and you’ve got a good idea of what this game is like.

If you’re like me, you love the zombie genre, but are sick of all the half-assed attempts at zombie survival games out there. Well, be sick no longer, friend. 7 Days to Die is the elixir you’ve been waiting for!

The first thing you’re going to notice when you start up your first single player game or multi-player server is the huge amount of customization available in the setup menus. Whether you want a Walking Dead style game experience, 28 Days Later type, or something in between, it can be done in the setup menus. I assure you though, the first thing you’re going to want to do when you start up is to turn the difficulty and zombie spawn rate down.

This game can be very unforgiving at “normal” settings. You’ve been warned.

The crafting system is very well done. It’s very reminiscent of Minecraft, but much smoother. There is no work bench in the game. The majority of craft-able items are created from your crafting tab on your character screen. The exception being items that require a forge or campfire to create. The crafting process is made even easier by making your known recipes search-able. If you’ve created an item once, in the future you can just click on it in your crafting menu and the materials required for that item will be placed in the proper configuration in your crafting window—assuming, of course that you have all of the materials required.

The Fun Pimps understand that for a horror game to be a horror game, it needs to have a certain creep factor, and they give it to you whether you want it or not. From the moment you spawn into the world, mostly naked, you immediately see zombies shambling about and hear their moans in the distance. It creeps you out big time and that feeling never really goes away. It only gets worse when they spot you, a horde shows up, or when night falls. Even after having played the game quite a bit over the last couple of months, the sound of a zombie snarling when it knows I’m around really hits me somewhere very deep in my psyche and pushes me toward panic mode.

 

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For a voxel game, 7 Days to Die actually looks pretty good. There are currently nine different biomes ranging from desert to prairie to snowy forest and pretty much everything in between. They all look and feel different to one another and are completely immersive. My only real complaint about the graphics are the way the player character models are animated. The animation is pretty clunky and actually reminds me of watching other players in a Doom 2 death match.

The only other complaints I have currently are about food and water consumption and weapon/item durability.

The amount of food and water that you have to ingest is ridiculous. I’m no dietitian, but I’m guessing they easily have you eating 10,000 calories a day and washing it down with 3 gallons of water. If you really were ingesting that much food and water, there’s no way you’d ever be able run, regardless of whether or not you had zombies on your ass.

Your tool and weapon durability in the game are equally silly. Firing just 100 rounds drops your weapon durability by twenty-five percent. So, in 400 rounds or so your weapon will fail. In the real world, if your firearm became completely useless after 400 rounds, I seriously doubt many people would be trusting them with their lives. However, this may not be an issue in the next update as the developers are planning on implementing a new quality level system for guns in game. If it goes well, this new system will also be used with tools and armor.

Despite my few nitpicks about 7 Days to Die, I believe it is entirely possible for this game to become as big as Minecraft over time. It is by far the most polished and fun early access game I’ve ever played. At this point in its development, this is one of the few early access games I would highly recommend.

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