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7 Days to Die - PS4 port Review

What do you call a decent enough PC game ported poorly onto consoles? Well, now we can call it 7 Days to Die. Developed by The Fun Pimps and published by Telltale Publishing, 7 Days to Die is a first person, zombie survival game not unlike DayZ. Although more akin to Minecraft than DayZ, 7 Days to Die has a stronger emphasis on crafting and defense from zombie hordes. Regardless of the overall quality of 7 Days to Die on PC, this review is for the PlayStation 4 port.

7 Days to Die doesn't have a single player story, per se, but you can find and complete quests scattered throughout the world. The way you acquire these quests is actually fairly unique. To start a quest, you typically find a note on a dead body or at a deaddrop. This information will be logged under your quests menu.

The quests themselves aren't all that interesting though. Just the usual, "Here's where to find good loot. I'll mark it on your map." Not bad, but leaves much to be desired. It's still a nice addition that I'm glad was included. Another neat addition is the tutorial repeating for every new game, this is actually a nice addition so you won't have to constantly consult wikis and 'how-to' videos, just so you can craft shoes.

Unfortunately this is where everything falls apart. First, the HUD and menu interfaces. Clearly no foresight was used in transitioning the HUD and menus from PC to console. During actual gameplay, your quick select items are on a row at the bottom of the screen. To switch between these items, you use the left and right shoulder buttons. This actually works and I had no problems with using it. But if you want to go into your inventory, you press square or X by default, and trip over the controls trying to navigate through.

In order to make selections in your inventory, you are given a circular cursor. Cursors work great on PC, but on consoles? Not so much. You'll find yourself highlighting or hovering over the wrong items even though are trying to aim it elsewhere. It'll be too slow at first, so you can change it in the option menus, but you can never find a perfect setting. It'll accelerate either too fast or too slow. It was an absolute nightmare to go through my inventory and was not a pleasent experience.

You are able to change your inventory categories such as items, character, map, and quests with the left and right shoulder buttons. That was the only part of menu navigation that actually worked fine. There were many occasions where I needed to navigate inventory to grab an item to save myself but the game's inventory sytem made it impossible. Note to future developers and publishers: cursors do not work well on consoles.

The graphics in 7 Days to Die are jaw dropping, but not in the way you might think. The textures on PS4 are unacceptable. These kind of low res textures wouldn't have been acceptable for a PS2 game, let alone a "next gen" console. Most, if not all textures are completely flat and are only one or two colors with no detail. This genuinely baffled me. I figured that I would just have to stand still for a second to let the textures load in, but they never rendered.

Apparently we got a new Silent Hill game after all. Konami must have just renamed it 7 Days to Die. Actually, that's not what happened. 7 Days to Die on PS4 just sports an incredibly low draw distance. You are only able to see maybe 20 feet ahead of you before you are met with an empty fog void. There isn't any subtlety to this fog wall either. It's almost a completely flat wall that moves as you do, and barely covers the spawn of terrain and objects such as trees and buildings.

Animations are no different. Everything looks so stiff and unnatural, save for a few animations on zombies. It will look good on occasion when a zombie stumbles back from hard hit to the head. The same can't be said for player animations though. In first person, even your hand looks like it popped a Viagra or two when you swing an axe or a club. Everything you do looks unnaturally stiff. Watching other players' animations in multiplayer is horrifying as well. You'll start to wonder who is really the lifeless. And this is all coming from someone who couldn't care less about graphical fidelity. Take that for what it's worth.

The gameplay suffers the same fate of borderline awful design as everything else. You start off by punching a tree to gather wood, crafting wood tools to gather stone, use said stone to craft stone tools and weapons, and eventually build your way up through the material tree. Sound familiar? Well, that's because it's the same formula used by every survival indie game since Minecraft. Movement is slow and clunky, hitting enemies or other players is a matter of luck, and there's no sense of accomplishment. It's a first person shooter without the polish.

Similar to every survival game ever, you have to constantly watch your hunger and thirst levels. Apparently you're Jabba the Hutt because you're hunger and thirst levels go down way too quickly. And good luck trying to find any food or water. 7 Days to Die is so stingy with resources. You can hunt animals with a bow and arrow, or you can get lucky enough to find some food and water in buildings. Those really are your only two options.

Surprisingly, there are lite RPG elements to be found in 7 Days to Die. The more you do any action in the game, you will grow stronger and better at that action or performance. For example, the more you chop down trees; the faster you can do it next time. This sounds all great on paper, but I hardly ever noticed any changes after leveling up one ability many times. Perhaps I'm jaded after coming from playing through a great RPG, but these elements feel like secondary ideas that weren't expanded on properly.

There isn't much to say about multiplayer. It's the same game just with other people, and the ability to grief and kill other players. It could make for a decent night of fun with a couple of buddies, but it's not at all fun with random people. You can argue that it adds to the 'you don't know who to trust' style of gameplay, but there is no fun trying to play a cooperative game with people who refuse to cooperate and will kill you as soon as you spawn. This wasn't only on one server. This was on every server I tried to join. People were either waiting around designated spawn areas to kill me and others or they just killed you on sight without ever finding out if you were friendly.

I haven't played a game this surprisingly bad in a long time. 7 Days to Die fails in everything it sets out to do, with the exception of its quest system, but that just isn't enough to save it. Unfortunately, I have not played the PC version so I do not have a frame of reference to work with. Maybe every aforementioned issue I found with the PS4 version isn't a problem on PC, and more power to PC players, but I can't recommend this game to anyone that can only play on consoles. If you must play a survival game on consoles: get Ark: Survival Evolved on Xbox One, Minecraft, or just wait for DayZ to finally come to consoles.

Edited by Admin on Thursday 30th of June 2016 05:15:26 PM : 
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