I’ve been playing 7 Days to Die again this past week and everytime I return to the game, I find myself thoroughly hooked in that “ooops it’s already past midnight??”-kind of frenzy for a time. Really, survival games are the worst for time management, one minute you’re planting potatoes on your farm – the next, four hours have passed and you still didn’t take that shower before bedtime.
7 Days to Die is one fine title for anyone into survival and building sims, in fact the zombie apocalypse part is only about one third of that experience. Zombie encounters get more intense after a while but the balance between different activities is what makes this such a fun title. Survival is rough but not too rough, especially not in coop, and the dev team keeps putting great effort into making the game ever more interesting (and smooth looking!), adding more and more features and sites (air drops are fun! army camps are not!) as well as complexity to the already very accomplished crafting system. Whatever you decide to do, progress feels very rewarding.
Similar to DayZ which I have been duly impressed with in the past, 7 Days to Die is primarily also a game about atmosphere – maybe even more so. The sounds of the wilderness have been improved tenfold since the earliest builds and I get goosebumps regularly sneaking about towns or running from bears in the forest (I need a rifle!). The dynamics of the game change considerably once you got a team of three together for exploratory ventures and like with DayZ too, there’s some intriguing group psychology unfolding once several people start playing a fresh build together. Where DayZ was all about unspoken rules of conduct, 7 Days to Die coop mode is an entertaining experiment in terms of which measures of survival individual players will prioritize. In my own steady group’s case, the same scenario keeps repeating itself (Bee and Tee being my mates here):
- Tee instantly starts base building: fortification is important, so a forge must be established immediately for things like iron doors and better defensive mechanisms. Also, we need firearms as soon as possible.
- Bee is all about the farm and mining: we need crops for independent food resources and as many tunnels as possible down to the bottom of the world.
- Syl starts hunting game and cooking: we need food and drink supplies. Also our entire storage unit needs to be organized and labeled, omg chaos!
I feel like such a cliché whenever I fall back to cooking for everyone but on my personal list of survival prios, food/drink are the most immediate. No potential death could be dumber or more embarrassing than dropping dead somewhere out in the wild, pockets bursting with loot, because you ran out of food or water. At least when you keep your character fed, you can run off to wherever and start building a new base there. Dunno, maybe that’s just me. I definitely enjoy how the game inspires everyone to play to their strengths (mine seems to be foresight and organization in this case) and take on different roles for the team.
7 Days to Die is officially still in alpha which gotta be the most consistently playable alpha development I’ve ever encountered. Build 13 is about to drop soonish and looking incredibly good, so if you ever thought about checking this title out, now is the time! Immersive survival sims don’t get much better than this.