It all began in a desert environment. I awoke in a daze, struggling to focus on my immediate surroundings. Equipped with very little supplies, I noticed I was clothed in next to nothing. A cardboard box came into vision nearby. I ruffled through it, attaining an empty jar and some miscellaneous papers.
I found myself snorting at my findings and rolling my eyes. Paper? Really? What, was I going to write sonnets and serenade the zombies into their eternal slumber? It was all a bit of a headscratcher. I came to the understanding real quick though that I was alone in an intolerant apocalypse. I had to make do with what I found.
…which wasn’t much.
7 Days to Die, developed by The Fun Pimps, was originally released on Early Access on Steam back in late 2013. Finally, after various updates and some polishing, the first-person survival horror became available for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I personally have had the luxury of adventuring through an abandoned world on the PS4, and though there were many odd glitches and frequent lagging, 7 Days to Die is actually pretty challenging.
Starting out, I was presented with the option of multiplayer or going solo. Considering I wasn’t ready to embarrass myself online yet, I began my journey as a lone wolf. Immediately, I was showered with an abundance of adjustable options. Ranging from how long a day lasts in real time to modifying the zombies’ reaction rate, these features are a respectable addition. Such settings can be changed anytime during gameplay. Hell, the option to cheat is even available; you just don’t attain the fancy achievements.
Additionally, a desert map and a randomly generated environment are the main squeezes in terms of stages. Since I apparently enjoy heat strokes and stepping on cacti, I stumbled into the dry lands where all of my inevitable deaths would transpire. Ah, how bittersweet.
The entirety of 7 Days to Die entails scavenging for items and crafting various concoctions. Well, and staying alive, of course. Mind you, the crafting concept is a lot more difficult than it seems, for key materials aren’t just lying around. I would get so desperate at times, sauntering around dehydrated through the uncomfortable warmth in hopes to acquire a rotting garbage bag.
A garbage bag.
There was nothing quite like finding one, though. It’s like Christmas morning. Even if the bag contains a can of expired dog food, I will take what I can get. That’s the beauty of this entire experience – in the midst of a lonely world engulfed by the walking dead, every little bit counts. Hunger, thirst, sickness, and other factors that play into everyday life are vital in 7 Days to Die and must be prioritized in order to survive. So yes, that disgusting bottle of murky swamp water will be consumed because otherwise I will die.
But I will also contract diarrhea from its disgusting contents and that’s really no fun for anyone. It’s plain to see that there is no happy medium here.
On a brighter note though, various species of animals are wandering about the open world. Depending on the surroundings, most can be hunted and used as a food source or even for raw materials. Though it may seem nearly impossible to put down a deer with a wooden arrow, with enough determination it can be done. Probably.
Typically, daytime appeared the most logical time to go hunting and search for resources. Daylight is typically the slowest segment of the game, but I learned to appreciate this down time. Well, that is until I died from a heat stroke more than was necessary. At night though is when the zombies were most persistent on hunting me down. Raging at me full speed until I experienced terrible anxiety, I threw my hands up in surrender to the rotting corpse.
In a nutshell, I discovered there wasn’t a decent time to go scavenger hunting. I just had to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
Crafting items requires a lot of patience, exploration, and skill. Any skill is developed through the leveling up process or by practicing said skill during gameplay. In the beginning, I was carried through a brief tutorial. Immediately, scraps of clothing were created from grass and wooden clubs constructed from tree branches. This was done by punching a tree or a plant. Yes, believe it or not, punching various things became the norm, for damage was not taken and I could destroy almost anything I wanted with my fists of steel.
A bedroll is manufactured early on as well, which I can take with me anywhere and use as my spawn point when I die. Furthermore, venturing away from the safety zone is essential, because supplies run out quick. I happened to discover my first pistol in an abandoned house’s toilet, fully loaded. Ammo is scarce, though. Luckily with the right materials, ammunition can be manufactured.
Unfortunately, a lot of doors are locked and rooms cannot be accessed unless the doors are destroyed. Bring on the punches. It is a tad time consuming, but I’d rather save my iron club to bash in a zombie’s skull than break it in attempt to open a door. It’s imperative to be practical.
Or, for example, I was lucky enough to discover a locked house occupied by zombie Dobermans, which chased me up to the roof. I resided here for quite some time, because they scared the shit out of me. Sure, I was dying of thirst and dehydration, but it was better than having my limbs torn off, right?
It was pretty entertaining, though, when the infected pup is a frozen illusion on screen and cannot attack you. Gotta love those tiny mishaps.
When I first initiated my stance in the apocalypse, I was oblivious on what to expect on the seventh day. Turns out, I definitely should not have been out and about looking for aloe plants, because it turns out a horde of hungry corpses and zombified animals are on a mission to annihilate me. You live, you learn. In my case, I had to die first.
Like I briefly mentioned, 7 Days to Die is full of glitches. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either and the draw distance is terrible. Of course, in an open world setting this is fairly typical, but it shouldn’t be so consistent. When in contact with a zombie, the last thing anyone wants to experience is a delay in movement and being brutally attacked because of it. I mean come on, how am I expected to survive like this? It’s ludicrous. Not to mention, if I’m not facing an item at a certain angle, the option to take it isn’t available, which can be hectic when thrown into a life-or-death scenario. All I wanted was the aloe plant.