Game Review: 7 Days to Die

Game Review: 7 Days to Die

Survival horror games are a genre I’ve been enjoying for years, with a focus recently on fairly nasty multiplayer such as DayZ. I picked up 7 Days to Die in this year’s Steam summer sales as a refreshing change of pace from constantly fighting with other people to try and focus more on the survival aspects of the games. I’d been interested for a while but it’s still in Early Access, and you all know how I feel about Early Access games! So I wasn’t willing to pick it up at full price.

However, this is one game that I’ve discovered doesn’t live up to the usual Early Access problems. While I still reel at the term and the idea behind it, I have had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to survive and haven’t noticed too many issues that I normally encounter with an Early Access game. Most of my first night was spent running from one undead dog who just wouldn’t give up no matter what I did, and eventually building a house with traps around the outside that I kept walking into and injuring myself. Yeah, I’m that guy.

The game is very sandboxy, in that you can go anywhere on the map and build whatever defences you want to protect yourself. You can grow food such as corn or blueberries, hunt animals for food and skins for crafting, and craft tools and weapons, or even build houses and fortresses. 7 Days to Die features both singleplayer and multiplayer modes, with multiplayer being as large or small scale as you want. I spent most of the weekend playing with just myself and my fiancé, meaning we didn’t have to worry about people who were just out to break your defences down for fun. While that certainly has its place, I wasn’t in the mood, and it was nice to be able to switch off.

Game Review: 7 Days to Die

One of my favourite features, however, is that you can add someone to your friends list. Something so simple, but such a vast quality of life improvement for a game that benefits greatly from collaboration. This allows you to see each other on the map if both players accept, and makes it easier to team up to fight the zombie hordes together, or indeed other players if you decide to play on a larger multiplayer server.

It isn’t a horror as such, but it is quite frightening to be running around at night and realise that those shambling zombies you avoided so easily in the daytime? Yeah, they get a new lease of life (or unlife?) during the night or in dark areas, meaning they’re significantly faster and much more dangerous as a result! They also will break anything, including walls, windows, rooves, the floor — literally anything to get at you and your delicious brains. You will start to smell if you carry around fresh food as well, particularly if it’s on your toolbelt, making it much harder to hide even underground or in a structure, so it’s worth storing food safely to avoid being attacked. The game forces you to be inventive with your creations to make sure you reduce the chances of your house being destroyed, or you being killed.

Like Rust, placing a sleeping bag or bed will create a respawn point for you, which makes the game significantly easier with regards to sticking with friends or near your house, where all of your gear has been stored in storage chests and gun lockers. Aeroplanes will fly overhead and drop supply drops from time to time, with bottled water or food, or even weapons if you’re lucky.

Game Review: 7 Days to Die

7 Days to Die is fun but not without its downsides, however. Combat is still a little buggy, and while running away from a zombie I would dodge in to smack it in the face and would somehow hit — wait for it — a blade of grass which would soak all of my damage, meaning the zombie clocked me one on the head and I died. Most unfortunate! Also, zombie dogs can and will climb ladders to attack you viciously when you least expect it. I have died several times when there was nothing nearby, and I wasn’t bleeding out. It seems that a zombie hit me when I was on low health but there were no zombies in my near vicinity, so I’m not sure how that happened.

The audio is also a little buggy, with zombies screaming equally loudly regardless of how far away they are. This makes it pretty difficult to tell exactly where zombies are, which is somewhat interesting but mostly just frustrating for someone who relies on directional sound to figure out when someone is sneaking up on them.

I would still recommend the game if you enjoy games like Minecraft or Rust for their survival and building aspects, but if you’re on the fence about it try to pick it up during a sale, or wait til it comes out of Early Access. Definitely a fun game though, with a lot of scope for improvement too.

Game Review: 7 Days to DieScreenshot source: Official 7 Days to Die Website

How I fell for Titanfall

Titanfall Review: Wall-running is the coolest thing ever.

Titanfall Review: Some pretty cutscenes from the campaign.

I would normally do a First Impressions post about a game when I pick it up, but considering I’ve fallen head over heels for Titanfall since getting my paws on it last week, I don’t know if a First Impressions would honestly do it any justice.

While I have noticed some problems — there are some minor issues with hit detection, and I have already encountered a few blatantly obvious cheaters — I can easily look past the few flaws I’ve met, and the fact that it is kind of a rehashed Call of Duty with giant robots because the game makes me feel like a badass. I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype, but after five minutes in the tutorial and my first wall-running experience, I was legitimately giggling with glee.

For those of you who don’t know me, I played Quake III: CPMA semi-competitively (on a local level in local tournaments) and was pretty damn good at it. But without going into too much detail, movement was my jam. I loved rocket-jumping, strafing at ridiculous speeds, and drifting. Admittedly I was better at shooting rockets and grenades at other people than using them to propel myself, but I loved flying around corners and surprising people. With guns. So when I discovered I could run along a wall, bounce to a nearby wall, and then practically somersault from wall to wall for extended distances before landing on a roof and kicking someone in the face, I was sold on the spot.

Titanfall Review: Life is better with a titan.

My favourite moment of sheer badassery so far has been spotting a teammate fighting with an enemy in an upper floor room. I sprinted along one wall, sprang across to the wall of the building they were fighting in, climbed the wall sideways and flew through the window only to kick the enemy in the face as he tried to propel himself out the window in escape. I felt more like a boss than any game has made me feel in a long time.

A few gripes would be that all of the weapons are hit-scan, so pretty much point and shoot regardless of range, and matchmaking can be a bit frustrating at times. I’m also in the camp of people who thinks the smart pistol is silly, as it auto-locks onto nearby targets — this takes longer for pilots (ie other players) than for NPCs — making it a little easier in theory to use, however I don’t find it enough of a deterrent to stop me from having fun.

Do I think the game is worth it? Hell to the yes. However, I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea. Non-FPS gamers will probably hate it anyway, and if you really didn’t like Call of Duty you might find the weapons feel a little weird at first. I was always more of a Battlefield player, but I did play COD2 and MW1, so I was at least vaguely familiar with the “feel” of the game. Why did I end up loving it when COD wasn’t really my game before? One sentence from the TV advert really summed it up for me:

Life is better with a titan.

Game Review: Gone Home

Spoiler Alert!
Please read with care if you haven’t already played Gone Home.

Game Review: Gone Home, an interactive story adventure game by the Fullbright Company.

I picked up this gem during the Autumn Steam Sale as several coworkers had recommended it to me. Since it was 75% off, I figured why not? I decided to play it last Sunday evening, over some delicious warm food and a cup of tea. I can honestly say that was the best choice I made.

Gone Home is strangely soothing and familiar. The story is told beautifully, and despite the fact that I was constantly squealing, “Aliens!” as I found clues (seriously, The X-Files was circled in the TV guide, and there was an “I want to believe” poster in my sister’s bedroom…) I was genuinely surprised. The game was not at all like I expected. It was suitably creepy, but in a way that made the entire story feel more real. Gone Home is a first-person story adventure, and you play the part of Katie, returning home after a trip to Europe. Your family, however, are gone. You try to find out what might have happened to them, and as you move through the house, you find clues that trigger journal entries by your sister, Sam. Her voice plays as she reads the journal to you, as though she’s left a note just for you.

The game builds in intensity, and you come to learn that your sister had fallen in love with her best friend, Lonnie. The story then becomes about your sister’s self-discovery, as she comes to learn more about her sexuality. The discovery is lovely to witness, and difficult as well, as you learn more and more about their developing relationship and the prejudices they face. My chest hurt when I learned that Lonnie was going to be deployed, leaving Sam behind.

Game Review: Gone Home - my heart started to pound as I climbed the stairs into the attic.

The game finally reached a crescendo; the metaphor of you climbing to the top of the house, up the stairs into the attic to the finale was not lost on me. I remember feeling my heart start to beat faster, and a lump forming in my throat. I didn’t know what I expected to find in the attic now that I finally had the key. When I read the final note from Sam, I fought back tears, and then I looked around the attic and saw the beautiful photos of her and Lonnie: their hands interlocked, the heart-shaped locket she saved up for dangling between their laced fingers; the chest pocket of Lonnie’s military uniform… The ending credits played and I burst into tears. My chest hurt, but it was cathartic. I tried really hard to hold back, but when my fiancé turned to me to ask what was wrong I smiled and the tears flowed freely.

It was only two hours of gameplay, but it was one of the most beautifully written stories, and I felt like I was truly a part of it. The game is a work of art, and it hurts that it’s over. I recommend it to anyone who wants to be emotionally involved in a game. I’d even recommend it to my mum, and she doesn’t play games! Hell, I’d even give you your money back if you didn’t enjoy it. Thank you to the Fullbright Company for letting me experience this masterpiece.