Hell Week


HIGH An interesting microcosm of all the things that make survival sandbox games a good time…

LOW …as well as the things that make survival sandbox games a tedious, buggy chore.

WTF This game is nowhere near complete, but is being sold as final!


If there was ever a genre that could serve as the poster child for early access, it’s the open-world survival game.

While they’re not the only ones doing it, titles like DayZH1Z1, Ark: Survival Evolved, and RUST most visibly represent the practice of selling a game that is still in active development, inviting players to both fund that development and be party to all the changes, refinements, and mistakes that the developers will make on the way to the “true” release. It might work for some, but this ends up a real problem for 7 Days To Die.

The fact is, 7 Days is nowhere near complete and barely even qualifies as stable, but is being sold on PS4 as a final product. Unlike Xbox One or Steam, Sony has no formal early access program. While that certainly plays a part in this odd turn of events, it isn’t a good excuse for the state of this release, and it feels outright deceptive. I imagine that paying customers would feel like they’ve been had if they bought this game for full price, and I wouldn’t blame them.

Putting aside issues the technical (and possibly ethical) issues, however, does reveal a reasonably engaging — if largely unoriginal — core of play.

7 Days To Die revolves around a weekly cycle of crafting-focused survival in a nondescript wilderness teeming with hostile mutants. Players cobble together everything they need to live from resources found about the landscape, assembling gear from recipes and snapping together pre-built parts to form various forts. The act of assembling the fort in particular feels satisfying, scratching that good old Minecraft itch by conveying a real feeling of accomplishment and purpose in a game that otherwise has little narrative or story-based motivation.

The other mechanics are fairly typical for the survival genre, featuring constantly-dwindling meters of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and temperature. Play largely revolves around keeping those meters filled by scavenging while still making enough time to construct and reinforce a proper fort by week’s end. Why the fort? Apart from shelter, a huge wave of powerful enemies will descend upon the area, testing every defense players have built and every survival technique they’ve learned. The properly-prepared survive, and the unprepared are devoured.

Unfortunately, this compelling premise is undermined at every turn by its abysmal technical situation. Dropped weapons fall through the ground, enemies clip through walls, doors, and floors, and some systems are outright broken. The interface is also badly optimized for console, with barely legible font sizes and a slow, cursor-driven menu system. Despite having so little genre competition on the PS4, 7 Days To Die ends up feeling substandard, and it’s unconscionable that Telltale would be willing to publish and release the game in this state.

Even three months and numerous patches after release, it’s clear that this project is nowhere near complete.Worse, the developers are clearly prioritizing the more successful PC version over this compromised port job. Console-owning fans of the survival genre may find something to enjoy in 7 Days To Die, but my advice is to steer clear all the same. Rating: 3 out of 10


Disclosures: This game was developed by The Fun Pimps and published by The Fun Pimps and Telltale Games. It is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 20 hours of play were devoted to the single-player and multiplayer modes, and the game was not completed.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game’s rating is M, and contains blood and gore, strong language, and violence. The game centers around the player dealing with adverse survival situations, and fights both zombies and other players. Realistic violence is shown in the game, and the writing and audio contains some strong profanity. Online interactions are possible in multiplayer.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: The game has subtitle options, though unsubtitled audio cues from enemy creatures can play a significant factor in situational awareness.

Remappable Controls: All button controls can be remapped.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes in the game, and the art style may be difficult to decipher for players who have difficulty seeing dark objects.

Josh Tolentino
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2 years ago

Oh and devs are hacks and dont care…….

2 years ago

This game on ps4 with someone without intrnet is a SCAM …..PERIOD…… If you have internet to get patch pfft i mean rest o game as its not a patch but the game itself then its great …… BUYER BEWARE internet needed try playing without the patch……ill wait lol…..

ann Campion
ann Campion
3 years ago

I agree the game had pretty much come to a stand still, while PCs have jeeps and girocopter I am left with the motor bike. My base is brill all concreat so I got bored and no longer play.

3 years ago

You may want to revisit. In 2016 when you wrote this and now in 2020 the game is being marketed at early access despite your claims it was being sold as a completed game. It has never claimed to be complete. The small team of dev’s work very hard and release many many updates and since the time of your hit piece it has grown and evolved. Perhaps learning the difference between a completed game and early access might be a good step before criticizing it for bugs. Also, if you want to be a game critic you maybe you… Read more »

Brad Gallaway
3 years ago
Reply to  Panda

Editor here. I was initially going to delete your comment since you’re being rude, but since you missed some facts, you may want to revisit. For the sake of clarity: “The fact is, 7 Days is nowhere near complete and barely even qualifies as stable, but is being sold on PS4 as a final product. Unlike Xbox One or Steam, Sony has no formal early access program. While that certainly plays a part in this odd turn of events, it isn’t a good excuse for the state of this release, and it feels outright deceptive. I imagine that paying customers… Read more »

3 years ago
Reply to  Brad Gallaway

I would enjoy a new critique from the author of this article. In the current alpha(19), it is so much more diverse than it was when i first played it many years ago. I personally feel it has a much stronger case now, than it had back then for a survival game.

Jack Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Brad Gallaway

Right so I’m not trying to butt into a 5 year old comment war here, but have any of you done literally any research into the background of the how and why. The Fun Pimps do not handle the console release of this game, because console ports/updates are ridiculously expensive and require a ludicrously thorough and expensive verification process. The console port was (keyword was) being released through TellTale Games. Because PC to console ports are often to expensive to do without financial backing from an established company, for example Activision or in this case TTG. I won’t go into… Read more »

Alex Booth
5 years ago

The developers are still dragging their feet over 7DTD and haven’t released an update in what seems like years. This game had so much potential but now its an Early Access cast aside like so many other craft and survive titles