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Seven: The Days Long Gone Review – “Problems of Complete Freedom”

Last year, in December, fans of isometric stealth were presented with an amazing game called Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, which in turn literally breathed life into a rather specific genre. Now exactly a year later, the game Seven: The Days Long Gone was released, which decided to get away from adventures in feudal Japan and migrate to a dystopian world, where even a completely different concept is presented – a role-playing stealth action with an open world. Admittedly, the experiment is bold, so it can not be ignored.


Misconception


SevenThe Days Long Gone.Review

“On the island of Pe there will be where to unfold new adventures.”

From the very beginning, the leaders of the PR campaign positioned the game not quite correctly. The person who followed the news as the game was developed is aware that initially during the creation of Seven: The Days Long Gone, the authors focused on the Thief series of games and on the classic RPG games. Fool’s Theory Studio (which is responsible for the development of the game) was founded by Jakub Rokosh, the senior designer of the quests of The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It was because of all this “porridge” that it was not entirely clear what exactly the game would be. When the game got to IgroMir 2017, the concept of the game became clear, and after the release it became very clear why the Thief series of games appeared in the news at all.

It turns out that Seven: The Days Long Gone belongs to the little-known genre of “immersive sim”, which literally translates as “immersion simulator”. And, as you know, such games are revealed better if you pass them secretly, carefully and as diligently as possible. So for this reason, the game can be compared to Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, which also focuses on stealth – with all the resulting different associations.


Plot


Seven: The Days Long Gone. Reviews

“The game has a special mode of vision, with which it is much easier to determine the radius of view of enemies, search for camera control consoles and many hidden objects to move.”

The protagonist is a master thief Teriel and he was lucky to live in a strange period of the formation of mankind. The world of the game is a new dystopia, an alternate reality. In this world once lived the “Ancients” (a reference to the people of the 21st century), who at one point in time had a serious conflict with demons – spirits who made their way to the real world by an unknown path. The result of this war is the apocalypse. Or, more simply, a large-scale reset, during which humanity created a new society.

The peculiarity of the new society lies in the symbiosis of high technologies and old medieval traditions. The story is somewhat reminiscent of ELEX, where the plot and events of the game unfolded in the same setting.

The best part about this story is that the developers were not lazy and scattered funny references to the real world around the world: all sorts of “ancient artifacts” like mobile phones and remote controls.

The protagonist is a kind of classic version of the rogue hero. Teriel does not seek unnecessary communication, but he is no stranger to irony. The plot of the story is as simple as possible: the hero goes with his friend to a dangerous “business”, but as a result fails, although it would seem that this should not happen. As a result, because of his failure, he is sent in shackles to a huge island-prison called “Pe”, where the main events of the game unfold.

“Artanak is an arrogant and intelligent personality. But Teriel is just a cynic with the wind in his head. In the course of exploring the world of the island of Pe, thanks to the dialogues of these two, you will smile more than once. “

Nevertheless, luck does not turn backwards, so you will have to communicate not only with bandits and urks, but also with a completely adequate demon named Artanak. The demon has its own personal goals and motives, so with the help of the main character he is going to do some important work. And for a long time it will be unknown what exactly he plans to do, but for that it is known for sure that this has something to do with the new spiritual leader of this world – the technocrat Dragan. As a result, Teriel has no choice but to agree to this case, because otherwise he will not get out of the island.

As for the island of Pe, it may be a prison, but quite suitable for life. Despite the fact that most of the island is occupied by jungle, among which you can find traces of former civilization, on the island there are cultural places like cafes and other entertainment venues. On the populated streets of the island there is trade, and a diverse infrastructure works as it should.

“The lockbreaking system is reminiscent of hacking in games from the Bethesda studio.”

The only thing that restricts freedom is the division of the island into seven conditional zones. To get into at least one, you will need a visa. Visas, in turn, are also unusual and are capsules that must be swallowed to go further. However, according to the idea of the game, this is far from the only way to get into another zone. The main character, if desired, can find a bunch of ways to get further. You can even banally climb over the fence, hiding after that in the shadows.

And you will have to sneak to the other side through the fence often. The developers in the game have implemented quite interesting mechanics of full-fledged parkour. In practice, the implementation of such mechanics resembles Assassin’s Creed in an isometric form: the main character famously grabs different protrusions, climbs the beams, conquers all sorts of cornices, uses cables and with great pleasure neglects all the doors. At the same time, the local curious architecture of cities and nature in the locations play along with the hero in every possible way. In general, surprisingly, but all the locations turned out to be multi-layered and voluminous. So we can safely say that in visual terms in this genre so far no one has achieved such a level of multidimensionality of levels.


Thieves’ craft


Seven: The Days Long Gone. Review

“Pe Island is divided into several key zones. To get to another zone, you will need a special visa. However, it is always possible to find an illegal way to enter another territory.”

The gameplay largely depends on the morals of the player, but in general it is the following scheme. In populated locations, you will have to wander around the neighborhood in search of NPCs, chat with them and perform additional tasks. Most of all tasks are based on the thieves’ skills of the protagonist, therefore, as a rule, you will need to penetrate somewhere, steal something, commit a silent murder and engage in some sabotage activities. In general, the gameplay boils down to the fact that you need to set traps, kill enemies from behind and gradually cut out enemy patrols to go further.

Undoubtedly, I will be pleased with the mechanics of rewinding time, which in such games should have been added long ago, so that players do not languish in anticipation of some walking sentinel. In addition, this opportunity is also useful if you want to go through tasks under the cover of night, because in Seven: The Days Long Gone a dynamic change of day and night is implemented.

Nevertheless, you will have to go as carefully and carefully as possible, because at any time the passage of Seven: The Days Long Gone in stealth mode can develop into an open confrontation. However, in the game there are even such tasks in which it is initially necessary to pass noisy. In addition, the combat system was originally conceived not just for show, but as a full-fledged element of the gameplay, so the game will have many different techniques: rolls, blows of varying degrees of strength, jerks, long-range weapons and unique abilities that can be pumped.

“Seven: The Days Long Gone has mixed up. To be brief, instead of the usual experience, it is necessary to look for abilities and resources for mastering new skills. “

As for the leveling of the character, it is quite simple and linear, even if there are different branches in it. Of course, some branches help to fight more effectively in close combat, and some will be useful for successful stealth, while others will help for survival in the middle of the wild territory of the island, etc.

The world in the game is really spacious and open. Therefore, in the first stages of the game, a slightly lost state appears. It is worth noting that many role-playing games from the “old school” did not allow themselves this. The authors simply threw the players into a kind of “sandbox”. In Seven: The Days Long Gone, it’s very different. For example, one of the tasks in the starting location generally throws the main character into a completely different territory of the map, which is located a few kilometers from the starting position. And at this time the hero will not have the necessary skills and equipment, which significantly complicates the passage of Seven: The Days Long Gone. In this regard, the game simply says: “spin as you want.” That’s what freedom is called in an RPG.

In fact, every task in the game is just a “sandbox” in a “sandbox”. The bottom line is that the game designers, although they tried to create logical routes for the passage, but still, they focused more on the space for improvisation. And so much so that sometimes during the passage there are thoughts that you are cheating the game. For example, you can crawl where the authors, it would seem, forgot to put some kind of barrier like a fence. Thanks to this, you can get to a place that is inaccessible to enemies and thereby kill them all on the level. And although it may seem that this is a mistake of designers, but in fact all this was planned. So it’s fair enough – as you are to the game, so is it to you.

For the fullness of the perception of freedom in Seven: The Days Long Gone, it is also worth knowing that from the defeated enemies fall exactly what they are wearing and what they must have with them. For example, clothes, personal belongings. And absolutely every opponent will have this. There is no enemy from whom you cannot take off your clothes or take away a personal item. Where else could this be found?


Problems of scale


Seven: The Days Long Gone. Technical Issues

“Unfortunately, there is often banality and playfulness in the dialogues.”

Surely you already have an unquenchable desire to quickly buy Seven: The Days Long Gone. And I think that the game is definitely worth trying to play, but only after you know about all its disadvantages and mistakes.

The first key mistake lies precisely in the degree of freedom and openness of the game, which the developers kindly present to their player. This small team of developers simply did not have enough strength to carefully consider all the available outcomes of certain actions. The authors simply could not protect themselves from the unpredictability of the average player. For example, in my playthrough, a ridiculous situation arose: after two hours of play, I came across an unknown tough officer, killing whom I removed the armor and became almost invulnerable to all enemies in the initial zones. That is, at the very beginning of the passage, interest in the game to some extent disappears.

The second key mistake is that Seven: The Days Long Gone lacks a sound economy. It just flies away into oblivion, because the game is simply stuffed to the limit with a variety of items that can be sold from merchants at a decent price. You can sell items until the merchants simply run out of money to buy up all this rubbish, but it’s just a matter of time, because after a certain amount of time, the merchants have money again.

“During the passage, you will often have to hack all sorts of electronic systems and mechanical locks. The two hacking processes are simple mini-games that don’t cause any difficulties.”

The third key mistake is in the combat system, which later reveals its true “face”. It turns out that, as a rule, it is easier to “spam” the enemy with the same blows and lunges than to invent some tactics and use evasions. In addition, artificial intelligence is incredibly stupid: enemies can instantly lose the hero from sight, who is hiding on the roof of some barn before their eyes. After that, they do not try to sound the alarm or actively look for a thief, they just continue to do their usual business. In the end, in some small room you can arrange a bloodbath with explosions and screams of killed enemies, but behind the wall other NPCs will at the same time just sleep peacefully.

And not without huge problems in technical terms. The game is full of bugs and brakes. But if you can close your eyes to it, then you can’t turn a blind eye to the camera. Due to the fact that the camera in the game is free, the terrain is multi-level, and the view is isometric, different objects and, for example, the frames of buildings constantly disappear somewhere, then from somewhere they appear. It is clear that the goal to make the camera so good, but because of the places, with too dense buildings, the picture on the screen constantly either flickers or jumps and this is very stressful.

The first thing that comes to mind after what I see is really hurtful. It’s a shame that the Poles presented interesting and ambitious mechanics, but in the end they just screwed up a lot. Because it was just not enough to screw the game a few “bolts” so that all the elements of the gameplay and controls worked as they should. In addition, technical problems that cause the lion’s share of players to experience huge physical problems. For example, at the end of the Passage of the Prologue, my game brazenly crashed. Because of this, there was no way to go further. I had to wait a long time for a patch from the developers to continue the passage.


The Bottom Line


It is clear that the development team of Seven: The Days Long Gone is small and there would be more hands, the game would be completely modified, but you could put the game in early access. The author should have used the help of testers to collect feedback. Understand how players use the issued set of tools. Understand how things work in practice. Draw conclusions and make adjustments, eventually. And after all, the most important thing is that the situation with the game is not so deplorable: with the help of patches, it would be possible to fix all the bugs and brakes, fix the crashes. And then maybe aim for some sequel.

However, the great concept (which mixes together stealth, parkour, and action +RPG elements), the vastness of freedom, and the openness of the world are literally being crushed by either the mechanics that don’t work properly or don’t work at all. The stupidest artificial intelligence presses, and technical problems finish off.


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