I love games of all types – racing games, Lego games, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, and RPGs of all types – but the type I have a true weakness for is isometric RPGs. If they are done right I lose myself in those games; I just enjoy the perspective of seeing the world and controlling my character as he/she interacts with everything.
At PAX East I was able to check out a game called Seven – The Days Long Gone, an isometric RPG set far after the Apocalypse, where technology and fantasy meet. The game certainly has its rough edges but there is plenty to like, and there are some ideas I have not seen before in a game like this.
Not much is revealed yet about the lore of Seven, but I do know that the entire game world is a prison complex that you need to navigate. Your character starts as a new prisoner and you need to hit the ground running and figure out whom you can trust and what you need to do to survive and move deeper into the prison world. The game has a striking visual look and feel, the characters are slightly cel-shaded, and the world is a mix of vibrant sci-fi motifs and dilapidated slums and warrens.
In the demo I tried, the game started off quickly with my character encountering a prisoner being beaten. At this point you have a few choices: stand by and do nothing, defend the prisoner, or help the attacker finish the job. Your choice, the developer told me, dictates whom you interact with later in the game and how you are received. I was told as well that anyone can be attacked and killed, with some story paths closed if you go on a killing rampage, which will add a lot of depth and varied experiences.
Navigation seems typical at first with a standard run-around-and-examine-everything vibe, but I realized quickly that I could climb every surface (provided it is not too high). The developer will be adding a parkour-style traversal system (think Assassin’s Creed) that will let you tackle obstacles smoothly.
There is also a focus system activated by pressing the left stick, which slows down time and highlights nearby enemies and key points of interest. One neat aspect of the focus vision is its ability to help solve puzzles. I had to sneak into a guard building to collect a key and there were cameras everywhere. Using the focus ability let me see where the cameras connected so I could turn them off. It was a neat touch that I could see adding a lot of depth to quests and puzzles.
Besides the viewing angle, there were a lot of elements comparable to the tone and feel of The Witcher series, with branching quests, moral dilemmas and various NPCs that can be eliminated if you choose. Since this game is from some of the folks who worked on The Witcher 3 it is no wonder that it has a similar mature and dark vibe, nor that it got its hooks into me very quickly.
Seven was not perfect when I played it. The traversal system needs to be streamlined, the hit detection was off, and the animations felt a little sluggish. I was impressed all the same. From the taste I got I could see the game was going to be a deep and complex experience with tons of items, armor, and customization for your character as well as a promised sprawling storyline. The tone and story of Seven suggested The Chronicles of Riddick meets The Witcher, and to me that is a great combination. I am looking forward to seeing more of this game as development rolls on. The team behind it (IMGN.PRO/Fool’s Theory) is hoping to release it in the next year.