If there is any genre that gets my attention it is cyberpunk – a story with a futuristic industrial setting. That’s why I became interested in Seven: The Days Long Gone as it was in development.
As I started playing through the game I realized that cyberpunk only one of the genres Fool’s Theory has incorporated. The game has a cyberpunk setting, but it also has a demon bonded to the character’s soul, and it’s a sandbox open world game as well as a stealth action RPG.
Throw all this together and you have a game brimming with possibilities, but also one that stumbles somewhat in its execution and pacing.
In Seven: The Days Long Gone you play as master thief Teriel who has been manipulated into working for the Emperor to recover an ancient artifact. To make sure Teriel complies, a demon is bonded to him, which adds some powers but also gives Teriel a companion who is not entirely on his side.
The game takes place on the Prison Island of Peh where you are free to roam but blocked off from certain areas because of an access level grafted onto your DNA. The Island itself is large, varied, and chock full of enemies, traps, side missions, and characters to meet.
As I mentioned, the game is brimming with potential. The world is crowded and active with soldiers, guards, shops, merchants, and prisoners scattered everywhere. There is a fairly robust main storyline as well as countless side missions and little quests to discover. The world truly does feel alive and there are many little dialogue and quest encounters that are interesting to experience.
The game is also packed full of systems you use to progress through the adventure. There is a robust stealth system, as well as crafting, combat, and magic systems to learn and explore as you play. The problem with all of these pieces you have to play with is that none of them is done exceptionally well.
The stealth system, key to the whole gameplay experience, works rather well in theory, but the camera and viewing angles are not up to the task of supporting it. The environments are so dense and multilayered it is easy to lose track of where you are and even what vertical level you need to be on. This makes sneaking up on (or around) enemies difficult to manage in a busy environment.
This awkward viewing situation often hampers many other aspects of the game, because you need to climb around the world a lot. Often when panning the camera, parts of the world disappear, causing confusion as to where Teriel can go. This frustrating phenomenon led to many needless deaths from enemies, and even falls from ledges that seemed safe.
One of Seven’s more interesting features is your ability to choose how to approach a scenario; whether you sneak, deceive, or fight is completely open from the start. Unfortunately the abilities given, such as magic, fighting, or stealth, often are hard to pull of when needed. Combat is oddly annoying, with enemies using stun techniques that have to be countered, and most of combat revolves around boringly clicking on enemy after enemy. There are many types of weapons and often they can be picked up and used right away but none, especially guns surprisingly, feel very effective.
In isometric RPGs – heck, in any RPG – loot and equipment are extremely important. Seven handles this aspect both well and poorly all at the same time. There is a pretty cool upgrade system for gear, and a crafting station to make new items. This generally counters whatever you may find, as even starting gear can last the entire game if upgraded as you go along. The merchants also have finite money (I hate that take on “realism” in games) making selling items a chore. Instead most items are better served being broken down for parts to build or upgrade. If Diablo, Destiny, and The Division have taught us anything, it’s how satisfying it is to get great loot drops. Unfortunately Seven never got that memo.
While the systems and camera all need work and hinder the overall game, Seven has a special spark that makes it very interesting to experience. The story is engaging if a little predictable and the art style really stands out as a fresh look at a fairly overused genre. The ability to truly explore and go everywhere was also refreshing, if a little frustrating because of the camera challenges. In the end Seven: The Days Long Gone is a game I really wanted to love but struggled to enjoy, which is a true shame.