Seven: Days Long Gone Review (PC): An exciting cyberpunk fantasy

Seven: Days Long Gone is one of the most ambitious role playing games of 2017. The title blends Assassin’s Creed with the isometric style of Diablo, crafting it’s own unique look and style of gameplay. The premise is intriguing, set in a futuristic cyberpunk world.  Stylistically it reminded me of the Shadowrun games (both the 16 bit and the modern interpretations by Catalyst Game Labs).  

seven days long gone review - this is you

The initial narrative is told expertly enough to draw players into the gameplay and struggle through it’s steep difficulty curve. It has buggy AI and at times, admittedly can be frustrating, but with perseverance Seven: Days Long Gone reveals itself to be a solid title.

Story

As mentioned, instead of a traditional fantasy setting Seven crafts a dark, moody, dystopian world in which humanity is splintering and civilisation is rotting and falling apart.

After a global war, the casualties too innumerable to count, civilisation became united by a powerful, messianic leader whose teachings brought peace and prosperity to mankind.  Years after his death, his legacy long forgotten, poverty and greed have returned with a vengeance.  There are those who raid sites of great power, stealing long forgotten technologies and hoarding those vestiges of power for themselves.

seven days long gone review - cyborg being robbed of a glowing red eye

You play as Teriel, a master assassin and thief who is travelling to the prison island of Peh.  The island is controlled by the powerful, totalitarian Vetrall Empire.  As you play through the game you uncover various conspiracies and secrets. Each one brings you closer to the truth about the nature of the world and the elements of the past which have shaped it.

The story is both satisfying and intriguing and  never overly complicated. Your character and actions are centrally important to the world and narrative.  Exploring uncovers articles of lore yielding  even more information about the game environment.  The protagonist is likable and dynamic – his dialogue and motivations land him squarely on the grey side of the moral spectrum. I enjoyed his witticisms and retorts, full of bravado when facing oncoming enemies. Teriel remains enjoyable to embody throughout the game’s 10-hour campaign. That’s true of the entire narrative and how it’s presented, it’s extremely compelling and pleasurable to watch unfold.

Gameplay

seven days long gone review - main character leaping into battle

Seven: Days Long Gone matches its unconventional narrative style with its gameplay and mechanics. The story is mostly told through text based narrative. During your encounters with various NPCs your choice of replies affect the outcome of the conversation.  As the game progresses you experience surprising changes and uncover more regarding the nature of your personal past.

I compared this to Diablo in it’s isometric perspective, but this is not a Diablo-clone or even anything akin to a traditional RPG game such as Baldur’s Gate.  Most other RPG’s give the player a choice of character class that specialise in specific skills.  Seven gives you every single ability available to Teriel from the first scene.

Even with this being the case there is a sense of progression throughout the game. As you begin to master the essential skills of using stealth to strategically murder your enemies or attack them head on in a brutal melee assault you obtain perks which further augment your abilities and open up new movement and combat options.seven days long gone - gameplay

Most games which describe themselves as stealth are fairly forgiving in allowing players to slip up and instead rely on brute force.  Seven will punish you severely if you don’t adopt the best possible tactic while dealing with your enemies.  Enemy AI is intelligent and each enemy class presents a difficult encounter if assaulted directly. Strategically considering how to best confront and eliminate them is challenging and exciting when you realise that every misstep you make could end the game prematurely. This is not a game where you will succeed by hitting your mouse button continuously. You’ll only emerge from each confrontation by thoughtfully examining your environment and considering the best action to take from what you have observed.

There’s also an opportunity to fully explore the environment around you; an open-ended freedom to find better opportunities to achieve your objective and to obtain objects of lore to explore the in-game story to its fullest.  There are various zones which dictate the style of gameplay. In the public areas, your character can move freely and interact with the NPCs, get a sense of the environment and how to proceed.  Private areas are guarded and forbidden to the public and must be crossed using your infiltration skills and stealth.

seven days long gone - gameplay2

Things to improve

This game can be particularly punishing. You need to traverse the sections which contain multiple enemies with stealth or you will die – continuously.  The auto-save system can be fairly quirky in this regards with the game saving just as you have tripped an alarm, causing a horde of enemies to run towards you – so as you respawn you encounter that almost impossible challenge again.  The autosave mechanic should place the player back a few seconds so that they can correct their previous mistake and progress further.

seven days long gone - gameplay

The Score – 75

This is an interesting title, with its unconventional setting and mixture of combat, stealth and open ended exploration.  It’s ambitious and worth trying out.  The story allows you to connect with the protagonist and portrays the dystopian feeling of a humanity rising from the ashes of conflict, only to collapse again into greed and poverty extremely well.  This is not Diablo, but rather something new, thoughtful and challenging.  Its a linear game with no branching storylines or overarching decisions.  I still found myself engaging with the story and environment, wanting to finish it to experience the overall narrative. 

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Chris McAuley Author
Chris McAuley began his writing career reviewing old copies of 2000AD, he quickly progressed to interviewing major alumni of the comic book industry including Pat Mills, Grant Morrison, Glenn Fabry. Writing acclaimed reviews and features on Comic books and videogames, he is also a Test Reader for Millsverse. His background is in theology and it is in this arena which he gained his PHD, believing that story is crucial to human beings and that most modern cultural narrative experiences are driven from the ancient and the mythological. These are the aspects of gaming which Chris gravitates towards – narrative and immersive experience. He is dedicated to exploring and explaining the important aspects of the gameplay experience of the titles he reviews and informing the reader so that they can make the best decision regarding their purchases.
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Chris McAuley Author
Chris McAuley began his writing career reviewing old copies of 2000AD, he quickly progressed to interviewing major alumni of the comic book industry including Pat Mills, Grant Morrison, Glenn Fabry. Writing acclaimed reviews and features on Comic books and videogames, he is also a Test Reader for Millsverse. His background is in theology and it is in this arena which he gained his PHD, believing that story is crucial to human beings and that most modern cultural narrative experiences are driven from the ancient and the mythological. These are the aspects of gaming which Chris gravitates towards – narrative and immersive experience. He is dedicated to exploring and explaining the important aspects of the gameplay experience of the titles he reviews and informing the reader so that they can make the best decision regarding their purchases.
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2 Comments
  1. Nemesis Caseres 9 months ago
    Reply

    I really enjoyed this game, I think it was unfairly criticised by many blogs and websites because they were expecting another Diablo. Like the banner picture , I also follow Chris on Game Tyrant – great to see him cover current stuff as well as his retro bits and pieces .

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