If someone were to ask me how I would describe Seven: The Days Long Gone, the first project from indie developers IMGN.PRO and Fool’s Theory, I would be hard pressed to give you a concise, clean cut answer. On its surface , Seven is an isometric ARPG, with some great progression and and leveling mechanics. As you dive deeper into the game you discover quickly that it also implements some pretty interesting stealth and tactical combat options. Finally after getting into the game proper you are introduced to a vast and well developed open world with immersive, mysterious story.
After spending a little over a week with the title the best way to summarize this Interesting hybrid title would be to say that it's one part Victor Vran, one part Grim Dawn, one part Assassin's Creed, and one part Thief all wrapped up in a Borderlands inspired art style. The real question that arises in my mind is whether or not all of these features can play nice under one title? Grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of Seven: The Days Long Gone to find out just how well all of these unique ideas come together.
Set in a post- post apocalyptic world where humanity managed to survive the culling of the demon hordes and reestablish itself as the mighty Vetrall Empire, you play the game's protagonist teriel, a master thief, that quickly finds himself on the wrong side of both the law and a deamon partnership. Tasked with fulfilling a mission of great importance for the Empire within the confines of Peh, an island prison, Teriel must use brains, brawn and brass to traverse, steal and explore the vast open world before him. The setting and backstory for this interesting take on the post- post apocalypse reminded me a lot of The Shannara series by Terry Brooks which introduced a world that takes place in the future but in many ways mixes the old and new to create a unique and intriguing world world exploring.
The open world nature of this iso-rpg opens up a very unique approach to a genre that is typically known more for its hack/slash/loot than its vast, creative world design. Yet Seven goes out of its way to make a name for itself by creating a world that has more in common with the open world feel of the Witcher Series than the more dungeon heavy ARPGS like Diablo 3. Its impressive to see the detail and time that has gone into the world development and its goes a long way in creating an immersive setting for the story to be told. At the same time traversing the world of Seven is always a satisfying experience as jump, roll and vault mechanics are at your disposal making moving around the world both interesting and rewarding for those that like to explore.
In regards to story both in content and delivery, The Days Long Gone once again delivers. The story offers some great intrigue, introduces a wide range of characters with their own motives, stories and objectives and presents a world that feels alive. Open world games always have to walk a tension line of creating enough content to make the world feel alive without overwhelming the player with said content to the point that they lose focus. Seven seems to walk that line with ease. Many of the side quests I took on during my play time helped flesh out the world without leaving me with a long list of to-do items. All of content was delivered via voice acting dialog with the protagonist himself full of life and personality. Over all story and delivery are handled exceptionally well.
Combat and stealth are interesting items in Seven with combat feeling heavily influenced by Assassins Creed and Thief. When engaging with one or two opponents the game shines with great close corridors combat mechanics. With target lock engaged, fighting becomes a fluid dance of attacks, dodge and counters. However when the numbers start to favor the enemy combat becomes more utterly useless forcing you to run and attempt to hide from enemies. This is implemented with varying degrees of success. Sometimes the run and hide mechanics seems to work as expected; a quick hop over a ledge, a simple LOS behind a bush or dumpster and you quickly disengage from combat. However almost as frequently I found that no matter how well I ran, hopped, dodged or LOS’d (totally a word!) the enemy they would magically find me and proceed to mercilessly beat me to the point of death.
My experience with the stealth mechanics were similar. Sometimes crouching and taking my time to learn guard movement, camera locations and building layout rewarded me with great stealth kills, satisfying moments of moving undetected and sweet loot. Other times despite using the exact same movements and tactics I found myself face to face with a suddenly alerted guard or worse a failed stealth kill which more times than not lead to my untimely demise as the failed attempt would seemingly alert everyone on the Island. I will take some of the blame and say that stealth specifically isn’t my strong suit but at the same time combat and stealth feel inconsistent sometimes feeling rewarding and impactful and other times feeling clunky and frustrating.
The inventory and upgrade systems in Seven are both pretty standard and add a nice progression touch to this game of many genres. The inventory system uses an encumbered mechanic which means inventory management is mandatory as having light feet is one of your greatest strengths. With vendors all over Peh, I found myself spending a lot of time brushing up on my thievery skills. This brings me to the progression system in The Days Long Gone. It's a pretty straight forward system that focuses on both active and passive skills. Investing in the various skills available really helps to cater the gameplay experience to the player’s personal preference.
Aside from the hit/miss issues with combat and stealth (see what I did there) the only other issue I really ran into with Seven was performance related. The game tries very hard to adapt the environment to your position in it. With the ability to jump and climb this does create a need for walls, floors and roofs to constantly become invisible based on your point of view. With the free form camera movement this all has to happen quickly. Ideally this should happen seamlessly so as not to break immersion and take away from the overall experience.
However quite frequently I found that while playing the game would experience frame drops when I was running around, especially in densely populated areas or when traversing multiple levels quickly. My system is no slouch when it comes to running games and even when adjusting the video settings down I still noticed this frame issue. It didn’t make the game unplayable by any stretch but it was definitely noticeable and felt like the game was still in need of some optimization. Hopefully once the game goes live we will see a patch to address this issue.
Seven: The Days Long Gone is a game that tries to fit a lot of ideas into it. For a first time indie studio It feels like a lot of these ideas have been developed well. However with some clunky combat and stealth mechanics as well as the frame drop issue Seven would benefit from some more time in testing. This being said it is shaping up to be an incredibly immersive iso-RPG that offers some unique approaches to handling the genre. Seven releases on Steam Dec.1.
SCORE: 7.8 / 10
- Great world building
- Excellent story telling
- Traversing the world is both fun and rewarding
- Combat and stealth need some polish
- Frame drops can be a bit annoying