I don't usually buy into early access games, but this one has proven to be a lot of fun after a friend generously gifted it to me.
It features both a set map (used for an upcoming story mode) and randomly generated worlds. There are a plethora of options available to customize the gameplay to your liking. Some examples include frequency of loot, aggressiveness of zombies, number of zombies, and length of day.
The game also has a physics system which will affect the way in which you build structures. Unlike in Minecraft, your houses need to have structural support or they'll quickly fall apart. This causes you to think carefully about how to best identify and protect the weak points in your structures. Zombies can and will claw their way through anything
, so you need to get creative on how you're going to protect your base. Will you fortify it with numerous traps, or will you find the highest point you can so they can't find you in the first place?
The game is functional both as a singleplayer and multiplayer game - but as with any other game of this nature, playing with people you know is the best route to take. Playing with randoms can be sketchy.
I personally find the sounds to be fairly decent and realistic, although there are some loudness and sound source issues. For example, using a chainsaw on a tree you are very close to will produce a very jarring sound. Zombies can also be difficult to locate using sound, and they often sound much closer than they actually are. The devs have addressed this issue however, and are planning to rework the sound system. Barring the proximity issue, zombie sounds are spot-on. They really add to the experience when you're cowering in a makeshift shack, praying for the sun to come up before you get torn to shreds.
The game does have its bugs and some people might find it slightly devoid of content (there isn't much to do after you build a defensable base or find a good place to fortify), but the game is
in Alpha as of writing, so I suspect that more content will be added as time goes on. For some people the PvP aspect might be enough to keep enjoying the game. I'm more of a co-op and PvE person.
7 Days to Die is also a fairly unoptimized game. There are FPS drops in certain situations, especially when the game spawns too many zombies at once. I often experience temporary FPS fluctuations ranging from 20 to 70 with a mid-high range computer. Mid-range computers should have no problem holding 30 FPS most of the time with the right video settings.
That being said, the game is perfectly playable as it is and is tons of fun if you enjoy crafting, sneaking, exploring, looting, and fighting.