I have found it quite difficult to write a review for this early-access game.
Having some 200 hours beneath my belt on it, I feel that I have tested out a lot of the game.
I will start out by saying that I liked earlier iterations of the game, so this will undoubtedly colour my perception.
First off the basic.
It is a survival/horror FPS crafting game.
Still in Alpha. (Alpha 10.4 if I remember correctly at the moment of writing).
A lone survivor (in single player) or one of the few (in Multi player) living in a world infested with zombies.
The task of the player is to survive.
This is achieved by collecting resources, killing zombies and crafting places to stay safe.
What is this? What is that? Woah! A big world.
The game has a wonderful big world. It comes in two iterations. Navezgane, which is a pre-designed world with all biomes and cities. And then a random generated world.
In both cases the game world is a representation of an alternative earth, filled with Zombies and empty towns and cities. Ruins, ghost towns and broken cars litter the landscape.
Everything from a scrap of paper, to a gun, to glass-beakers can be found in this world. And this is important because...
Resources. Always resources.
A big part of the game is collect materials that will help the player to stay alive. And this is, in short a big task to do, though not impossible. This is very similar to Minecraft in that respect, where the player starts with hitting bushes or trees and the grass. Find a rock and the player is that much closer to make a stone axe.
But unlike Minecraft, this game happens in an Earth-like world, where houses, cars and dumping grounds can be found, with materials fitting quite nicely. Thanks to this, the game can present something quite extensive, which is...
Building my tiny house.
The biggest strength of the game is it's crafting system. Minecraft players will feel at home and be marvelled by the variety of crafting possibilities.
As stated above, the large variety of materials means that the player can craft everything from the basic stone axe, to a high powered sniper rifle along with housing ranging from dirt-huts to big iron bunkers.
One of the things that put 7dtd apart from Minecraft is its graphics. I will not dwell to much on this, but it gets the job done. Look pretty good and the latest version of the world works fairly well, with the ground being made up of diamonds, rather than squares, which gives a more organic feeling to it, compared to the blocky Minecraft. (Though, personally, I was quite fond of the square building-blocks the world was made of in earlier iterations)
However. On with also learn that this game incorporates physics, which means that the player cannot just build a platform in the air, without some form of support. Personally I have tried to carve out a huge cave under a lake, only to have the cave collapse on me because the roof could no longer support it self. Wood, stone and metal have different values in hit-points, weight and carrying capability. On will enjoy trying to build a large bridge or fortress, making sure that it is sound in structure...
However... from a technical standpoint, the engine and render that the game runs on is somewhat poorly optimised. This became very appearant with one of the later updates, where the game suddenly starts to lag or gets low fps, which is quite annoying. I am sure that the developers are working on this and it will be fixed in later updates, since this was not a problem before.
Killing and slaughter
Another part of the game lies in killing zombies of different types. This is either done by melee or ranged. And range is done by the use of firearms. It is done quite well, even at this fairly early stage and the developers are working on improving it in later versions.
Would I recommend this game?
I will have to say yes.
I did have a lot of issues with the game after an update, which limited the players ability to craft certain things until a book was read giving a specific recipe. (This is the forge-recipe we are talking about). Coupled with the unoptimised engine, I felt that the game had been broken, both technically and game-play wise.
However. I decided to play again, lowered the graphics a bit, started a random generated world to see whether or not it was impossible to actually achieve what I wanted.
With this, the game gave me a pleasant surprise and I am back in it again.
So... for those of you, who wants a time-sink, while building a castle, surviving, hunting or even trapping zombies this is a game for you.
For those unsure at this point, wait for a while until Beta arrives. The developers update often and the game is showing good progress and potential.
This was my two cents and as a last remark, I would mention that I really enjoy this game myself.