Seven: The Days Long Gone is an enthralling mishmash of genres that feel surprisingly at home together. Part isometric Assassin’s Creed, part fantasy RPG, and part techno-dystopian drama, the game plays to all the best aspects of each without feeling overstretched or fragmented.
Players will take the role of master thief Teriel who has made a living off of pilfering and looting. In the world of Seven: The Days Long Gone, however, this doesn’t seem as bad of a job as one might think. The “ancients” abandoned the earth for the stars long ago, leaving behind the dregs of humanity to make their way as best they can. After pulling off a particularly high-profile job, Teriel finds himself unwillingly recruited by the emperor and shipped off to a prison island called Peh to find and recover a lost spacecraft. Oh, and as a part of this deal you also equally unwillingly find yourself possessed by a daemon, an inter-dimensional being that will serve as Teriel’s guide and instructor at the behest of the emperor.
Teriel demonstrates his skills as a master thief from the get-go, and his catlike reflexes and dexterous parkour-like traversing allow you to tackle the surrounding world more like a jungle gym than your typical RPG. Teriel comes with a plethora of abilities that allow you to make your own way and accomplish missions through various paths. For example, do you need to sneak into a mansion to steal an artefact? Well, if marching through the front door and ripping your enemies apart with your daggers isn’t your style, then try sneaking in through a skylight, or finding a handy ventilation system to serve as a handy skywalk. You can steal a key from the guard, or break in using your handy drill. Just don’t get caught. If you do, though, try setting up a few traps and let them help you dispatch the oncoming onslaught as you watch with glee.
One of the most exciting features of the game is that you won’t need to wait until you’ve invested tens of hours into it before you can take advantage of a myriad of abilities including hacking, sneaking, looting, stealth kills, and trap building / disabling. Instead, you will spend time increasing the effectiveness of these skills, as well as adding new ones such as magic abilities. You will also be able to steal, craft or buy new gear that will help with both defense and protection.
New abilities are obtained through installing skill chips right into your brain, as one might expect in a dystopian technological future. The chips allow for certain upgrades to be slotted in, making Teriel even more of a force to be reckoned with, and don’t think you won’t need all the brawn and ability you can muster.
Seven: The Days Long Gone does a great job of letting you know the dangers of Peh are nothing to be taken lightly. Get caught pickpocketing and you’ll find yourself swarmed by angry guards faster than you can shout “help me!” If you are in a private area and look like an outsider, you better watch your back. Guards and even fellow prisoners can be hyper vigilant, and just because you think no one is watching doesn’t mean they aren’t.
Making your way around Peh is no easy task, even though the island is quite small. Gates that require a visa block numerous areas. The visas cost quite a bit, making sneaking past the gates more affordable, and also a better way to stick it to the system that left you on this island to begin with. The Visas, by the way, must be ingested and fused with your biology. If you try entering a gate without one, you will be lit up like a Christmas tree on fire. So, learning to take full advantage of your stealth abilities will be a boon.
The isometric view is perfect for stealth, making tracking guards and sneak kills simple. Teriel also has a sense ability that will highlight objects of interest, slow time, and also expands your viewpoint beyond what is immediately around you. This ability goes a great deal toward helping you plan the best routes and discover where to go when it does not seem apparent from the map, which feels far less useful than it should.
The Island of Peh is filled with a mix of oddity, beauty, and menace. Grass covered areas filled with old hovels and wooden walkways exist alongside fluorescent streetlights and flickering signs, resembling something out of Blade Runner or Final Fantasy VII.
The voice acting is good, and the myriad of strange and fantastical characters you run into help bring Peh to life. It becomes easy to see what the world has come to in this far-flung era, presented in a small microcosm of rebels and thieves, adventurers and provocateurs. The island, though small in reality, feels like a grouping of very different cultures all in one place, making discovering each new area a thrill.
Since the game’s launch, developer Fool’s Theory has done a swell job of releasing updates to fix numerous bugs that were still within the game at launch. During my time, however, I still ran into a few glitches, as well as a few minor issues with combat.
On occasion, I would move in for a sneak kill and initiating the attack would instead cause Teriel to leave the crouch position and head into a full-fledged assault, alerting any nearby guards to my presence. I dubbed another glitch the “sticky loot bug.” Seemingly at random, when I looted a crate or a deceased NPC, I would “stick” to them after completing the task, preventing me from moving away. Though, this might have been connected to using a controller rather than the keyboard and mouse. The game will naturally detect whichever you are using. At one point, the screen froze during an attempt to open a door using the controller to make the selection. I then was able to use the mouse to select the action, and the game progressed as usual. So, the “sticky loot bug” may be connected to using a controller. As of right now, the only way I was able to fix the sticky glitch was to go to a previous save and hope for the best next time. Perhaps, until it is fixed, forgoing the use of a controller would be your best bet.
The combat controls, though exhilarating and usually well-designed, can be a bit slippery. A few doomed attempts ended when I accidentally rolled off a cliff or fell off a high-rise along with one of my victims. So, though generally easy to use, the controls could still use a bit of tightening. But, overall, this didn’t majorly distract from my enjoyment of the game.
Seven: The Days Long Gone feels like an assortment of genres that should have been a standard long ago. I wondered why more RPGs didn’t entail stealth kills and the freedom to roam the rooftops like an assassin. The story is interesting, the discovery of new areas is compelling, the risk you take just trying to explore the island and accomplish your missions is rewarding, and the combat is oh, so fun.
Seven: The Days Long Gone is developed by Fool’s Theory and available on Steam.
Despite some of the more unpolished edges you might encounter as the game continues to be patched and updated, this game shines like the lights of a rooftop bar after a long day out on a mission. Or, better yet, like something quite special in a jungle of game titles which don’t risk and therefore don’t accomplish quite as much as Fool’s Theory has managed to do with this unusual title.