Zombie survival “MMO” The Day Before has brought us one of the weirdest game development sagas of 2023. Developed by Fntastic, the game has been delayed numerous times, briefly disappeared from Steam after a trademark dispute, and was repeatedly accused of being a vapourware scam, accusations Fntastic attempted to rebuff with a gameplay reveal back in February.
The good news is, The Day Before is not vapourware, demonstrated by the fact that it launched on Steam last night and is available to purchase and play. The bad news, at least going by the game’s Steam reviews, is that it is utterly, categorically terrible.
At the time of writing, The Day Before had just under 11,000 user reviews on Steam, which, wow, a lot of people are gagging to play a game that reeks like a zombie’s boxer shorts, huh? And we are talking dreadful here. Of the reviews, just 15% are positive, giving the Day Before an overall rating of “overwhelmingly negative”. The situation is succinctly described by reviewer Dr.Compton. “Turns out it is a real game. Kind of wish it wasn’t.”
As for what exactly the problems are, well the main issue, quelle surprise, is that the game is not what it was originally marketed as, namely an open world survival MMO. “The game isn’t what was promised,” writes Steam user EaZee. “This is basically a Tom Clancy’s The Division rip off. You leave the city to loot, you come back and [p]ut furniture in your tent.” Another reviewer, Biffa, echoes this sentiment. “No open-world survival elements, it’s just an extraction shooter, and a bad one at that.”
It might be difficult to understand why so many people were excited about The Day Before. Zombie survival experiences aren’t exactly thin on the ground in video game land. But Steam reviewer Kai Eagle gives a more detailed breakdown of the gap between pitch and delivery. “The trailers painted a vivid picture of a post-apocalyptic world teeming with dynamic encounters, intense survival scenarios, and engaging combat,” they write. “But The Day Before misses the mark entirely. The supposedly expansive and dynamic world feels empty, lifeless, and riddled with uninspired design. The gameplay lacks the depth and complexity suggested by the trailers, leaving players with a shallow and repetitive experience.”
Beneath this headline failure to deliver on the overall premise, the reviews cite countless more specific problems. User Joux lists a ton of missing features like “no vaulting”, “no directional audio” and “no melee”. WeZon, meanwhile, says “This game does not even have functioning settings, try changing resolution, I dare you.” Other issues include that the loot is apparently poor for a looter-shooter (which just to remind you, isn’t what this game was supposed to be anyway) and that’s assuming you can grab any goodies in the first place. “Killed like ~10 people 9 of them disappeared in 10 seconds, couldn’t even loot them”, writes céé.
In short, near everyone who has reviewed The Day Before hates it. As for what Fntastic has to say about the state of the game, so far, their only statement since launch is a post on X about an overload on the North American servers. “The servers are working. Fills up too quickly” it reads. The developers have apparently responded to the launch in a different way, however. Second Wind’s editor Nick Calandra observed that Fntastic has been quietly removing pre-release marketing content from its YouTube channel. “Have zero problem describing this as a full-blown scam now,” Calandra says.
If you were thinking about playing The Day Before, why not check out RPS’ advent calendar, where we’re currently running down the best games released this year. Surely, surely there’s something behind those doors that’s more worthy of your time. Alternatively, just listen to the hum of your fridge for a few hours. By all accounts, it’ll be a more entertaining experience.
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