Zombie MMO The Day Before is now out in early access, but is receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews on Steam.
It’s been a rocky road for the game, with accusations the game was a scam, copying the work of other developers, criticism against the use of unpaid volunteers, and a trademark dispute with a Korean calendar app.
Just days ago developer Fntastic released a statement apologising for the game’s marketing and requesting “please don’t accuse us of scamming”.
Now that it’s out, however, players are extremely disappointed with the product.
While it must be noted the game is in early access still, many Steam reviews note how it does not include the open world MMO elements promised by Fntastic and does not live up to the developer’s lofty goals.
Combat is basic, enemy AI is too simple, the world is empty, and it’s full of bugs, are just a handful of key criticisms against the game.
“Turns out it is a real game,” reads one review. “Kind of wish it wasn’t.”
“The Day Before Refund,” quips another.
Fntastic posted on the game page: “After five years of blood, sweat, and tears, we can finally say these words: The Day Before is out now”. This reads unintentionally ironic next to the awful reviews.
Over on X, formerly Twitter, journalist Nick Calandra described The Day Before as “nothing but a cash grab” in a long thread, while also noting that Fntastic has scrubbed its YouTube page to remove previous teaser videos of gameplay it was aiming for.
Yea, do NOT buy The Day Before.
I’m usually pretty lenient, but that is nothing but a cash grab. There’s no gameplay loop, clear AI generated art around the city to fill billboards, no animations to speak of for the zombies, absolutely no mission design to speak of.
— Nick Calandra (@nickjcal) December 7, 2023
Not FNTASTIC completely scrubbing their channel to hide any evidence of the fake ‘The Day Before’ game they marketed.
Left is today.
Right is from earlier this year.
Have zero problem describing this as a full-blown scam now. pic.twitter.com/kdX6tyBxQU
— Nick Calandra (@nickjcal) December 7, 2023
I decided to jump into the game myself to get a look at it first hand. It was not good.
It begins with a very limited character creator with few options, especially for face shape and skin tones. Then you choose one of three classes – Roamer, Pathfinder and Ghost – that have little difference between them beyond slightly higher skills in certain areas like weight capacity or trading skills.
I then needed to choose a server, with every option listed as being at high capacity. That’s odd considering the world feels empty and lifeless once you fully arrive.
Before that you need to explore the central base where you meet a handful of key characters who sell weapons, look after items, and heal you. Weapons can be modded at a work bench. It all feels quite The Last of Us – there’s even a character called Abby.
After a few intros and a bit of base building – I literally just placed a tent on the ground – you get a journal with which to take on quests for money. However, you can only accept one at a time, so expect a lot of back and forth between the home base and the zombie-infested city.
Once outside, the already bad performance took a nose dive to practically unplayable. The frame rate is appalling and pop-in is extensive, even with the city feeling soulless. I eventually met my first zombie who shuffled towards me and flinched from each of my shots seconds after impact. Standing atop a car I was literally invincible, the zombie just looking up at me from down below. Later I met an actual human I somehow managed to defeat, despite the frame rate making aiming far more trying than it should have been, but soon died myself from bleeding.
After that? I quickly switched it off. It’s clear this is an incredibly basic game with little to it and, as the Steam reviews suggest, does not live up to the expectations set by Fntastic.
Perhaps the game’s release on the same day as The Game Awards was intentional in the hope it would be buried among news. Yet it’s currently at number three in the Steam Top Sellers chart and is one of the top trending games on SteamDB where its all-time peak was 38,104 players.
Those players may, like me, be morbidly curious, but I suspect the refund rate will be high on this one.
Eurogamer has contacted Fntastic for comment on reaction to the game so far.
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