The Fifth Day – Preview (PC)

Day Z with robots instead of zombies. It’s as shit as it sounds – The Fifth Day

There are several stages during game development ranging from pre-concept to post-release but we as the public tend to focus on three; Alpha, beta and the final product. It used to be that only a certain few people would get to see a game in alpha or beta, but recently developers have opened this up to more and more people. In theory, it’s a good thing, much like Communism. In reality it often leads to a crappy experience for everyone involved, much like Communism. Today we’re previewing The Fifth Day, a game that is releasing an alpha to generate an audience and get feedback. Here’s why that’s not always a good thing.

A game in its alpha state is still liable to change drastically; Team Fortress 2 changed aesthetic drastically from realistic to what we know now and Bioshock’s little sisters were originally rodents. By releasing a game to the public in such an early stage, you restrict your options and removing features can be met with serious disdain from your audience. Imagine painting a picture with a few dozen people standing round the canvas simultaneously nodding and shaking their heads at every brush stroke? Sure, some people might be able to push through with their creative vision but they are in the minority.

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We’ve harped on about early access before and these intro paragraphs are getting harder to write, so let’s just get on with the preview.

The Fifth Day is Dayz but with robots! Instead of baked beans, we have power cells. The core concept is that you are a robot trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world by killing, hacking and crafting. Oh god, if that word isn’t overused. Ever since the success of Minecraft everyone seems to need a crafting system no matter how gimmicky. In The Fifth Day crafting is the ultimate goal that everything seems to serve. To craft shelters you must hack a harvester, to hack a harvester you must find a hacking tool, to find a hacking tool you must go to the centre of the map and kill robots, to kill robots you need a weapon, to get a weapon you must wander around.

We all know what an open world survival game looks like by now, we’ve seen Dayz, The War Z and State of Decay and all The Fifth Day can claim is that it has robots instead of zombies. Aesthetically, there’s no real difference though. You still trudge through brown forests, brown cities and brown power plants in a very boring world.

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To keep a sense of realism (or because it’s still early alpha) there is no music; Just the gentle sound of your footcups rustling the dead grass to be interrupted by ear splittingly loud gunshots. The volume levels are terrible, meaning every encounter resulted in a frantic removal of our headphones whilst also trying to run away.

The biggest problem with The Fifth Day is the energy system. As a robot you need energy to move but energy runs out fast, meaning you are reduced to a snail’s pace until you stop and recharge. To fix this you have to put points into the locomotion skill through the main menu. If you buy this game, make sure to do this or you will be a literal sitting duck.

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The hacking system is the most interesting part of The Fifth Day because it uses windows command prompt which captures the difficulty of hacking a guard robot quite effectively. We’re not 100% sure how accurate it is but it does feel genuinely difficult.

The Fifth Day is like Dayz but with robots. If you’re looking for an open world survival game with robots we’d recommend something more unique like Sir, You’re Being Hunted! A similar presence with an aesthetic and setting that’s much more interesting.