Santa Clara Games / Badland Games (studio)
06 February 2017 (released)
17 February 2017
8Days will take players into the lives of two hardened mercenaries, Mike “Ghost” or Lola “Wasp” as they tackle several devastating situations around the Globe. Under the guidance of a shadowy organisation known as G.O.D who break up civil conflicts, terrorist threats and hostage situations with plenty of bullets and spilled blood. These situations range from guerrilla warfare effecting the rice trade, Eco extremists taking over a power plant and fighting merciless terrorists in the dessert.
What 8Days does best is to engage players into a relentless and brutal action experience that requires brain, brawn and tactical patience to succeed. The execution is kept simple with mechanics that are easy to learn but players are encouraged to develop tactics and carry out a trial and error format of play. 8Days proves to be a simple yet highly challenging game that makes players work for their reward.
I do mean it; this game is freaking tough and if you go without a plan then prepare to die a lot. You’ll die a lot anyway but believe me there’s something rather calculating and intelligent to 8Days that makes it very enthralling. It’s up to players to pace their movement carefully, learn the level’s layout, enemy placements and item locations. You can even venture out on different paths to secret locations where you can obtain great rewards with high risks.
Otherwise you can just make a dash to the end of the area and avoid all contact for dear life. This usually ends in death.
8Days can present an enjoyable and meaningful challenge but is let down by some unimaginative restrictions. The main reason why any player will die so much is due to the low hit count of the PC as taking more than three hits means you’re a goner. In some way, this creates an antagonising sense of dread that pushes tactics and careful planning over just rushing in. But also becomes a complete annoyance in later levels when everyone just relentlessly rushes you with full deadly force. Even to pop out from off screen and land the irritating final blow. Health pickups are very scarce as well and when you do come across some, it’s usually in abundance, during a segment that’s quiet. You’re never allowed to carry a spare one for down the road and again this just feels like a poor gameplay choice. There’s no fair reason to place a restriction and just seems like a cheap way to keep you playing longer. Even allowing just one health pick up to be carried wouldn’t ruin the experience or cripple the challenge.
Again, early stages aren’t so much a problem, but the game can be gruelling later. I would’ve appreciated the sense of challenge a little more if it weren’t for the rather lacklustre and unimaginative level design you come across. Certain levels are just painful to die repeatedly and all the while you can’t back track to find vital loot and resources you might of missed.
Pacing either amounts to great tension, great pay off and action or falls to a dull, overly long and tedious segment. It’s a mixed bag as you can have fun fighting an army of SWAT team guys in a city street, or you could be aimless and endlessly fighting the same four enemies throughout dull and uninteresting jungle levels.
However, the sound track and colourful visuals do inspire you to go forth and explore and enjoy the game more so. The soundtrack was neat and the visuals really did capture this odd sense of horrifying war themes mixed with overly flamboyant satire. 8Days does indeed paint a horrific picture of war with POW camps harbouring poor, deranged souls, protesters making a stand before being brutally massacred and urban warfare in the streets leaving innocents dead. It’s over the top at times and towards the end, the game does mental on the violence. But with purpose, reminding me much of Hotline Miami and Spec Ops: The Lines. Even though the narrative itself follows a generic path we've seen many times before. Highly predictable in many respects with a twist that you can see coming a mile away. Yet not awful by no means and overall the themes and dark satire elements do fair much better.
I did find however one annoying aspect with the visuals and that’s the difficult visual difference between floors and dead inducing drops.
Overall 8Days is a good game but can be relentlessly unfair at the worst of times. But this is great for co-op play (recommended) or for those looking for a decent challenge in a retro inspired action shooter.
++ Intense and engaging combat
++ Good co-op play
++ Neat sound track and visuals
-- Restrictive elements feel more cheap than a health challenge
- Some tedious level designs
- Average plot
A PS4 Review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review