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The Day Before

The Day Before

Fntastic's highly anticipated online role-playing game would, according to early trailers, combine The Last of Us with The Division. Petter has found the truth...

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Where is the line between inflated PR clichés as part of effective marketing and outright lies, which should ultimately be categorised under "false marketing" and thus be directly criminal? This question has come up repeatedly over the last ten years in our wonderful gaming industry and there are of course several parameters to consider when explaining where you stand on the issue. I remember of course when the former Sony boss boasted that the PS2 was like plugging your brain into The Matrix or that the PS3 could easily render games at 120 FPS. I remember when the team behind Fable promoted the game as being infinitely larger and more dynamic than any other role-playing game of all time, and when Guerrilla Games showed off Killzone 2 using a pre-rendered film clip that was initially claimed to be "real-time rendered" but then turned out to be a hoax.

The Day BeforeThe Day Before

In recent years, it hasn't got much better. We all remember how incredibly promising Sega's hyper-ambitious Aliens: Colonial Marines looked in advance and how excited we were for its release. The finished product contained barely a tiny percentage of what had been promised and Sega was sued and forced to pay hefty fines to those who bought their game on false premises, or outright lies. The same, of course, was true for the Polish Witcher house CD Projekt's much-hyped action role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077, which contained about 40% of all the features and systems that had been promised in advance, just as Microsoft marketed Forza Motorsport (2023) as "100% built from scratch" when it was really just a polished Forza Motorsport 7 with many polygon models (the cars) taken from the 15-year-old Forza 3 (and Forza 4).

Where does the line between cleverly effective marketing and outright lying exist? Russian indie studio Fntastic surely asked themselves this question during the development of the newly released The Day Before but decided somewhere along the way that anything goes. All means. All methods. All manners. And that's where they went from there. For the past two years, we gamers have been fed small, delicious tastes of what was basically marketed as a The Last of Us-scented online role-playing game. A gigantic, completely open online world drenched in intricate and deep role-playing systems where your and your friends' task would be to try to survive a zombie-infested post-apocalypse by any means possible. During the last six months, there has been quite a storm around this project as it was accused of being a pure scam, a downright The Last of Us plagiarism and at one point it was completely removed from Steam, which the developers then blamed on name issues and copyright concerns.

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The Day BeforeThe Day Before

The Day Before is now released via "early access", it costs £40 via Steam and has been the focus of almost every streamer over the weekend as the marketing of the game itself has been highly effective and in many ways cleverly designed. I have spent two days with Fntastic's ambitious MMO and have come to an important and definitive conclusion: The game was and remains an outright scam. A clever but now transparent way for a group of limited game developers to rake in maximum investment from various stakeholders (and gamers) via misrepresented fake trailers and staged bullshit and then just blame it on time pressure or tough competition.

The Day Before

The Day Before is not an online role-playing game. Not even close. There are elements of a role-playing system embedded here, most likely done solely to show off cunningly selected images for the release, but those elements are not utilised and are poorly anchored in the rest of the content, which on the whole feels AI-created and like a really bad joke. You play a nameless survivor who, in a devastated USA weeks after the collapse, must try to survive the zombies roaming the streets. The setup is almost identical to Extraction games like Escape From Tarkow or Crytek's Hunt: Showdown. There is no online role-playing component here, no systems for building guilds and groups, and the game world is not open or large. It's limitedly cramped, small and hopelessly empty. At times it feels almost parodic considering how all the trailers for this have looked. The Day Before in trailer form has looked like the perfect, gorgeous mix of The Last of Us and The Division, while the game I spent a really sad weekend in hell with looks more like some kind of home-made mini-mod of State of Decay.

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The Day BeforeThe Day Before

Early access, as we all know (and understand), means early access to a game that is not yet complete, but considering that developers such as Russian Fntastic charge £40 for their product, I always feel that it is more than legitimate to give a rating to such a product, even though there are usually some minor technical issues with the titles released in this format. However, The Day Before is not "a bit buggy" and does not contain just "a few bugs", but is one big giant bug. The Day Before does not work like a game. It freezes and crashes, throws away save files, forces me as a player to start over again and again, makes me suddenly become two stories tall and all bloated, makes me get stuck in the ground and slide around like a normal old farmer's rug, and everything in between. This is not a beta version of an upcoming game, this is a hastily concocted scam project where the developers have lied, cheated and swindled players and investors out of money and given that the "finished" product does not fulfil a single promise, it is easy for me to dismiss it in its entirety. This was not a game in the first place. It was a scam, and the fact that Fntastic announced they were shutting down their operations just four days after the launch says it all.

The Day Before
02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
+
Occasionally nice graphics
-
Grossly sluggish game mechanics, empty and desolate world, doesn't fulfil any of the promises made beforehand, hilariously buggy and unfinished, disastrously stupid enemies, deplorable loot system.
overall score
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The Day Before

REVIEW. Written by Petter Hegevall

Fntastic's highly anticipated online role-playing game would, according to early trailers, combine The Last of Us with The Division. Petter has found the truth...



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