It was slightly behind schedule, but the promised gameplay reveal of the upcoming zombie survival game The Day Before (opens in new tab) actually happened today, and as a guy who's played a lot of videogames, I can tell you that this definitely looks like one.
To be blunt, the video is very dull. It's fine, in the sense that all the usual notes are hit: Cupboards are searched, weapons are crafted, zombies are seen and shot. But it's very sparse, with long stretches of nothing but jogging through ruined city streets and way too much time spent at a crafting station. It's also unimpressive graphically, and I can't even begin to guess what's going on with the music, which sounds like it's torn straight from the elevator of my nightmares. It's really not a fit for the subject matter; fortunately, it stops after a few minutes.
The whole thing looked to me like a pre-release version of The Division, except you're shooting zombies instead of desperate people struggling to survive in a ruined, cruel world—which I suppose at least alleviates the need to think too much about who the bad guys really are. But even if you set aside questions about the overall quality of the video, or attribute it to the game's pre-release state, the real issue is that It's all so generic—not at all something I'd consider worthy of being the second-most-wishlisted game on Steam at one point.
The video was billed as "raw gameplay," but many of the viewers on YouTube and Discord had serious doubts. The complete lack of a HUD immediately raised questions—one user in The Day Before Discord claimed it was only hidden, but there's no way to know because the 'player' never did anything to bring it up. And since the whole point of this showcase was to demonstrate The Day Before as a real, playable game, you'd think developer Fntastic would want to show off all the relevant components—UI being one of the biggest. And yet, we saw nothing.
Here's the inventory screen, which is also remarkably free of information:
The gameplay video ended abruptly after 10 uninspired minutes, but then things took an unexpected (and frankly weird) twist: A countdown to a second video began ticking off, this one promising to show The Day Before being played live, by a real person.
After waiting through another 15 minutes of countdowns, the second video began—and gave us 30 seconds of a developer apparently playing the game in real-time.
It was underwhelming to say the least, especially because it's immediately obvious that he's playing on the exact same stretch of street that was used in the 10-minute gameplay video. I mean, if you want to convince people that this is a full-scale game nearing completion, maybe it's not the best idea to use the same 10-meter stretch of street in two separate presentation videos.
The best I can say about today's presentation is that it happened: The Day Before looks more like an actual videogame that exists (in some incomplete state of development) than it did yesterday. But did it look good—did it look like a game that, until a couple weeks ago (opens in new tab), was ready to launch on March 1? Absolutely not. And rather than locking things down, this incredibly brief "live gameplay" clip only muddied the waters further.
Both videos ended with the usual Day Before header image and the new release date of November 10. The "add to wishlist" button is there too, as it is on the official website (opens in new tab), but unfortunately you can't actually add it to your wishlist because The Day Before is still not returned to Steam.