REVIEW: ‘Days Gone’ Doesn’t Add Much to the Genre but is a Fun Ride (PS4)

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Days Gone

Days Gone, developed by SIE Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, is the highly-anticipated PlayStation exclusive video game that is centered around a zombie apocalypse. Back in late 2016, early 2017, I saw a video of this game which showed the main character dealing with an entire horde of zombies. The person in control used several weapons, various maneuvers, and quick thinking to trim down the horde. I was completely mesmerized by what I had just seen, especially since my love of zombies was starting to resurface.

Since seeing the video, I kept my eyes and ears open to see if any news about this game was revealed. Finally, during E3 2017, we got to see its first gameplay trailer. Seeing that trailer only increased my excitement for the game even more. It had a mix of both The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V, which made an even stronger case for me buying this game on its release day. Unfortunately, Days Gone has gone through some set backs, including having its date changed several times. However, it was finally released last week on April 26, 2019.

The main story follows Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), a former member of a biker gang who still continues to adjust to his life in a post-apocalyptic setting. He lives with his friend and former biker gang member William “Boozer” Gray (Jim Pirri). Having survived the initial attack in Oregon five years before the main story in Days Gone, Deacon and Boozer find themselves running errands for other communities in exchange for food and supplies.

Then, one particular errand goes sideways when Deacon’s bike is taken and Boozer is injured by a group of Rippers, who are uninfected humans that formed a cult that worships the infected. After finding his bike in pieces at a nearby camp lead by Copeland (Crispin Freeman), Copeland himself promises Deacon a new bike if he runs errands for him. Reluctantly, Deacon accepts his offer since a bike is his only way to ride South with Boozer.

Days Gone is played from a third-person perspective and set in an open world environment which players can explore. Players are never safe on the road as hostile encounters can be found everywhere. Whether it’s hordes of Freakers, which is what this game calls the infected, or human enemies, players must always be aware of their surroundings. One other danger that players must deal with is the wildlife, specifically bears and wild wolves, which can actually keep up with Deacon’s bike.

As Deacon, players can choose to engage in a variety of combat styles. There are times where the game calls for players to be stealthy, sneaking up behind enemies and finishing them with a melee attack. Other times, stealth is not an option, which calls for players to use firearms or other weapons like axes or baseball bats. After several uses, melee weapons are destroyed, but players can fix them with spare parts that they pick up.

That being said, players can only carry two firearms at a time, and one melee weapon, making repairing melee weapons key for when the ammo runs out. You can also craft Molotovs, proximity bombs, and first aid kits from materials that they pick up.

One of the most important mechanics in the game is Deacon’s drifter bike. It is used as the player’s primary mode of transportation throughout the game. As the game progresses, players can purchase upgrades for the bike, which includes the ability to carry more inventory and ammo.

Days Gone

However, players need to be aware that the bike does take damage and does run out of gas. Several places on the map are marked where gas is available and repairs on the bike can be paid for at any camp you visit, or you can use any spare parts they find to repair it on the rode.

As I stated before, Days Gone is a third-person open world that players can explore. There are objectives that each major location has. Depending on the location and the mission, players should be wary of taking either a stealthy or a much more aggressive approach. The major areas in the game require players to clear them of the infected. Some have only a few Freakers roaming while others can have hundreds. Keep in mind that Freakers tend to be more dangerous at night. I’d recommend being fully stocked with ammo and Molotovs.

Players can freely explore most of the areas in the game. Some are unlocked as the game progresses, such as survivor camps. Most of the side missions give rewards upon completion, like trust between different camps that can lower prices at stores, skill points to unlock new skills, and money to be spent on equipment or upgrades. Players can choose to skip these missions but I’d recommend completing them to get better weapons, more abilities, and upgrades for Deacon’s bike.

One of the more unique game mechanics is the weather system implementation. Aside from the setting switching from day and night, the weather also changes, which has different effects on the environment and by extension how you play the game. For instance, the rain allows players to be more stealthy, but it also means that enemies can also sneak up on Deacon and that the roads will also have less traction when it rains. This sets it apart from such games like The Last of Us, where the environmental changes don’t necessarily affect the game.

Days Gone does implement narrative choices that affect Deacon’s journey. One of these choices includes whether you should leave certain characters for the infected or if you should perform a mercy kill. Others deal with which main camp the player wants to support, which will have major consequences. I’m a fan of games that have this feature since they force me to take all the facts that have been given and force me to make a choice. It makes me feel that I have a choice in how the game progresses rather than just following a story.

Days Gone

At this point, there have been countless open-world games. I’ve played my fair share of these kinds of games, but I’ve come to notice that many of them seem to follow the same template. In other words, with every open-world game that comes out, nothing new is added to make any sort of difference as you move through the world and it gets repetitive, having to search for weapons and supplies over and over. Unfortunately, Days Gone doesn’t add anything new to make this stand out. It’s a game where players can get lost for hours exploring and completing missions, but it does get repetitive.

There were a few game mechanics that made it difficult for me to enjoy playing this game at times. Specifically, it was difficult to hold specific buttons to interact with objects. For instance, rather than just pressing the square button to get on the bike, I’d need to hold it. It may seem like something small, but constantly having to repeat this process becomes annoying, especially when a horde is chasing after me.

However, the game hasn’t had the greatest first week of being released. Since its release last Friday, the game has almost had a new patch come out. Since players have been having issues with different mechanics within the game, the developers have implements patches. Sony Bend has added a subreddit in which players can posts any future bugs that they see the game.

On Friday morning, after installing the most recent patch, my game would not load and received a notification that my data was corrupted. After deleting and reinstalling the game, I was able to load the game but a significant amount of my game progress had been deleted. It’s quite disappointing for a company who should have the resources to prevent this from happening didn’t prepare for this.

Having put in around 30 hours into this game, and even after losing a significant amount of that from the upgrade, I can say with full confidence that I’ve had a blast playing Days Gone. Whether it’s the main storyline, coming up with plans to get rid of hordes, or even the endless hours that one can put into exploring, this game offers diverse elements for all players to enjoy.

Some of its mechanics are a bit lackluster and it doesn’t quite add anything new in terms of either the zombie and open world genres. I can imagine I would’ve had a better experience with the game had my game progress not been partially deleted. That being said, there are still a few things that I was able to enjoy the game.

Days Gone is available for purchase now, wherever video games are sold and on the PlayStation Store.

Days Gone
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL; DR

I can say with full confidence that I’ve had a blast playing Days Gone. Whether it’s the main storyline, coming up with plans to get rid of hordes, or even the endless hours that one can put into exploring, this game offers diverse elements for all players to enjoy.

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