Another day, another game. 2019 seems to be a good year in terms of zombie content and Days Gone is no exception. From the makers of Syphon Filter and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, SIE Bend Studio has a lot riding (wink-wink) on this PlayStation exclusive because apart from the hype leading up to release day, there was also a lot of buzz about the game just being another triple A title with the usual triple A tropes. And with some solid games lined up in the coming months, can this zombie horde tour-de-force keep up with the best of them? For a bit of a primer you can check out this article which gives out everything you need to know, but if you want the whole meat of it, here’s my review.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Days Gone is a post apocalyptic open-world, action-adventure survival-horror (that was a mouthful) game set in Central Oregon which is also the place of the studio where the game was developed. You play as Deacon St. John, a member of the Mongrels Motorcycle Squad who, because of a global incident that happened two years ago, is set out to a life surviving from zombie creatures called “freakers” and becoming somewhat of a bounty hunter/outlaw in his own right. You won’t be judged if you think of DG as a cross between The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy.
As badass as he might seem, the protagonist is still tormented with the pandemic that unfolded before, especially when dealing with loss of his wife, Sarah. As a manifestation of his trauma, Deacon regularly projects his anger towards the freakers with only his bestfriend, William “Boozer” Grey keeping his wits in check.
I would say one of the highlights in this game is the well-thought of story. The main story is definitely intriguing and engaging that makes you want to play it more just to unravel the mystery. Key flashbacks are also generously sprinkled all through the plot that really fleshes out the characters and keeps you invested in them. A huge props in this department.
With all of the hype-building made by Sony around this game, you can really feel that they are not messing around with it being a a solid and not to mention exclusive title. But having heard feedbacks and watching some early gameplay videos, I can’t shake my head around Days Gone just being another game among a slew of other Triple A titles that have come and gone. And now that I had to sink a lot of gameplay hours in, I think I can shoot straight in saying both the positive and negative side of Days Gone, let’s start with the bad first:
I guess the most obvious part of Days Gone is that right from the very start, even at the time of the promotion and demos is that the developers are obviously wanting to out this as your standard Triple A, PlayStation exclusive game. Every single feature in the game are mechanics that we have already seen before from previous titles, kicking and screaming with stuff that you can really say that you’ve “been there, done that before.”
The way you loot/scavenge materials for crafting various items and equipment, and even Deacon’s survival/detective instinct which, for a biker dude is really so impressive (make way Batman). These little bits ring all too familiar tropes that at first might seem nothing new well, because they aren’t. But I think that Bend really wanted to go this route because hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? So if you are a big fan of this tried and true genre you will definitely not go wrong here. So having said that, it ain’t all that bad, right? I guess everyone is probably looking for a game that breaks through the console’s near-end lifespan.
As I’ve said, for the most part the game doesn’t offer anything new, but what’s lacking in originality they made up for in everything else and that is presenting a game that has a really solid story and tight gameplay that’s right up there with the best of them. Adding to this is the combat which I haven’t touched yet. Sure there’s the obvious gunplay with a handful of freakers, not to mention the stealth kills here and there…
…But I think the crowning glory of that separates it from the others is fun and crazy encounters you will make when you face a bunch, nay not even a bunch, but literally HUNDREDS of zombies running right towards you! And you being Deacon, have to really get creative and improvise your way out of these undead denizens, and this is for me the biggest charm of this game. Clearing out nests and approaching/defeating the many varieties of zombies, can prove to be really satisfying.
IF IT AINT BROKE, DON’T FIX IT
Days Gone is a solid 30+ hours worth your time (even more if you want to plat the game). Despite the obvious familiarity with other classic games, SIE Bend Studio did everything in spades and really made something great here. I guess the final word of caution I can say here is that you need to give the game some time, as I can fully expect that some players might get bored and put this down especially during the first part, which can be a bit of a slog. Stick with it as DG really gets better during the mid to end part. With that said, I hope the developers follow through with future titles soon. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll get back to exterminating some hordes.
- Stunning, dynamic environment that can, in a positive way, affect gameplay
- Memorable story and likable characters
- You can customize your ride
- Might be just another zombie genre game for some
- Might be just another Triple A game for most
- Some slight framerate dips but might be improved with the next update