What You Need to Know
If you have a wicked memory, you’ll remember that Bend Studio’s Days Gone was revealed at E3 2016. Fast forward to a bunch of delays in 2018 and finally we have it in our hands… Well it’s been about 2 months since it’s released, but I really wanted to review this bad Larry.
You are Deacon St. John aka Deek as the homies around him refer to him. You and your partner Boozer aka Boozeman are to survive in the post apocalyptic Oregon after a zombie pandemic wreaked havoc on the world two years prior. Deek and Boozer make ends meet by completing bounties, doing work for camps, killing Freakers (the name of the zombies), riding bikes and hope to ride up north.
Let’s get to it.
Days Gone is a third person shooter/survival game. This game plays is basically The Last of Us in an open world.
Deacon is a former Afghanistan veteran turned drifter/bounty hunter, which gives him the training needed to kill zombies and bad people. There is a contextual cover system (I think that’s what it’s called) where Deek will take cover on objects automatically. Players will scavenge for materials to heal up, create makeshift weapons like a baseball bat with nails on it, and/or craft molotov cocktails because zombies hate fire. Deek has a stamina bar and a health bar along with a Focus ability where you can basically line up headshots.
Days Gone has a very simple stealth system. You can hide in bushes and stealth people with Deek’s combat knife, mark targets with your binoculars, throws rocks as a distraction tool, and use silenced guns to be sneaky. Days Gone also has a simple combat system. You can fight people with your knife or with a melee weapon. Swinging your melee weapon drains your stamina so be wary if you’re surrounded and drained of stamina. Enemies will dodge your attacks though so it isn’t a simple beat em up style of game. Deek gains XP for killing enemies which can be used to spend in a skill tree. Pretty straightforward.
Now, one of the most important aspects of the game is your bike. Oregon must be a biker state because everybody loves motorcycles in Days Gone. Your bike is your method of transportation, it is also your save tool (as in how you are able to save the game), and it can be upgraded to store ammo on it. Your bike has a gas tank that requires fuel and can take damage which requires scrap to fix. Luckily, there are plenty of gas tanks, working gas stations (ironic since it’s the end of the world) and scrap in the world that you’ll never have to worry too much. Scrap can be found in cars, which you can open car hoods and take what’s in them to fix your bike.
All of your inventory is managed by a rotating wheel mapped to the L1 button. You can craft heals and melee weapons from your wheel, choose your weapon, and attach suppressors through the wheel.
There are two major enemy populations in the game; Freaker and humans and a sub group of enemies I call “wild beasts”. What’s left of society has either joined up to cooperate and survive peacefully or joined up and decided to wreak havoc on everyone. On the human front, we have the Rippers. Rippers are whack jobs you punish themselves and can be easily confused to be zombies. They are wild and unhinged. They will bum rush you with baseball bats or shoot at you with guns. They also lay traps whether it be bear traps, sounds traps, or a wire stretched across the highway to snatch you off your bike.
Freakers are the zombies. In this game, there are..
- Freakers: Normal, average zombie. Will attack on sight.
- Newts: Children zombies. They will not attack you unless provoked.
- Hordes: Picture 200 zombies in a line chasing after you. Basically what Bend Studio was trying to sell you on when they debuted this game years ago.
There isn’t a ton of variety when it comes to the zombies. They’re cool though. Keep in mind that the zombies come out at night, so plan accordingly! You collect Freaker ears for bounties. In the “wild beasts” category, we have bears and wolves. The changing of the world has not been kind to them and they are even more ferocious. Wolves can run top speed and rip you off your bike so be careful!
There are also the NERO agents. These guys are researchers, and while you don’t fight them, they present an interesting back story to the game.
There are civilian camps which can provide you with resources provided you have the money. CC aka camp credits are given out when you complete jobs, bounties, and more for a camp. Each camp has its own economy so having 6000 CC in one camp doesn’t carry over to another. You also earn trust by doing the same actions. Build up your trust level, and you’ll earn better grades for your bike and weaponry.
In the open world, there is a shit ton to do. I mean seriously. You can do missions for camps, burn up Infestation zones to clear up the roads, tackle bandit camps, head over to Nero checkpoints to augment your abilities or take on the massive Hordes that are in the world. There’s a lot to keep you busy if you’re a 100%.
The way the story is presented is a little different than in other games. It’s called storylines, and each storyline has a bunch of missions underneath it that you must complete in order to 100% the storyline. For example, Deek and Boozer want to ride up north. That is one storyline and there are missions that lead up to their journey north.
I think I covered just about everything…
Man that E3 2016 demo really caught my eye. Let’s watch it again.
If you skipped over it, I’m not mad.
That demo was so cool. It’s been 3 years since, and leading up to the release, the hype started to wear down a bit. You know, delays are a fickle thing. Yes, we want a finished product, but the more delays a game experiences, the more likely it seems it can lead to a not as good final product i.e. Duke Nukem Forever. That is Days Gone: well at least according to all the “video game sites” and “reviewers”.
I’ve had a good time playing Days Gone the more time I invested in it. Bend Studio really did a great job creating an atmosphere. You whizz past danger on your bike, but once you’re off it, you feel alone and weak (I don’t think that’s the right word but I’ll stick with it). Even though Deek is trained and capable of handling himself, when you’re facing a group of Freakers running at you and Rippers shooting at the same time, you feel overwhelmed. Scavenging for materials is satisfying as heck; without them you feel hopeless. You don’t know how I stressed I was that one time I didn’t have enough scrap to fix my bike and was also running out of gas. Kudos to Bend.
The open world feels empty, but a good kind of empty. I loved seeing Rippers and Freakers going at it or being jumped by Rippers while riding my bike. Combat is simple, but pretty satisfying when you beat the snot out of three Rippers who surrounded you with machetes. I didn’t like the gunplay at first because it’s inaccurate as heck, but once you figure it out, it’s actually really easy. The bike feels good when you’re riding around Oregon.
The game is beautiful. I played on a PS4 Pro, no 4k Tv because I’m a cheap rebel, and it still looked amazing. Rain hits the ground and creates mud that your bike tires kick up pretty convincingly, the sun shines bright, while the moon is dim but beautiful. Oregon is full of green trees, pretty bodies of water, and mountains. Some character models don’t look too hot, but whatever. I’m a gamer not a critic.
I think people will look at Days Gone, look at the reviews, and completely disagree with them. I haven’t seen one negative comment from gamers worldwide, whereas all the “certified reviewers” are bashing it. Now it’s not perfect, with its weird storytelling, occasional glitches, lack of enemy drifters on bikes patrolling the wild Oregon roads, and the load times are pretty long. Other then that I really don’t have anything negative to say about the game. It’s fun and different. I would love to see Bend Studio put a harder difficulty option in the game aka a survival mode where it’s hard as heck to find supplies, tougher enemies and more. Just straight masochistic, but still doable. (Edit: as soon as I wrote this I saw a trailer including a survival mode update lol).
If you’re unsure or tired of zombie games but still interested, I’d say wait until there’s a sale. What do you think about Days Gone?