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Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developed by: SIE Bend Studio
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre(s): Action-adventure, survival horror
Mode(s): Single-player
Game Type: ,
73/ 100

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Gorgeous dynamic weather effects and day/night cycle. Impressive Horde system.


Generic. Unenthusiastic objectives. Scattered narrative.

Posted April 27, 2019 by

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DAYS GONE is Bend Studio’s first major title since Siphon Filter. There’s much pressure to prove themselves as a first-party studio for Sony Computer Entertainment. Knowing Sony’s powerhouse of exclusive titles, that’s a tall order in and of itself, but on top of that, they also have to overcome the saturated Zombie survival premise, too. In the 30+ hours of cruising ’round DAYS GONE, It seems they’ve barely managed to achieve such herculean tasks.


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The game is set somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, just over 2 years after events of apocalyptic proportions brought humanity to near extinction. Now, most men, women, children, and even certain animals, have turned into zombie-like creatures survivors call Freakers. The story revolves around Deacon St. John, a drifter who has loved and lost with little lines left to cross in this new world(according to him). Early on, the game serves up a taste of Deacon’s past before throwing you into the post-apocalyptic wilds where you’ll be spending most your time. Flashbacks from Deacon’s pre-apocalypse life periodically unfolds in an attempt to make his convictions clearer. Unfortunately, it does little to that effect, resulting in a story that is difficult to stay invested in.

The game’s story won’t be winning any Oscars, for sure. Coming in, I knew DAYS GONE would be focusing on the open-world gameplay aspect over delivering a stellar linear story. That isn’t to say that DAYS GONE’s story isn’t enjoyable. It serves its purpose to say the least. Despite two-dimensional character developments, Sam Witwer and a good number of the cast do try their best to deliver in performance, there’s just very little that can be done to salvage a scattered narrative.


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This is where the game pours its all into. DAYS GONE is a third person action survival game where you battle Freakers and humans alike, using a collection of melee and ranged weapons along with a clump of craftable items and equipment to aid in your drifter business. And of course, there’s Deacon’s bike – your primary mode of transportation around the post-apocalyptic sandbox.  Unlike in some open-world games, Deacon’s bike isn’t a magical horse that you can summon from anywhere with a single whistle. You have to mind where you park it, watch your gas levels, and make sure it doesn’t sustain too much damage.

If you’re wondering, the game does have fast travel, but you’ll have to have enough gas to make it where you want to go, otherwise, you’ll have to make a few stops between travel points. Thankfully, Deacon’s bike is customizable, allowing you to change various parts as well as adding custom paint jobs and decals. You can upgrade your bike’s gas tank to increase the amount of fuel it can hold. Oddly enough, this system works well; your bike’s initially limited amount of fuel and speed kinda forces you to take the world in a bit, then later when you’re already familiar with the world does fuel and speed become less of a chore.

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Deacon is a drifter, meaning he doesn’t camp up with any of the settlements in the game. But even drifters need to eat, so Deacon occasionally takes on jobs for the different camps in exchange for camp credits, which you can use to purchase new gear or to repair and refuel your bike. These jobs take the form of side quests, which usually has you off on a manhunt or a rescue but seldom anything else. As such, these jobs tend to get pretty tedious and repetitive.

Much of what Deacon does involves a lot of killing and fortunately, he knows all sorts of ways. Stealth is one of Deacon’s options, and you’d do well to do so whenever you can. There are sound and visibility meters to give you a good sense of how well hidden you are or if you have been spotted. You can utilize tall brushes, throw rocks, and stealth kills opponents from behind. When stealth isn’t an option, it’s time to break out the pew-pew. You can carry one primary and secondary weapon as well as one breakable melee weapon(though Deacon does have his trusty boot knife which is unbreakable but really weak). You can repair your weapons using parts (skill required) and how frequently you’ll have to repair your weapon depends on its durability. You can modify your breakable weapons into more powerful forms, provided you’ve got the scraps to make ‘em. Ammo and parts can be quite scarce, so being resourceful about your items and always looking out for loot is your best hope of survival.

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Like many open-world titles, the problem with DAYS GONE also lies in its repetitiveness. Most of the activities laid out for you can get quite monotonous, especially since they almost never affect the story in any way. Doing quests increases your level of trust within the factions in-game. All that really does is unlock new items for you to purchase, which is pretty bad considering one of the last factions you unlock offers far better items as opposed to the earlier once you encounter, eliminating any incentive to continue to do jobs for the said factions.

Thankfully, DAYS GONE does have one trump card in the form of the Hordes. These are clumps of Freakers that travel closely together whose numbers always count by the hundreds. There’s a fixed number of these hordes and are located on specific parts of the game’s world. Taking on these Hordes are exhilarating and easily one of the best experiences you’ll have playing the game. It’s quite tricky to pull off a cinematic horde encounter much like what they’ve shown in the trailers, especially when you’re not familiar with the layout of the area yet. Most likely, out of fear, you’ll attempt to take the hordes out safely, which, though possible, isn’t as exciting as the alternative.


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One thing that DAYS GONE nails completely is the graphics. The Freaker-infested pacific northwest looks gorgeous and is more than enough motivation to ride around in. The dynamic weather and day and night cycle in here works wonders against the trees, brushes, and terrain. Water reflections are phenomenal, and the mixture of mud and water are unlike anything I’ve seen before. The fact that DAYS GONE is a huge open world title makes all these graphical achievements all the more impressive.

Besides the initial loading when booting the game, the loading times in between sequences and fast travels in DAYS GONE are adequately short, too. Kudos to Bend Studio for such an impressive composition. The game runs on a stable 30 frames on both standard and PS4 Pro with the pro able to shell out higher quality textures. There have been instances of frame skips and slowdowns, specifically after riding from end to end of the map, most likely due to the game loading the areas during your cruise in Deacon’s bike. However, even with hundreds of Freakers flailing at once onscreen, I’ve never experienced any slowdowns during horde attacks. The soundtrack is mediocre though, however, the sound effects are eerie and/or satisfying enough to sell the experience.


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DAYS GONE is generic. It’s fun. It’s gorgeous. It’s generic. Repetitive activities and inconsequential quests bar it from becoming a solid title. Bend Studios had laid out a solid framework, setting the foundations for a franchise with much potential. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I had a mostly good 30+ hours with it. Don’t come in expecting a ‘The Last of Us’ caliber story and The Witcher 3 levels of sidequests but fighting Hordes of zombies in a game that looks this gorgeous is a good enough reason to pick it up. If you’ve always wanted to play something like that, then DAYS GONE won’t disappoint. 

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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