Set in a post-apocalypse, zombie infested Oregon, the open world of Days Gone is tough, takes some time getting used to; but it immerses you once you do. A great title to spend two weekends in, especially during the circumstances. Recommended.
- World and Survivalist Atmosphere
- The Bike as an Unique and Essential Part of Gameplay
- Insane 1v200 Zombie Horde Strategy Battles
What' not so
- Gets Really Exciting Only After a Few Hours
- Characters Feel Flat at Times
Launched with a ton of performance issues back in 2019 for the Playstation 4 (Incidentally only a few days after I got back into gaming after a long hiatus), I did not get this at launch, or for a long time after that in favor of more popular and review-favorable games. Only after I was able to secure a PS5 sometime in 2021, I finally gave it a go (after completing HITMAN and Control). And damn, wish I'd tried it out sooner. Most of the performance issues are now fixed, and it's been released on PC as well.
Yeah Deacon, We're surviving.
Set amidst a collapsing world (cough) in the pacific northwest state of Oregon, you take control of Deacon St. John (Yeah, that's a damn cool name), an US Army veteran who rode as an outlaw biker after service in Afghanistan (cough again). During the onset of the apocalypse, Deacon's wife, Sarah, stabbed during their escape from the city, boards a helicopter belonging to the National Emergency Restoration Organization or NERO as they're referred to in the game, while Deacon stays behind with his injured friend and biker-bro, Boozer; promising to reunite with her.
Two years after a global pandemic (cough) that turned the able bodied infected (humans and animals alike) into various kinds of nasty freakers; Deacon and Boozer work as bounty hunters, taking on both humans and zombies alike for various camps across the region. Sarah is now believed to be dead as the site she was supposed to be evacuated to was ran over. Deacon and Boozer planned to head north in search for a better life when they get ambushed by Rippers - a gang of cultists (cough), where Boozer gets burnt badly by the extremists', forcing them to head to their safe-house to recover. Deacon spots a NERO helicopter and follows it to discover from one of the NERO scientists that Sarah might still be alive.
Without going too much into the story beyond this point, I'll say - It's alright, not the greatest of the video game stories like Read Dead Redemption II, but it's decent enough to keep the game together during it's first few hours - till the gameplay and the open world really connects with the player. A major gameplay system is Deacon's bike, much like the living horse with weather-sensitive-testicles in Red Dead is a living thing, requiring regular fuel and maintenance to function.
In a typical open world game fashion, players have access to a diverse arsenal to dispose of unfriendly beings - guns, melee, traps, throwables, crafted and improvised weapons (No brick though, sorry Last of Us fans :/ "LITERALLY UNPLAYABLE"). Missions can be approached in multiple ways as well, with some requiring careful and extensive planning to be successful. The freakers are slow and hidden during the day but are faster and more resilient at night. They're also evolving as we learn, with different kinds being encountered throughout the game - ranging from the regular zombie, big brutes, BABIES!, fast wolves that can jump you even while riding at full speed, and freakin BEARS!! Weather systems affect more aspects of the game like muddy weather making the bike handle poorly, rain sound masking so it's easier to sneak, snow increasing visibility and zombie strength, etc.
The open world is full of secrets to discover, lore to uncover and side-quests (storylines in the game) to play through. You can do bounty jobs for the various camps encountered throughout the game to gain trust with the said camp, allowing access to better weaponry and transport. These odd jobs may range from the occasional clearing of zombies from an area, targeting specific traitors to the camp, and rescuing kidnapped or trapped souls. You can also find abandoned NERO checkpoints throughout the map which serve as a resting and fast travel point as well as lore building points. The map feels small at a glance, but is massive, with some areas locked away till much later in the game.
The HUD feels responsive, and the menu is one of the better ones encountered in games of this complexity. The weapon wheel for example gives access to all kinds of stuff you have on your person or craft-ables - allowing quick switching from a molotov to a SMG when you need it the most. The game struggled to perform smoothly at launch, however most of those issues have been fixed, and with Days Gone part of the PS+ Collection, anyone with a Playstation 5 console will have access to the title at no charge. The PC version also runs well, supports ultra-wide resolutions, improves framerate and graphical fidelity - with support for over 500 zombies on screen at once (given you and your rig have enough juice to handle it). The multi-zombie hordes are one of the best features of the game; clearing an area of a horde is full of adrenaline pumped goosebumps.
Recommended. Give it a try, it's a solid 40-50 hours of chills and thrills.