Written By Gaming Australia.
Days Gone is an action-adventure survival horror game set in a post-apocalyptic open world, played from a third-person perspective. The player controls Deacon St. John a former outlaw-turned-drifter and bounty hunter who prefers life on the road to wilderness encampments. The game takes place two years after a global pandemic occurred which killed almost all of humanity, and transformed millions of others into "Freakers", mindless nocturnal zombie-like creatures that are quickly evolving.
Bend studios have delivered us a different outlook on the zombie/post apocalyptic genre in Days Gone. Having spent around 40 hours over the last 3 days I feel I am well informed and can give my opinion of Days Gone, which I believe to be a fantastic game.
The biggest thing you'll notice is how it seems to be a blend of just about every "AAA" game to be released in the past 5 years it would seem. Featuring a little bit of Far Cry, Dying Light, Fallout, even Red Dead Redemption 2. That does give you an immediate feeling of familiarity but does not take away at all from the experience. We will touch on this a bit more later. Unlike recent PlayStation Exclusives Days gone is a Lot less story driven. Don't get me wrong there is definitely an intriguing story there. It's just a much smaller part of the overall experience than the likes of Spiderman and God of war etc.. That being said the characters back story does also become more of a feature the further through the game you progress
Let’s talk a little about the gameplay. Aside from the few glitches I came across, ranging from mildly annoying to borderline game breaking the game, for me at least, played very well. The visuals are stunning, the audio is as good as you'd expect without being anything ground breaking and the controls were on the whole quite smooth. The bike riding did take some time to get used to but eventually became second nature.
What glitches I hear you ask….... The biggest for me was the sound glitch. This glitch would involve the loss of all environmental sound such as zombie sounds, motorbike sounds, weather sounds and even gunfire. Really taking away from the immersion of the game. The only way I was able to fix this issue was by completely quitting the game and restarting it. Which was extremely annoying and when it has happened to me about 6 times it becomes quite the problem. Other than that I did come across a cutscene loss of lip sync glitch, which did ruin the cutscenes somewhat as things would happen but the sound was about 4 seconds late. I am yet to find a fix for this, however its only happened fairly recently so haven’t tried a hell of a lot. These 2 aside I experienced no other major glitches just minor ones such as the occasional frame rate drop and things like trying to loot bodies but being deemed out of the map by the game and transported back to the map without ever looting the body. Not a massive issue but still an issue.
I guess the most confusing feature of days gone for me was getting my head around the complex/ super basic menu screen. The touchpad gestures while I did get somewhat used to them I did find myself opting to press the pad rather than gesturing it and proceeding from there. The other things I struggled with a bit was the lack of explanation for some things yet bombarding me with information for others. For example, every time I was required to distract an enemy with a rock I would get a pop up notification explaining how to do so. Quite annoying! Then there were times where a certain feature would unlock and I would have no explanation on how to use it. I don’t know if this is another glitch in itself or just poor design?
Now I promised I would explain how Days Gone felt familiar and I will go into that now in more detail. Essentially it took successful components from other very successful games and has managed to blend them perfectly to suit its own narrative. Here is a list of the games I feel Days gone lends itself to and how....
Far Cry - This one is probably the biggest similarity, which for me, is a good thing. I love Far Cry and have long been asking for a standalone Far Cry Zombies game. The reason this one feels very much like a far cry game is quite obvious. From the very similar vendor menus to the clearing out of enemy outposts and the extremely similar open world setting. There's a lot of similarities by which to compare the two.
Dying Light - One of my favourite games of all time Dying Light also shares certain aspects of its game with Days Gone, the clearing out of enemy nests. There was nothing quite like that intense trepidation when entering a nest on Dying Light and this one does a similar thing. Tasked with entering heavily populated areas of the map and burning down any infested nests. Although not as intense as it was in Dying Light it does put you into some very precarious situations.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - I got a very strong yet improved upon sense of traversal when playing this game. Similar to that of RDR2 and the horse riding, you're bike is just as essential to your survival. The open world in parts also reminded me very much of that of Rockstars latest release.
All those similarities aside, I feel like Days Gone very much holds its own in terms of uniqueness. From the massive hordes of zombies down to the variety of enemies you face along the way every encounter is truly unique. One feature that is relatively unique to Days Gone and one that did worry me a little at first was the requirement to kill children, Albeit zombie children, but children all the same. A rather controversial feature which although hard to comprehend I feel adds to the realism of the situation. I mean in the event of a real zombie apocalypse the children won't all disappear as is apparent in almost every other zombie shooter ever.
The vast open world of Days Gone would be one of the most eerie, yet stunning open worlds I have ever traveled across. From the Lush greenery all around to the zombies hiding around every corner there is always so much to look at yet so many reasons to hide and miss it all. So much so I spent hours riding around on my bike taking pictures using photo mode, baiting hordes of zombies into chasing me, tricking them into taking amazing selfies, knowing I had an exit strategy if and when I needed one. So much so that every single image featured in this review are pictures and screenshots I took in game.
Overall I think if you have even a mild interest in open world survival or indeed zombie shooters then this game is for you. I would recommend this game to anyone as I rate it in my top 3 games of 2019 so far. The only issues for me so far are the very fixable glitches and this game is in my opinion well on its way to being one of the best releases this year!
Overall score: 9/10
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