Game Review: Days Gone

Days Gone was released two years ago by Bend studio known for the Syphon Filter series and the Uncharted Golden Abyss. It’s hard to say why we overlooked this project in its time, but we obviously didn’t do it on purpose. In May 2021 Days Gone came to PCs, and that means it’s time to catch up!

Brief Story Introduction

The game takes place in a world that has survived a global pandemic, which turned most of humanity into Freaks – the local equivalent of zombies. The protagonist of the story is Deacon St. John, whose appearance and voice were given by Sam Witwer, known for his role as Starkiller from The Force Unleashed. Once a member of the Mad Dogs motorcycle club, Deacon now moonlights as a mercenary and runs various errands for small groups of survivors.

Despite the zombie theme, the plot in Days Gone is quite vital. For example, the same Deacon at every opportunity expresses how unhappy he is to run errands for others, while convincing himself that it is still necessary to do so. No less interesting are the secondary characters.

The scenario of Days Gone game is similar to GTA series and Far Cry 3. So, you have a large open world in which you can move around. It is divided into zones, each of which has a camp with survivors. Each camp is dedicated to its own storyline. At the same time, each of these stories is part of the main quest. So, you can have several main quests available at once, just like in GTA 5. As for comparison with Far Cry 3, here everything is a little bit more complicated. At a certain point it will seem to you that the story is about to end. The counter of the game time shows the weighty 20 hours of gameplay, you are getting ready to watch the credits, and just in a minute you understand that the “second island” is waiting for you.

Not to say it’s bad, but Days Gone feels like two games in one. It is in terms of story, not in terms of mechanics. It feels like the developers from Bend Studio showed the almost finished game to Sony, and they said “Not enough content”. And so, to the project “stitched” another 20 hours of gameplay. Moreover, the seam, which tied the two pieces of the story, is felt very strongly.

By the time a new region becomes available, most of the storyline has been logically completed, and the rest created a good head start for a possible sequel. The second region, in which these lines found a continuation, seems hastily made: the villains are not as interesting, and the actual story content is not so good, in contrast to the monotonous errands that sometimes need to be completed to move on through the main story. All of this pretty much spoils the overall impression of the script, although it does not completely override the excellent first piece of the story in the second one. It’s like placing bets at roulette – it’s interesting for the first time, but becomes boring if you continue to do it for a long time. Such things always trigger to look for something different like the website here

The gameplay

Gameplay in Days Gone turned out to be moderately interesting, especially when you consider that we’re talking about an open-world game with “towers and outposts”. Yes, you didn’t misunderstand. In terms of gameplay the world of Days Gone is very reminiscent of Ubisoft’s off-the-wall creation – there are a lot of points with different activities scattered around the map. Some of them are quite standard for open-world games: to clear the bandit camp, rescue a survivor, find improvements to the Deacon’s characteristics, clear the area of the infected. But there are also interesting side quests: for example, to hunt down another mercenary, catch up with him on your bike and take him as prisoner. Unfortunately, there are not many such missions, although it is necessary to perform these tasks in Days Gone. Firstly, such missions give you the experience you need to improve the level of your character, and, as a consequence, the opening of perks. Secondly, it increases the level of trust of the camp for which you have completed the mission, which in turn unlocks improvements for the bike and new weapons.

The fairly standard quests are saved by the main gameplay mechanics: good shooting, which the game inherited from Uncharted, as well as an impressive arsenal of weapons and traps that the main character uses. Throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone, setting traps around the perimeter and luring a group of freaks to them – there are a lot of options for side missions, and the open world becomes a revived playground for experiments.

Life Simulation

The fact is that Days Gone takes from Ubisoft’s games not only the general structure of the open world, but also the approach to the simulation of life in it. For example, you set out in search of survivors and run into an infected bear on the way. You jump off the mountain to find yourself at the entrance to the cave, where a horde of freaks (a huge crowd of infected) has just awakened. And now you are already rushing through the woods, scattering mines on the road and on the way crafting equipment to make your escape possible. Even on low difficulty level the meeting with the horde turns into a real test of stamina, and on high it requires careful and attentive preparation. Horde battles are probably one of the most memorable parts of the game. Something similar happened in World War Z, which came out with Days Gone around the same time. Only at Bend Studios the “zombies” are more tenacious, due to what the battles with them are more intense. Plus, the hordes in Days Gone are constantly moving. Although the routes are scripted, the horde has several possible directions, which adds an element of randomness to your adventure.

Bike and Crafting

Another element of Days Gone, that gets a lot of time in the game, is the main character’s bike. Deacon’s bike can be customized and improved in various ways: from painting to installing more powerful and silent engine that allows you to get away from the freaks with ease. The bike itself is pleasant to drive, albeit quite arcade. There are, however, a couple of nuances: it is not very convenient to turn in narrow passages and blocked tunnels, and on mountain roads it is quite difficult to race even at medium speed. Otherwise, everything is extremely comfortable, given that a significant part of the game takes place in the saddle of the bike.

Among the unambiguous disadvantages can be attributed to the strangeness of the craft. To raise a certain material, you must first get a drawing of the item, for the creation of which this resource is needed. That is, until Deacon learns how to make a decoy, he cannot pick up alarm clocks scattered around the world. The same applies to the rest of the materials.

Technical Issues

The main problems of Days Gone occur where you’d least expect them: in the technical implementation. The game was created with Unreal Engine 4 and was made for PlayStation 4, but even after two years in Days Gone on “PS” there are problems. Among the most common: the loading of textures, or rather their absence, and frame rate drops. For example, in the stadium location I had not fully loaded textures of freaks and the environment, so I had to shoot the partially invisible infected among the invisible stands. In addition, the game overclocks the standard PlayStation 4, which makes the console very noisy. Fortunately, on personal computers with the technical side all is well – modern hardware is clearly better to cope with the game than the console from Sony’s last generation.

As for the features of the PC-version, the game received support for ultra-wide monitors, unlocked frame rate, increased detail, FOV changes and improved drawing range.

In general, Days Gone clearly falls short of the Sony exclusives at the level of Uncharted 4 or God of War, but it is not an outright dud. Just a solid action-adventure game, which suffers from technical deficiencies in the PS4 version and a slight drag on the story.