Days Gone lets you play around in a huge open world filled to the brim with depression, sadness, anger, frustration and joy. It is a incredible emotional journey that might overstay its welcome depending on what you expect the game to be heading into it. If you are looking for a Dead Island, Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising game you might be disappointed, however if you want a game that literally puts you into what might be the most realistic point of view of a person stranded in a land left for dead (no pun intended) with all the desperation that might evoke then Days Gone most likely will spam you with all kind of emotions.
For those that don’t know, Bend Studio actually started as a company back in 1993, then as Blank, Berlyn and Co. Back then they developed games and apps for Apple Newton then drifted into PC and console games. A name change came and the company was now known as Eidetic and their first console game was released in 1996 for the Playstation, Bubsy 3D. Bubsy 3D was developed with only 8 employees. A year later Eidetic was approached by Sony with an idea for a game that is still today known among the gaming masses as Syphon Filter. The game went on to sell one million units in its first year, giving the company its first taste of success as well as impressing Sony along the way. Since then the game has developed multiple games for Sony such as Syphon Filter 2, 3, The Omega Strain, Dark Mirror and Logan’s Shadow. The game also worked on Resistance: Retribution for the PSP and Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Uncharted: Fight for Fortune.
Days Gone will be the most hyped game Bend Studio has ever worked on and as we all know within the gaming community, with hype comes great responsibility. Days Gone is now released and it is an action-adventure survival horror game. It is set in a post-apocalyptic open world, with a third-person perspective. You play as Deacon St.John, a biker (possible 1%) and after a global pandemic that took out almost the entire humanity and turned them all into “freakers” (zombies..), and with the entire world going to shit, there is always a set of humans going into business for themselves and these people are also out to get you. So it is literally you against the world.
Luckily for Deacon he have a motorcycle at his disposal, the problem with that is that in the beginning of the game your motorcycle is destroyed and you get a “shitbike” as Deacon so elegantly puts it himself, instead. Which means it has a small gas tank and a fragile framework, and this is one of the main concerns with the game, the fact that your life depends on the bike to work, and you are constantly in need of repairing it and refilling it with gas, because the last thing you want is to be left out in the wilds with no gas or a broken down bike. Luckily the bike can be upgraded by visiting one of the friendly camps, but nothing in this world is free so you are going to take on missions, hunt for animals to sell or kill freakers and turn their tags in for currency.
The weather and day and night cycle also plays a huge role in Days Gone, as night time will have the freakers in their prime, but during daytime they are fewer and somewhat slower and weaker, don’t get me wrong, a horde of freakers will still slay you during daytime, do not think you are ever 100% safe in this world because you are not. But you have a knife disposable at all time which is nice for stealth take-downs, but a freaker that has noticed you still take a few hits to go down, and while you are fighting one freaker there is bound to be a few more noticing this and wanting a piece of the action, and before you know it there is 20 freakers chasing you. And the best thing to do in most cases is to leave everything behind and run for safety.
Your health and stamina bar is minimal but can be upgraded by unlocking NERO buildings, which are buildings that is set without power because of either missing parts or no gasoline. You need to power up these buildings and enter them to find an item in there that will have you choose what to upgrade, your focus, stamina or health. I focused mainly on stamina at first and added health to it along the way, but you never, ever, ever feel overpowered in this game. And if you are unlucky and run into a freaker horde of hundred freakers your best choice is either to try to run through it with your bike and never look back, or jump into a bush and hide until they pass.
Days Gone also has a story, and it is mainly about Deacon’s lost girlfriend, who may or may not be dead, but there is an underlying here of Deacon’s struggle with sanity in this world gone to shit. Deacon’s biker friend Boozer is also a part of the story as well as characters you meet along the way. The game slowly reveals more and more of the story as you progress but it is a slow and steady ride from start to finish. Think up to 60+ hours to finish the story depending on how you approach the game.
It is difficult to write a review of a game like Days Gone, not because I find it hard to come up with words to write but the fact that it is so hard to try and cover everything this game has to offer. Because my experience with the game will differ from everyone else simply because it is a huge open world game and you choose what mission you want to tackle next. But I think one of the best ways for me to explain this game is in form of a story (one of many different) that randomly happened during my play-through, so here goes:
I was on my way to do a mission when I got a call about picking up something that was along the way so I figured I might as well take two birds with one stone and I started the new mission as well. It was dark and night was starting to creep up on me and the sky opened up and the rain started pouring out. It was literally one of those shit days that Deacon talks endlessly about. The new side mission had me riding my bike down a narrow pathway that was now muddy and slippery and before I knew it my bike was going out of control and I managed to crash into a tree and got flung off the bike. Now of course this made a huge sound which then again attracted some freakers to my location, so I tried to take the two out before anyone else showed up but as explained earlier, two turns quickly into three and three to four, so before I knew it there was too many of them and I had to leave my bike and do a Iron Maiden, “run to the hills, run for your lives”. I managed to get far enough from them to be able to hide into a bush and they lost interest so after awhile I slowly but surely snuck down towards my bike, managed to get it back up and powered it on and I was gone. “So long suckers!” was the first thing that popped into my head as I zoomed past the freakers that was too slow to catch up with me now that I was back on my bike but just as I was starting to cover more and more ground there was suddenly smoke starting to appear from my bike, and as a few freakers started to chase me my engine broke down.
So once again I had to leave my bike, “run to the hills, run for your lives” and hide until they where gone, sneak back down, fix my bike, got on and did a burnout just to fling some mud in the freakers faces before I once again took off, but as things was starting to look up I jumped over a huge hill, and as I was flying through the air, a giant horde of freakers appeared and I had managed to run into of the worst things, if not the worst thing the game has to offer. So as soon as I landed I started to haul ass but a few seconds later my bike started loosing speed and I glanced down at the fuel tank meter, and it was empty. I did the one thing that you should never, ever do, I didn’t pay attention to my fuel tanks needs. I threw down the bike as I could hear the freaker horde coming closer and closer and I started to run in a final attempt to maybe survive, and I ran towards the top of the hill I was currently on and there it was, a dead end. Hundred of freakers heading my way, no bike, I had weapons and ammo but I knew nothing would stop this insanity from going down, and for a second I worked out the only solution in a situation like this, I turned towards the end of the cliff, which also lead to certain death, and I jumped. I figured it was the most humane thing to do...
It is stories like that which makes or breaks the game for most people. For me personally this is the kind of things I look for in a game. How much the grabs you and pulls you in, how immersive the game can be. I started this review by writing about the different emotions this game evokes and it is things like this that throws you onto a roller-coaster of emotions. I love this game, I loved every second of it. Sure you can search on YouTube for Days Gone fails or glitches and get tons, and yes you can find multiple negative reviews of the game talking about it being to long and repetitive, but to me they are all missing the bigger picture. I for one salute SIE Bend Studio for their incredible work in creating a living, breathing world like Days Gone has. You shouldn’t compare a Sony exclusive to other games, this isn’t a Last of Us, this isn’t Uncharted, this is Days Gone. It is a standalone title, from a company that put their heart and soul into creating a game that captures the emotions of being stranded in a world that is out to get you so perfectly. Days Gone is one of my favourite games of 2019, there I said it..