Days Gone – Review in Progress

After announcing Days Gone to the world, it caught everyone’s attention. Every trailer released brought in more hype and who can blame them? Gamers are such experts when eliminating zombies. But not Freaks.

Yes, they eat a ton of flesh but in game, nobody calls them zombies but freaks. Probably because they eat their own kind, can open fucking doors and can run like there’s no tomorrow. If they spot you, it screams and it’s like a homing device for other nearby freaks making you their next meal. These screams are so disturbing since it sounds like someone else’s growling stomach when they haven’t eaten in days. Anyway, there are a few types of freak out there and will be posting a guide about that soon but it kinda reminds me of those zombies (mutated ones) in Left for Dead given the similarities of some of their abilities. But it’s too early to tell as I have not discovered them all yet.

You will play as Deacon St. John an ex-military man who retired in Farewell, Oregon. Met his wife, Sarah Irene Whittaker and his brother Boozer, also real name is William. But due to the pandemic that devoured cities and humanity, all hell broke loose. The three of them rush to the nearest evacuation point but along the way, Sarah got stabbed by a panicked teenager making her life hanging by a thread. As soon as they reached the site, they were met with another problem as the chopper is overweight and can only take two civilians. Deacon or Deek made a crucial choice by letting Sarah leave with the chopper to get the medical attention she urgently needs and staying behind with an injured Boozer to survive this horror. Now 2 years have passed and they have driven out from Farewell and drove down to the North West part of Oregon to pick up what was left from the pandemic and to mourn Sarah’s death.

Time and weather of the day play a very significant role in this game. Freaks are more active during the night, rainy and snowy weather. When you drive around at night, there are more freaks scattered about than during the day. Don’t fret as they can’t get to you as long as you ride on your bike but don’t let that get your guard down. This game literally has little candy surprises here and there. So I was going to a location at night and I wasn’t worried since of course, I was riding my bike. I spotted a few freaks called swarmers, who will relentlessly run after you if they spot you, and I just didn’t really mind the numbers. My bike at that time had low tier parts so it was pretty noisy and instantly got spotted. I simply went through the crowd and out of nowhere a swarmer lounged at me and knocked me off my bike! Goddamn! That swarmer must have been a footballer in his previous life! There I was knocked out in the middle of hungry swarmers with really low gear and I had to fight them with my life! There is absolutely no shame in running away which I did by the way during this time because I couldn’t take them all down but you see, you can never leave your bike behind especially when you are still building those camp credits.

Why is that bike so important, you say? That bike that Deacon drives around is not just another iconic item alongside his brassy character but it is only when you are near your bike, or a bed, that you can save your in game progress. There are other rogue bikes out there that you can use and drive around but you will not have the ability to save your game. It’s only your bike as well that you can upgrade its parts to make it less noisy, withstand damage, carry ammo and add stunning visual effects. Believe me when I tell you that this bike of his might be your salvation in running away from hordes or could be the cause of your death.

What I find really unique about the game are the Encampments and the way you earn their trust and camp credits. You see, each camp will have its own trust level and credits. Each region is assigned to a camp so if you bring them their requested bounty target, track, and clear enemy camps and finding a missing person from their respective camps. Depending on which area and who gave that mission, that specific encampments trust, and camp credits increase. No camps will have the same trust level and camp credit and individually offers unique gun trade and motor parts. Personally, I like to survive and found out that this certain camp has a better set of guns and motor parts which I decided to focus on his area and clear out as many camps and jobs as possible.

This part of Oregon has a really lush environment with a balance of thriving wildlife and death, I find it better to travel in the morning as they are few freaks around but still keep an eye out on human enemies as they like to ambush you with a clothesline or shoot your bike to damnity. Anyway, driving around as I played in a regular PS4 brings displeasure in all senses. Frame rate drops every so often and disturbs gameplay, especially when you are chasing down a bounty hunt. Probably not a problem with the folks who are using PS4 Pro but the devs should look into this as it is pretty cumbersome as you always do field work and traveling around is a necessity. Sure you can fast travel but scavenging for crafting materials is quite necessary as they cannot be bought in encampment shops.

Crafting in this game is not as daunting as to how I imagined it would be. Early game you will have the ability to craft bandages which only gives you minimal health regeneration. Along with the storyline, as you clear out different camps, you will have the ability to create other concoctions and other useful weapons like molotovs, smoke grenades and pipe bombs. Melee base weapons such as a plank of wood and a baseball bat can be picked up and upgraded to something even better. With the right skill tier upgrade, you can upgrade a baseball bat to a more deadly weapon by combining it with a saw mill and scrap. This deals massive damage to incoming enemies and literally, you can see their face falling off or their heads rolling.

The battle mechanics for Days Gone is a combination of hack and slash, sneak attacks and your regular rain-them-down-with-bullets kind of approach. Deacon has this ability to use Focus whenever he uses a ranged weapon. While aiming your gun or crossbow, press down R3 and thus activates focus. This ability gives Deacon a few seconds to steady his gun and accurately aiming to take down enemies. This is quite helpful if you want that headshot or to get your bearings and think of a split second plan if you are running low on ammo. This ability can be increased over time which significantly lengthens the time for you to use focus and how fast it can regenerate.

The storyline is a mixture of mundane and emotional effect. Remember when I mentioned that Sarah is dead? Well for Deacon, he hopes that she is still out there and is leaving no stone unturned until he finds her. Practically everyone is telling him he is chasing a ghost but even after these years he still believes she somehow survived. Now that is the emotional effect. The mundane part is where you are obligated to finish Jobs for these different encampments. The story won’t progress unless you complete them. Although these are necessary for earning trust and camp credits, I find them irrelevant as these jobs are repetitive in nature but with a different name and circumstance. There’s not really much a side mission but I can’t really progress the main story as much as I’d like to.

Overall I am quite optimistic that this game will bring not only screeching terror but a remarkable story just waiting to be unveiled. So stay tuned for my full review!

DisclosureThis review is based on a review code provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. A final score will be given in the final review. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.
Tested on: PS4