After spending 7 years in development, Days Gone has arrived on the PlayStation 4. First shown at E3 2016, Days Gone grabbed my attention and continued to do so as it was shown for the next two years at E3 event. Developer and first party Bend Studio are known for making narrative driven games, which include Syphon Filter and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
As a fan of the Syphon Filter series and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I was excited to see what they could do with their first game on this generation of consoles. And, after spending two weeks with the game—I’m happy to say that Days Gone is everything I was hoping it would be.
However, it’s not without some issues. Strangely enough, Days Gone lacks the AAA polish that we normally see with Sony Interactive Entertainment published games. Let’s take a closer look at this latest PlayStation exclusive.
Days Gone Details
Platform: PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: SIE Bend Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A story of survival, suspense, and determination
Days Gone is set in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and takes place two years after a global pandemic. Billions of people have been killed and others have been turned into mindless zombie-like creatures known as Freakers. The game is centred around and tells the story of Deacon St. John, his wife Sarah and his brother Boozer.
The story begins by taking us back to the early days of the global pandemic and the chaos that ensued one fateful night. Trying to escape from Freakers, Sarah is injured when she tries to help what she thought was a young child. After being stabbed, Sarah’s health quickly deteriorates. Deacon and Boozer stumble upon a medevac helicopter, though it only has room for two passengers.
Not willing to leave Boozer behind, Deacon makes a promise to Sarah that he and Boozer will find her no matter where she is taken to. Almost immediately, you feel a connection between all three characters. And, as you partake on Deacon’s journey more and more of the back story between Deacon and Sarah is told. The story between Boozer and Deacon also takes a few twists and turns when Boozer’s arm gets injured early on in the game.
Though, Days Gone is not just about these three characters. In fact, there are multiple story lines going on over the 30-hour journey. I found that after 5-10 hours of gameplay, the story really started to pickup, and I was genuinely interested to see what happens next.
Riding and surviving the broken road
Days Gone offers a linear open-world experience where your motorcycle plays a big part of your journey. It is your main mode of transportation and keeping it in tip top shape is a priority. Driving and controlling your bike feels spot on and the rush you get when trying to outrun a horde of Freakers is awesome.
Surviving in a post apocalyptic world isn’t easy. And, as such, you’ll need to craft weapons, manage your ammunition wisely, and keep track of the amount of fuel you have in your tank. You’ll find various different items in journey that will help you craft items and repair them including beer bottles, rags, kerosene and scrap.
I can’t really say that I had any issues finding items that I needed, or really ever ran out of scrap to fix up my bike. Additionally, you come across a number of settlements that allow you to earn credit by doing jobs for them. In turn, for doing these jobs, you can upgrade your bike, buy better weapons and add attachments like silencers to your guns.
Combat wise, Deacon can hold a main weapon, side arm, special weapon, and melee weapon. Additionally, you also have throwable items such as rocks, smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails at your disposal. Furthermore, you have a stamina bar that depletes as you either run from enemies or doge their attacks by rolling.
While Days Gone gameplay isn’t innovative by any means, at times it can be repetitive, I liked that it isn’t overly complex. Things are straight forward and gave me a feeling of familiarity. While some may see this as a negative, I found it comforting.
Richly detailed environments
Days Gone uses the Unreal Engine 4 to power its visuals. And, let me tell you, it looks absolutely beautiful! The environments are richly detailed and the game’s day and night cycle provide some truly stunning lighting. Additionally, the game’s dynamic weather system is a sight to behold.
When the weather changes, the entire mood of the game changes. For example, as a rain storm approaches, trees and bushes sway in the wind and lightning fills the sky. With that being said, as impressive as a rain storm is, I’d have to say snowfall is more impressive. The way in which the snow falls looks extremely realistic and its gradual change of the landscape is impressive. In a matter of minutes, the road or a broken-down vehicle gradually covered in snow.
For the most part I played Days Gone with a set of headphones, and within minutes was impressed by the game’s ambient sounds. From birds chirping, to Freakers growling, to the sound of water running in a stream—it’s all very impressive. Even when you are carrying a gas can to fill up your bike’s tank, you can hear the gas sloshing around inside.
As much as I enjoyed playing Days Gone, its performance issues are very noticeable. During my two week time with the game, a few patches were released that fixed issues with sound drop out, jobs not completing and so on. However, the game still suffers from performance issues—mostly while riding your bike.
I played on my PlayStation 4 Pro and even with all the patches, I randomly encountered the game stuttering. At one point, the game actually froze for a split second. Additionally, bushes and vegetation frequently pop in at a fairly close range. Sometimes, things like graffiti on the side of an abandoned building pop in.
As a result, it feels like Days Gone is missing that extra AAA polish that Sony games always have. I’m hoping that Bend Studios can resolve or minimize these performance issues in the future with patches. As it stands, at the time of writing this review, they are still present.
Days Gone is a good game that his hampered by some performance issues
Days Gone is a good video game that if had a little more time to bake in the oven could have been a great one. That’s not to say that I don’t like the game or wouldn’t recommend it but just feel like it needed a bit more time in development to polish things up. All things considered, Days Gone offers a mostly enjoyable experience with a strong narrative and solid gameplay.
You can expect to spend about 30 hours to complete the main story, and another 10-15 hours of content in side missions. Bend Studio should be applauded with what they accomplished in Days Gone, it’s pretty impressive. I’m looking forward to the free DLC releasing in June, which includes a new difficulty mode and additional challenges.
Let me know in the comments section below if you picked up Days Gone and what you think about it.
+ Beautifully detailed environments worth exploring
+ Familiar survival horror gameplay
+ Intriguing storyline and characters
+ Superb ambient sounds
+ Great amount of content included
– Performance issues
– Gameplay can be repetitive at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF DAYS GONE
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5