Days Gone is the latest game that’s been released for PS4. Following the hype of single player action games where the player must survive against a horde of zombies, the title was expected to do well; it had earned a lot of hype before its release. Articles, blog posts, and social media have been all a buzz about the game and its impending release. Many fans were chomping at the bit to get their hands on the game and according to companies like GameStop, the preorders were through the roof. The day it was released, fans also swarmed their local video game stores to pick up a copy.
The game is also following a very successful line of blockbuster titles released by tech giant Sony. Following in the footsteps of Spider-Man, the God of War reboot, and Horizon Zero Dawn, fans were extremely excited to get their hands on Sony’s latest project. “They’ve been knocking games out of the park the last few years. We all just knew that Days Gone was going to be another blockbuster title. Plus the zombie apocalypse theme is really hot right now. Plenty of other franchises have done the theme justice but we all know that Sony can do even better,” fans tweeted.
Unfortunately, the game seems to have flopped almost immediately. Players called it “boring” and “lackluster.” Which is strange; you’d expect a game in which you’re fighting for your life and resources against hordes of zombies to be at least somewhat interesting. However, players insisted that not even the zombies could save it. They were quick to admit that the graphics were flawless, but that the story was uninteresting, unappealing, and just generally boring. Which when said about a Sony title sounds almost impossible.
What is Days Gone about?
Days Gone is set in a post-apocalyptic world just two years after a global pandemic. The game takes place in Oregon and there is near constant rain. Like many other zombie plots, the pandemic wipes out a significant portion of humanity and turns the others into mindless zombie-like creatures that hunt primarily at night. In the game, they are referred to as “Freakers.”
The game centers around Deacon St. John, who refers to himself as Deek for short, who is a former outlaw that’s turned drifter and moonlights as a bounty hunter. Deacon spends much of his time on the road rather than settling into permanent or even semi permanent wilderness camps. It was clear even from the very first trailers of the game that Deacon has a vendetta. And why wouldn’t he? A zombie game without a character that’s been personally effected and is now seeking revenge wouldn’t make much sense.
It’s revealed early on in the game that the main character was forced to separate from Sarah, his then girlfriend, when the outbreak hit. Since their separation, Deacon insists that he’s spent the last 700 days or so “simply surviving and nothing else” alongside his fellow biker and best friend, Boozer.
As the story progresses, the plot thickens a little bit. Deacon is trying to figure out what exactly happened to his girlfriend. He’s also trying to uncover the truth behind what he believes is a government conspiracy regarding the Freakers, and of course the various pockets of humans that have survived are also trying to figure out how to coexist in this strange new world. And of course, they’re not really doing very well at it. As you journey through the game, you’ll stumble across these story threads.
Features of the game
Days Gone is an action-adventure survival horror game that is single player. The game itself is open world, meaning that players can free roam the environment. It’s played from a third-person perspective so you’re given unbridled access to appreciate the world around you. And to also see danger coming hopefully before it gets to you.
Like previously mentioned, the player can expect to come across zombies, aka Freakers. And as if facing off against hordes of zombies isn’t bad enough, the Freakers are also quickly evolving. The two most common Freakers St. John faces are called Newts and Hordes. However, the pandemic isn’t only limited to humans; infected animals such as wolves and bears are also carrying the virus.
Throughout the game, there are multiple objectives that can be completed in a number of different ways, really giving the player full control over the game and decisions. You can make use of stealth abilities, long and short ranged weapons to accomplish your task. According to the designers, choices you make will affect the game in a number of manners. Sony also saw it fit to implement weather patterns into the game. There is also a day and night cycle. During the day, the Freakers are weaker, slower, and easier to pick off. They can easily be avoided or even outran. During the night, they’re much more mobile and stronger. Running into them will also guarantee combat.
In order to maneuver the terrain, St. John uses a motorcycle. And like any zombie apocalypse vehicle worth its salt, it’s been retrofitted. The speed, durability, and maneuverability of the bike have been significantly increased. As the game progresses, players are able to craft items to enhance features of the bike as well as improve their combat efficiency. There are also camps spread about the world where he can rest and regroup before going back out into the wilderness. This is also where you’ll craft your items, purchase goods, and make enhancements.
The game also has a number of impressive details and well-thought out little features. Close attention has been paid to even the most minute of details and the game is stunning visually as well as massive. There are snowflakes that will fall from the sky when it’s cold, piling up on the ground to really give the player the feeling that they’re actually in this world. Human characters within the game have also been meticulously crafted; they have just the right amount of weight and sheen to them, making them hyper-realistic. Even the spiked bats that flutter around have blood-spatters that are incredibly detailed. The world itself looks very real, has history and thought behind, and it’s incredibly large. According to the designers, you can get at least 30 hours of game play out of Days Gone but much, much more if you’re a roamer and like to explore.
When the game is paused, you’ll also see how many days it’s been since the outbreak, which in our opinion, is a pretty cool feature.
Putting faith in Sony
What sets Sony apart from so many other companies out there is the fact that Sony remains one of the last bastions of support for story-driven titles; most publishes have phased into live-service games, which are far more lucrative. So once word got out that the company was developing an immersive first person game that’s plot driven, people were quick to jump on the bandwagon. “They’re known for their graphics and their intense story lines. Sony puts out games that are different from all the others; you actually get invested in the characters, the story, and the world. It becomes more than just a game. We all had hope that Days Gone would be another successful title in Sony’s long list of fantastic games,” fans said.
Days Gone promised buyers killer graphics and a rich, engaging storyline. People bit into the promise hook, line, and sinker. So when the game was released and people discovered that the storyline wasn’t as great as what they had originally though, many were left disappointed and desperately wanting something more.
Is it really that bad?
Given the graphics, the storyline, and the fact that Sony is producing it, it’s hard to believe that the game is as bad as everyone is claiming it is. Unfortunately, nobody has had anything positive to say regarding the storyline. Many refer to the game as a “yikes on bikes”, a “snore fest”, and others say that if the zombies don’t kill you, boredom will. Ouch!
According to critics, the problem with the game is that it’s all tied to one seriously generic, overdone zombie story. “It relies too heavily on the storyline to move you through the game and since it’s such an overdone theme, it ends up playing out just like the other dozen zombie games that predated it. You’re paying $60 to play something you’ve likely already played numerous times. There’s nothing unique about it really.”
Critics are also quick to point out that that Sony is capable of doing better. “Where it really falls apart for me is the fact that Sony is capable of doing so much more. Look at The Last of Us. This was another ‘generic’ post-apocalyptic zombie narrative, but Sony transformed it into so much more. They took it into really interesting and new directions. We were engaged and we were connected with the characters. The graphics were also beautiful and the world was huge; we were expecting something similar from Days Gone and instead we got a game that’s just like every other zombie franchise before it.”
Others are also blown away by how dull the game is. “It’s the end of the world! You expect to feel some sort of pressure, intrigue, or at least interest but instead it’s incredibly bland and boring. It’s almost impressive how boring Sony made the end of the world feel with this game.”
In regards to the stories that unfold as you progress through the game, critics insist that the bulk of these are unoriginal and uninteresting. “You spend a lot of time exploring and when you unlock a new piece of the storyline, you expect to be rewarded for your hard work. Instead, you’re given this overdone story. It’s also easy to predict what’s going to happen to a lot of the main characters. And because the storyline is so bland, you don’t really get attached to them so you don’t care either way.”
Not even zombies can save it
Those who have played the game insist that not even the zombies can save you from boredom. “It’s almost like it’s too little too late with the hordes of zombies. Sure, they’re fun to fight against, especially at night, but they don’t really breathe much life into the game. You’re still left with a bitter dude as your main character and a bland storyline. Not to mention it’s all very predictable. Within the first few minutes of meeting a new character, I can already tell if they’re going to live or die. And since they’re not very ‘fleshed’ out so to speak, I don’t really care if they do or don’t,” argue critics.
Despite the less than positive reviews and harsh critiques the game has garnered, many insist that it isn’t bad. “It’s not a bad game at all; it’s very well done. Unfortunately, it’s just boring. If they would have done something more with the plot and focused on making it less generic, you’d easily have a game of the year on your hands. They spent all this time on the weather system and even rocks and leaves have shadows. The most insignificant things that the average player probably won’t even notice have been painstakingly rendered. I just wish they would have invested that same level of care into the storyline,” say some.
GamesRadar insists its worth
GamesRadar is one of the giants when it comes to video game reviews. A lot of people turn to this website when deciding whether or not it’s worth buying. Many expected GamesRadar to rip Days Gone apart, but the website gave the “scrappy but satisfying adventure” game a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Not necessarily a high rating, but it’s definitely above average.
The website also reviewed the pros and cons then dissected the game in length after a thorough play through. According to the website, the pros of the game include: the beautiful graphics, the open-ended zombie survival, and remarks that the zombie hordes are impressive. Even in negative reviews, critics are praising these as well. “Nobody’s saying the game isn’t beautifully constructed or that the zombies aren’t cool; we’re just saying the storyline is dull and we can’t get caught up in it.”
As far as the cons go, GamesRadar also noted the plot line was a little lacking. “The story is messy; especially at the beginning. It doesn’t really make sense and you’re just kind of thrown in with little to no introduction. It untangles itself a bit throughout the game play though,” the website says. According to GamesRadar, the game also has a lot of minor bugs. “They’re not really a big deal but when you consider the fact that this game was delayed for a year, you don’t expect to stumble across the number of bugs that we did. They don’t affect game play or the storyline for the most part, but they’re distracting.”
What are your thoughts?
If you’ve picked up the game and played, let us know what you think. Do you find the plot to be as boring and bland as many insist or do you think the general public is just expecting too much? And if you haven’t picked up the game, do you plan to? If you don’t plan on getting the game, is it because of the less than stellar reviews or is it because it’s something that just doesn’t appeal to you? If you’re planning on getting the game will you buy it new or wait for it to go on sale knowing what others have said about it? Let us know in the comments below!