Days Gone Review - The Last of Us and Far Cry had a baby who grew up on welfare

Boy, I wonder what he's looking at? I bet it's a new and inventive way to add a review score to this page?

Days Gone was a game that wasn't given a chance by anyone. From the second it was announced at E3 some years ago by Playstation, people across the internet had condemned it to be "just another zombie game". It never looked interesting, it wasn't going to be very good, it never wowed anyone, etc, etc. Press, commenters, anyone, it seems that no one truly had anything positive to say about this game.

It always rubbed me the wrong way because naturally I have a wait-and-see mentality and, sure, I thought it looked a little lacking as well and questioned why Sony decided to release another Zombie-inspired game when they already have The Last of Us, but they clearly must have believed in Bend Studios, so I was willing to give it a shot when it came out.

Well, the time came, the press reacted with a not-so-warm reception, and I finally got my hands on it to see for myself. And I have to say, I'm surprised. Surprised by the press reactions, because this game is fantastic.

The short sell. What is it?

Days Gone is exactly what the title says. The Last of Us and Far Cry had a baby. It's an open world stealth action title in which you fight huge waves of infected, groups of human enemies who utilize firearms ranging from sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, to melee weapons, animals like wolves(and infected wolves!), as well as special infected who are a lot tougher and faster. You complete fetch quests like "go here, kill person", sometimes you have to catch people by engaging in bike chases, you have to clear out so-called "ambush camps" in which there is a certain number of enemies that you must clear out which upon completion grants you a fast travel point you can use in the future, etc, etc.

It's a lot like a Far Cry game mixed with The Last of Us mechanics. You earn experience points that you can utilize on skill points across three categories, Survival, Ranged, and Melee skills. Survival skills allow you to increase the distance of your Detective Vision, pick up more crafting materials/plants/meat from the appropriate areas and the like. Ranged skills affect firearms and increasing their viability, and do things like increase ammo capacity, decrease reload time and the like as well as numerous other things. Melee skills increase melee damage, allow you to repair your crafted melee weapons, and allow you to stealth kill heavy enemies, and so much more.

You will spend the majority of the game riding around on a bike, which you will spend the entire game upgrading. It has things like a gas tank(Which WILL run out, so be careful), speed, traction, nitrous, and defense. You can purchase new parts for your bike by earning Trust at allied camps around the map, which you gain by completing missions for them(Go here, kill enemy, chase this guy on your bike, clear out this enemy camp, etc etc). There are three trust levels between each camp, but in order to get trust level 3 you must complete Hordes and that usually forces you to wait until most of the way through the game as they are quite difficult and require you to be highly equipped for such a task.

The story. It's not good. It's not bad?

You play as Deacon St. John. A biker. Two or three years after the apocalypse from a mysterious virus or something that turns people into monsters called Freakerz, yes, with a Z. Everyone is in agreement about this for some reason. You and your traveling companion called Boozer, or more often than not, just Boozeman, get into some trouble with a gang of Freaker worshippers called The Rippers and Boozer ends up injured, prompting Deacon to try and have to take care of his friend so he doesn't die. This the inciting incident of the game and sends everything off.

Deacon St. John is a biker man who lost his wife Sarah the night the virus went viral and he's been mourning her. Boozer encourages Deacon to let her go because she's dead and it's time to move on, but Deacon's a sad sap and protests.

Deacon takes jobs from other camps because that's pretty much the only civilization left. The big cities all went dead and now it's just these small camps left over. You've got Copeland's camp run by a "Black helicopters, don't take my guns, don't tread on me" anti-government type. The next camp you go to is the Hotsprings Camp which is actually a slave camp where you only eat if you work so going there was actually really uncomfortable. You see guards beating up workers for standing around all the time and it seems to be a really oppressive environment even though the people who run the place like you, because, you know, you don't live there and you do good work for them.

I don't want to dig too deep into the story because I'm going to be addressing some of it in my next topic, but the headline speaks for itself, the story isn't bad, but it sure as shit ain't good.

Disjointed Cutscenes

My biggest problem with this game is the cutscenes. They can only be described by what I can call "cutscene now". You walk up to an area, loading screen, cutscene plays, and loading screen out of them. There's no natural build up or natural progression of them, and a lot of them seem to just happen in such a way where they don't feel natural at all. It's really difficult to talk about without getting into spoilers, but there is a cutscene at the end of the game, right before the very last mission. You know what it is, it's the "YOU READY FOR THIS?" cutscene. The game is getting you hyped up for the end. But the thing is... there's this really "dramatic"(Yes, in quotations) thing that they try to do that falls on its face because of how the cutscenes are formatted in the game.

So you go to start the final mission, it's like "yo this is it, you're going to beat the game now, are you sure you're ready for this?" and then you're like "fuck yeah let's go man". But then it cuts to that familiar blackness of the loading screen. Then, immediately, with no build up, foreshadowing or anything, it immediately hits you with this bullshit "OH YEAH HERE'S A VERY QUICK DRAMATIC MOMENT THAT WE'RE GOING TO SPRING ON YOU". I'm pretty sure the only people who come to my website are bots from Indonesian medicinal scam sites, as per my google analytics data, but if you are real, you know that if I really really care about a game, I try hard not to spoil anything, which is why I'm doing my damndest not to spoil anything right now. I'd really like to say what the scene is, but because I like this game quite a bit, I can't. But I will say, the cutscenes like to come out of nowhere, and are stupid most of the time.

The most egregious being the scene I just described here at the end of the game, and the one at the beginning of the game where they do a flashback to when the virus first started spreading and Sarah, Deacon's wife gets stabbed and it's laughably bad. The narrative in this game isn't very good, to begin with, but the cutscenes, in particular, aren't handled very well.


The gameplay is incredible.

People were fucking wrong about this game. When I picked it up for myself I kept asking myself "So when does this game get bad? This shit is gnarly!". Now, there are issues. A lot of issues. The frame rate is complete dog shit at the weirdest times. The game will handle the largest hordes completely fine, but cannot handle you driving through an empty forest without lagging. I don't know why. I'm playing on a base PS4 but still, it happens even on the Pro.

There are some issues as well with the reticles in this game. Some reticles make it fucking impossible to shoot people in the head like the pistol reticle is complete shit. You'd aim right on their head from 3 feet away, not moving, and fire and the bullet will just whiff and miss somehow. It would be completely infuriating. I thought the shooting in the game was completely broken but then I picked up a gun with a different reticle and then I literally never missed. Eventually, I found a machine pistol and I kept making headshots even when I was sure that I missed, so that was great.

I played the game on hard mode, which was an incredibly rewarding way to play the game. It makes the power curve so much more of a struggle to manage, and so earning better firearms and melee weapon upgrades make you really feel like you're climbing a ladder. I remember struggling to manage a handful of Freakerz(Gotta remember that Z, cuz them Z's gonna remember you boiiiii), but eventually I was riding around tackling hordes with relative ease. In fact, there was a period of time at the very end of the game where I had managed to keep the very same melee weapon with me for about the last 30 hours of gameplay. I just kept repairing it, and never lost it. Which made me feel more badass.

The upgrades overall are fantastic in this game. You get better, do more, get better, do more. It truly is a ladder, but once you climb it the things below you become significantly easier. Again, I once had trouble with a handful of Freakerz, but at some point could take on a full Horde with just my Machinegun. Due to my upgrades and the powerful Machinegun, I didn't even need to rely on Napalm or pipebombs to fight, I could just stand and deliver.

Hordes. Bugs. Hordes again.

Yeah, so hordes are amazing. So amazing that I was left awe-inspired by them. The first time you see a Horde will not be in a mission. They aren't scripted. Out of all of the poor narrative design in this game when it comes to the story or the cutscenes, the hordes are probably the best design this game has ever seen. Because they were put exactly where they needed to be: Left for the player to discover on their own. That's the magic of the horde. The very first time you see one, it's going to probably be a different horde than the one another player saw, and not to mention the different circumstances of where and how you saw it, was it during the day? The night? Did you see them from afar? Did they ambush you? Did you get away?

First time I ever saw a horde it was amazing. There were so many of them. The game eases you into it too. You deal with Freakerz here, human enemies there. Handfuls at a time, no more no less. Then, holy fuck my nuggets WHAT IS THAT OVER THERE? A heaping mass of undulating screams, weaving and waving across the streets as they make their way to god knows fucking where, and there you are, almost out of fucking gas, and it's 11:37 PM. Way to go, Deek.

I came across a Horde next to a NERO camp. So I had to infiltrate this NERO camp all the while there were 500 fucking thousand undead motherfuckers waxing and waning around me and I had no idea what to do if they caught me. I had never even seen a Horde before. It was exhilarating. I got in, got one of my upgrades from the NERO Camp, unfortunately, I wasn't able to disable one of the speakers before I turned on the power, but it was far away so it actually drew the Horde away from me, and I was able to Fuel up my bike and I escaped. I loved every minute of this. It was so memorable and incredible. What an experience!

Unfortunately, though Hordes seem to be bugged out quite a bit. Every time I tried to fight a Horde it would stop recording my progress on them. See, a Horde has a certain number of Freakerz associated with them. You have to KILL ALL OF THEM to clear the Horde. It sounds easy enough. But, sometimes what will happen is the number will stop COUNTING down. So you'll actually kill the whole horde, but it will decide to stop counting after you get to the final 20% of them. And there's nothing you can really do but hope they respawn all of a sudden, or just leave and wait for the Horde to spawn again later.

This happened to me several times throughout the game. I cleared every single Horde in the game and I'd say, since I forgot how many hordes there actually are, just as an example, it happened 8 out of 10 times.

It was very frustrating. I really loved the Hordes in this game but this buggy shit made actually FIGHTING THEM annoying.

Final Thoughts

This game has infected kids. You can run around bashing infected kids to death with a baseball bat and that makes me so fucking happy you have no idea. Every other game is so afraid of infected children and they run away from that idea. Afraid of backlash, the online "mob", I don't know. Days Gone got criticism for it too because people are stupid. But this game lets you actually fucking run around bashing in infected kids' head in with a baseball bat and I respect Bend Studios so much for actually having the heart to show that their fucking virus actually affects children holy shit thank you so much.

This game is flawed but incredible. I hope this game gets a sequel because I look on this game a lot like I looked on a game like The Saboteur. A sequel would have ironed out so many issues and showed to everyone just how much of a fucking awesome experience this is, but instead, so many people are circlejerking each other over what the fuck a Metacritic score says, instead of actually seeing for themselves... even though this game has more positive scores than anything, but the internet is going to internet I guess. I just sure hope we get that sequel. I'd love to see a Days Gone sequel with slicker narrative direction and more ironed out mechanics and fewer bugs, maybe on PS5. Bend Studios outdid themselves with this game and they deserve all the best. I love this game and even though it is certainly not flawless, it is certainly a diamond in the rough.

Oh would you look at that, it is a new inventive way to add a review score! Boy ain't I genius. GOOD THING NO ONE FUCKING NOTICES.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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