Days Gone review for PlayStation 4
Disclaimer: Days Gone was provided by Sony for review purposes

Disclaimer: This doesn’t happen often, but I wanted to add another disclaimer for Days Gone because of an odd situation. During this review period Days Gone was patched three times by Sony developer Bend Studio. These patches substantially fixed game glitches/bugs and performance issues. So while I did experience jarring issues during my first 10 or so hours of the game (prior to patches), I’m going to take into account the bug and performance fixes Bend made, and how the current state of the game plays.

Story

Don’t worry, this review won’t get into any story specifics. I believe narrative-driven games are best experienced going in as a blank slate, and I will only touch on the story with vague details. In Days Gone you play as Deacon, a drifter bounty hunter who, as I’m sure you know by now, lost the love of his life. Deacon is a character I wasn’t intrigued by initially. His personality felt a bit generic and forced. However, after spending a lot of time getting to know his past and personality more, he grew on me. To me, Deacon is a character haunted by his past and dreads the future. He has a lot of layers, along with many characters introduced in the game. Acting is mostly up to snuff with other Sony first-party titles. Two characters, Rikki and O’Brain, in particular, stood out to me with outstanding acting performances.

When I jumped into Days Gone, I was expecting one linear story with side-stories to fulfill if I chose to do so (ya know, like a traditional open-world game). Things are a bit different than that. Days Gone has multiple story threads unfolding at once throughout its 40-50-hour story. This, sadly, is one of my main gripes. Having multiple main stories going at once can cause things to feel a bit disjointed and scattered. This will likely vary from player to player, depending upon what order you do main missions and side missions. I thought one of the main story threads was much more interesting than the others introduced. And unfortunately, it is sporadically revisited throughout the game.

Days Gone also does really cool things with a few characters and their relationship with Deacon. Ultimately, I was satisfied with where the story ended, even if it didn’t blow my socks off. Unfortunately, there were some great side-plots that didn’t blossom into anything special or significant. To add to that, the story seemed a bit long. I thought it was about to end multiple times, only to have hours of more dialogue to go.

Life of a Survivor

Days Gone has been compared to Sony’s other post-apocalyptic “zombie” game, The Last of Us, ever since it was revealed. Rightfully so, as the two games do share a lot of similarities in terms of aesthetic and gameplay. Days Gone‘s human-versus-human gameplay is shockingly close to that of The Last of Us — sneaking, crafting on the go, and combining firearms and melee combat. This style of play is prominent in Days Gone, and I have no complaints. Taking out an entire camp of bandits never got old for me.

Freaker hordes are where Days Gone feels the most like a unique experience. These moments are really intense and one of my favorite parts of the game. You stumble upon hordes mostly at random. When this happens, you have to choose to run and hide or take them on using the environments and whatever you can craft. Let’s just say explosives are your best friend in Days Gone.

The day-to-day life in the world of Days Gone is simply fantastic. Whether you’re ambushing bandit camps, doing bounties, or helping other survivors, it all works. The constant new environments, changing weather, and stories help make the world feel alive. The attention to detail in the world of Days Gone is very impressive. With environmental storytelling aplenty, every camp feels lived in and tells a story by itself. Traveling to the next destination isn’t just busywork like in most open-world games; it’s a key component to what makes Days Gone great, and I salute Sony Bend for achieving what many developers fail at.

…freaker hordes are dreadfully intense.

Throughout Days Gone you can upgrade Deacon and his bike. While the bike upgrades aren’t essential, they are fun to purchase. You can also upgrade Deacon’s health, focus, and stamina, which all come in handy with stronger enemies and hordes. Deacon also learns new skills along the way. Again, not many of them are essential, but they do keep things fresh and offer a sense of progression. Even after completing the game, there’s still lots for me to do in Days Gone, and I’m excited to jump in for more.

In terms of performance, as I mentioned in my disclaimer, the game does suffer from bugs and performance issues. While the occurrence of these performance bugs dramatically lessened throughout the review period, it does still chug in places. The frame rate dips and some wonky stuff happens every now and then. Oddly enough, most of the frame hiccups are present in a specific region of the game. Thankfully, nothing game-breaking ever happened to me.

Final Thoughts

Days Gone does a slew of different things and mostly succeeds at everything it attempts to do. While I’m not a fan of the way the story is presented, it was still an intriguing ride to take. Combat feels engaging and familiar, and freaker hordes are dreadfully intense. However, at the end of the day, the world of Days Gone is what stole the show. It’s beautiful, evolving, and full of chaos.

Release Date: April 26, 2019
No. of Players: 1 player
Category: Action, Survival
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Bend Studio

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Disclaimer: Days Gone was provided by Sony for review purposes

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Brett Medlock
Brett Medlock is Nintendo Enthusiast's Editor-in-chief. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll

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