Days Gone ran into a bit of a problem when it launched in 2019. The problem was that the game said Sony on the box, and PlayStation exclusives come with standards these days. Gamers expect big budgets and the accompanying production values, slick storytelling, and solid, but probably not revolutionary, gameplay. Above all, expect polish. Sony has striven to consistently deliver high-quality, narrative-driven single-player titles. Those titles may not be the deepest or best-playing games on the market, but they almost always play well enough and tend to do almost everything about their game better than most in the industry.
And then came Days Gone. The game was released to moderate reviews in 2019, but the PC version gives us a chance to re-evaluate it and based on my experience, I think people will be more positive about the game this time around. If you’re not familiar with it, Days Gone is an open world survival action title set in a post-apocalyptic Oregon that has been overrun by Freakers, the game’s term for zombies. Yes, Days Gone is a zombie game, but it’s one of those, a story about zombies that adamantly refuses to use that word as if it somehow made the game’s story less generic. It’s a terrible name and Days GoneUsing it should tell you a lot of what you need to know about game writing.
Days Gone The story tries a lot of things, some work and some don’t, and that’s fine, but what bothered me the most was the dialogue in the game, which is all over the place. Some of it is legitimately cool, but the same amount doesn’t land.”
Players fall into the cut of Deacon St. John, a biker who lost his wife when the world ended, and still insists on wearing his Mongrels MC cut as if patches and patches already mean something. A man must have a code. Deacon is friends with Boozer, his brother-in-arms from the old days, doing jobs for the local survivor camps, but not joining them. “Live for free, don’t join” seems to be the model of the couple, and it must be recognized that they have made it work until now. Deacon isn’t the most original character, but I enjoyed him and while (understandably) he starts off as a bit of a jerk, he gets better as the game progresses. Praise is also to be lavished on Sam Witwer, who gives an excellent performance.
If Deacon has a problem, it’s his utter inability to shut up. He is constantly talking to himself, and I mean constantly. Some of these cases work well, when you’re burning down multiple Freaker nests, for example, and a suitably flustered Deacon is trying to pull himself together or patting himself on the back for a job well done, but they can sometimes spoil the mood. , also. Pick up an item? Deacon will tell you that it is useful. Do something cool? Deacon has a joke. Get lost? Deacon is here to tell you what he needs to know. Listen to the crazy crazy survivalist on the radio? Deacon has to let him know how wrong he is, usually by yelling so loud that he resonates with the surrounding environment. Some of these are okay, and the last one is generally fun (and I hate those guys too), if a bit unrealistic, the sound draws Freakers in, so you’d think the last thing you’d want to do is scream.
Days Gone The storytelling is equally heterogeneous. It tries a lot of things, some work and some don’t, and that’s fine, but the thing that bothered me the most was the in-game dialogue, which is all over the place. Some of it is legitimately great, but most of it doesn’t land, largely because Days Goneit tries to emulate how people actually speak, pauses and repeats and all. Sometimes this works, but just as often it leads to awkward transitions where you can tell the dialogue is trying to offer exposition and ends up repeating the obvious or is serious and serves cheese instead. The other major storytelling issue is the game’s cutscenes, which feature black screens between transitions. It’s awkward, given how good the game looks and animates and how good the acting is, though it wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t so many cutscenes. It’s entirely possible to go from one scene to a scripted sequence to another scene without doing much as a player, and it can be a bit frustrating when you just want to play the game.
I’m not kidding when I say I spent a lot of time admiring how beautiful Days Gone is; it’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played, and while the updates Sony Bend made aren’t transformative, they easily make it the best version of the game.”