This article was written by our newest contributor, Mike Harris. As his account is not yet set up at this time, I am posting on his behalf. Article was edited and formatted from a Facebook post.
So we’re a day away from release, but copies have been floating around out there in the wild and I do believe the embargo is lifting soon so may as well condense posts and discussion now.
So Days Gone, one of my more hyped titles for this year (as in like, top 5 of the year kinda hyped). There’s not really been all that much buzz about it. Marketing has picked up a little bit over the last month or so, but really Sony’s just kinda set this one out adrift in comparison to the big pushes that stuff like Horizon, God of War and Spiderman saw and I just don’t understand. I suppose maybe it is because it’s not attached to an already huge IP (as is the case with God of War or Spiderman) or they feel Sony Bend isn’t quite as notable a name as Guerrilla Games was (Horizon). I dunno, it’s just weird to see their first big first party title of the year treated this way.
Impressions from what I’ve read and watched have mostly been pretty positive. Praise for a lot of the survival elements, the open world, how just riding around and exploring still feels threatening. I actually really like that latter point because there’s a lot of open world games where for the most part you do feel pretty safe just driving or running around, and when enemies are present they typically are more a minor nuisance than something you have to worry about, save for wandering into some place with a really high level enemy or something along those lines. Red Dead has this to an extent as some of the wildlife can fuck you up pretty good, but I don’t think that’s even really quite on this level and you mostly feel at ease riding around on horseback.
I haven’t seen too much about the story, but I’ve also mostly tried to avoid anything that I feel could possibly spoil me on that front. Combat looks good, some cool melee weapons (I saw one video where Deacon makes something similar to a battle axe using a baseball bat and fucking circular saws) and crafting stuff/upgrades, guns all seem serviceable and customizable as well (I seem to recall seeing a muffler used as a silencer or something). Then of course you can use the horde to help you clear out enemy camps and shit and that’s pretty fresh and interesting.
All the stuff regarding your motorcycle is promising. In Easy Allies’s preview they mentioned being off their bike at one point and coming back and seeing someone tinkering with it, they killed the guy and then noticed that their bike was heavily damaged. You have to manage repairing it, upgrading it,
keeping it gassed up, you really kinda start to grow attached to it. Gameplay progression is a lot like some of the earlier GTA titles (or even GTA IV) or inFamous; you have the main story to work your way through and doing so will open up more and more of the world map, which apparently does get to be quite large, to explore. There’s side missions and stories you can work on, random encounters out in the wild, etc. I have seen some impressions mentioning things getting a bit repetitive at times, thought I’m not sure to what extent, but that is something that may be a mark against it for some if it ends up being true.
There’s different base camps run by different people with, presumably, their own stories and quests (though I imagine most are tied into the main story). These also apparently act kinda like bonfires in Dark Souls where you go there to replenish your ammo and gas and such. I don’t know if this is like Red Dead where you need to make donations and upkeep them to be able to resupply yourself or if going to one will always fully restock you, I think it may be the latter, which then puts the survival aspect more on how far out you’re willing to go and rely on what you can find further out from camp as you use up the supplies you brought with you. There are also fast travel points you can open up by clearing out the freaker nests in a given area. From what I can see these do not replenish your supplies if you travel to them, sort of a balancing feature I suppose.
The game does feature a day and night cycle, including a cute little “X Days Gone” counter on the map screen (I believe the game starts at 700 something Days Gone, referring to the time since the outbreak happened). There’s also weather such as rain, which makes moving around a bit more slippery but lends to easier stealthing around so it offers a chance to try out some different tactics. I wanna say that the game has different seasons, which could tie into story progression as well, mostly because there are definitely snowy areas, but that could also just be a specific area of the map. I’ve tried to avoid looking into things too much both to not color my own opinion and expectations, but also just to not spoil too much of the game for myself. I’m still not seeing where the comparisons to The Last of Us are coming from, there really just isn’t anything notably in common between the two besides “zombie” apocalypse. Nor do I really buy into the “just more of the same” complaint that’s popped up more recently. I think the game looks awesome and cannot wait to share my thoughts on it once I finally have it in hand this weekend.