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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

[Review] ‘Days Gone’ on PC is the Best Version of the Divisive Post-Apocalyptic Action Game

I didn’t have a Playstation 4 when Days Gone was initially released in 2019, but the idea of an open-world zombie apocalypse game made it land on my radar regardless, so I was excited to get my hands on its new PC port. I went into Days Gone with fresh and high expectations, and for the most part, it lived up for the anticipation that I’ve bided for the past year and a half while also falling short on a couple of crucial elements. 

Days Gone begins in media res, throwing you directly into the chaos being wrecked by the undead (termed Freakers) before skirting ahead a couple of years into the zombie apocalypse. The Pacific Northwest is a misleadingly beautiful hellscape full of Freaker nests, hungry wildlife, and desperate killers. Luckily, you take the role of tough-guy Deacon St. John, an Oregon biker who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to survive.

Before diving in and exploring the Freaker infested woods of Oregon, I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few accessibility options. These included the ability to toggle additional and easier to read visual cues, simpler control options, and an auto-complete QTE option that is sure to make a lot of lives easier. Six different difficulty settings are also available from the start, giving players plenty of control to tailor the gameplay experience to their personal needs. Additionally, while I don’t have the newest gaming PC with updated specs, I was delighted with the game’s performance on its default settings. The world of Days Gone is quite expansive, has varying weather patterns, and is packed with enemies. Yet, I experienced absolutely no framerate or graphical issues, providing a smooth ride the entire time.

The most compelling gameplay element of Days Gone is that it stands proudly in the open-world genre, having been clearly inspired by strong aspects of its open-world predecessors. Gliding around the hilly trails of Oregon on Deacon’s motorcycle feels very thrilling, especially when you’re narrowly dodging bullets, chasing down bounties, or evading the grasps of Freakers. As you explore, side-quests and optional objectives will frequently pop up, such as hostage situations or Freaker nests that need exterminating. If you grow tired of biking across the map, a fast-travel option becomes available as well (provided your bike has enough fuel for the journey). While the environment may not be the most interesting to explore, it’s very dynamic and picturesque (despite, y’know, the occasional corpse). 

During the early parts of the game, you will inevitably be sneaking around Freakers and enemy camps until you obtain powerful killing alternatives. I’m a big fan of sneaking around in the Elder Scrolls series, so I felt right at home keeping in the shadows to unleash devastating sneak attacks on unsuspecting victims. The sneak element of the game is prevalent, with some missions of the main story requiring you to keep a low profile and spy on enemies, which I immediately knew would be hit-or-miss depending on the player. While enemies aren’t exactly seasoned killers, they are somewhat intuitive, following noises and light that you produce, and I had fun using rocks and traps as diversions to slip around.

Eventually, you’ll gain experience points that give you access to new skills and status upgrades. My favorite skill was Focused Shot, which allows you to slow down time for a brief moment while aiming, similar to using the bow-and-arrow in midair in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Days Gone does an excellent job of keeping the action unobstructed. Instead of pausing for things like switching weapons, crafting new items, and using healing items, it’s all utilized within seconds via an action wheel that slows downtime or button shortcuts. At one point early on, when a swarm of Freakers suddenly ambushed me, I was able to sprint away, craft three Molotov cocktails, and lob them their way within seconds, unscathed, which is a testament to how easy it is to pick up on the controls and mechanics.

While Days Gone certainly excels in visuals and gameplay mechanics, it, unfortunately, falls short in keeping it interesting and fresh as the hours tick by. While there is a main quest to complete, the story never truly reaches a compelling depth. There aren’t many characters to be invested in, and the ones you meet end up being pretty one-dimensional. Deacon’s quippy one-liners gave me a chuckle now and then as I nailed headshots on Freakers. Still, it starts to feel a bit tedious traveling long distances to watch a quick cutscene or take out an entire enemy camp just because Deacon was ordered to by a transient character. It is certainly a slow burn—the most significant plot twists and the full extent of the combat elements end up buried beneath hours and hours of tedious missions. 

The result is a game that feels more fun to jump in, complete a couple of missions, then call it a day. The novelty of things like upgrading Deacon’s motorcycle, buying new weapons, and exploring skill trees only lasts so long, and a story that can keep you gripped for the entire 30+ hours it takes to complete the game is hard to find at times. I found myself playing in short intervals because my attention span was getting lost in the woods as I drifted through them between long, repetitive missions and having to retrieve more gas between stops. 

Despite its shortcomings, Days Gone is a great addition to any PC gamer’s library. The abundance of missions guarantees that you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck—whether or not you stick it out all the way through comes down to how much the gameplay keeps you invested. 

Days Gone review code for PC provided by the publisher.

Days Gone is out now on PS4 and PC.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/video-games/3666665/review-days-gone-pc/

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