Being a motorcycle enthusiast myself I was looking forward to getting stuck into Days Gone, and for the most part it came through on top.
Set in a post zombie apocalypse world you are Deacon St. John, a really likeable member of a bikie club who has an incredibly strong dark side. Some moments you’re laughing with him and others you’re baffled by how he could commit such acts. Riding with your buddy Boozer, you have a home base hidden in the majestic woods that provides a safe haven when you need to regroup, craft items or just top up your hog.
It’s at your home or other bases that you’re able to access your Weapon Safe. Unfortunately, each weapon you pick up does not get added to your safe but only the ones you buy. Once you begin to start exploring the other bases in the area you begin to unlock particular upgrades and different weapon modifications which can come in handy as you travel the lonely roads and complete your missions.
One of the weapon aspects that I found quite helpful in hoard situations was the modification you can make to your crossbow. You’re able to craft specific arrows which have the remnants of the zombie hives and when shot at one it draws all the other zombies toward them. You can also use these in a situation where you’re fighting other humans and draw the zombies on to them and watch back and see them get torn apart. I found that feature to be quite cool and macabre but, in a survival-based game it’s always nice to be able to conserve your ammunition and let the enemies turn on one another. The durability of your weapons is also a cool factor, things don’t last forever and it’s great to have the challenge of your weapons falling apart of just breaking after using them too much.
The game does have a beautiful horde style in its open world which can be fun and scary at the same time. There are some semblances of other games that DG feels like, which made me question certain parts of the game. The story gets quite thin before the second act and it seems like you’re completing tasks which end up feeling quite repetitive but for the most part you’re engaged for up to 30+ hours.
“Freakers” as they are named in this version of a zombie shooter, are a worthy adversary. Alongside human enemies they can chase and mess you up pretty bad. As I played through, I thought I’d be safe on my motorcycle, however it turns out I was wrong. Thinking I could just ride past them and they wouldn’t bother me was a foolish mistake. They jump, drop and gather to take you off your bike and just mulch you alive. You’re introduced to massive herds quite early on, so you can figure out how to either avoid or destroy them.
Maintaining your motorcycle is a large part of the game because it’s your only mode of transportation. Constantly being topped up with spare parts to repair as you go along adds the complexity. Keeping an eye on your fuel levels is a must-do and thankfully the way the HUD is set up allows you to do that easily. This is also handy because your fuel levels are taken into consideration when you want to fast travel. Based on the distance to the base that you’d like to fast travel to the game takes this into consideration along with your fuel levels and if you don’t have enough then you can’t use that function. It was quite easy to max out the bikes upgrades early on, making quite a rock-solid machine. Being able to mow down the Freakers was always at the top of my list but the degradation it took on my bike showed, so I had to find alternatives to deal with this menace
On the positive side I still found parts that I liked. The riding mechanics did feel really smooth and after a while it’s nice the way the bike moves. Sliding and speeding around in the dirt, avoiding the Freakers while trying to pay attention to humans that string up a rope across the road that can close line you to the ground in a second. Jumping back to a controller after playing PC games for a while was a smooth transition with this title. The shooting mechanics feel nice but it is surprisingly easy to be able to nail headshots straight away. It has been a long time with games that the touch pad has been utilised but Days Gone has a nice smooth menu that allows you to use the touch pad to navigate your map, story missions, skill trees etc.
Although the story and concept are fairly unoriginal, the game is quite enjoyable. It takes parts and mechanics from other games and stitches them in. The maintenance and re-fuelling of your bike is a nice touch but always seems like you could just strap a jerry can to the back of it so you’d have fuel all the time. At the beginning I found myself grinding away to upgrade my bike and weapons and it all just seemed so easy. I was really looking forward to a challenge with Days Gone, but I really didn’t find it. There seems to be some real glitches in the first few hours and they seem to iron out eventually, but for a $60+ game they really felt overlooked.
Overall I think the game is still fun to play, it has it’s faults but is still a really great solo type game. I didn’t find it particularly challenging in a post apocalyptic world to find resources or weapons which sometimes took away from the battles because I had so much ammo and powerful upgrades. The music and audio for me rivalled Red Dead Redemption 2. The beauty of riding with a striking country track in the background made the immersion much more enticing, and as you got into the different circumstances the music would elevate the gameplay to another level.
Review copy provided by PlayStation Australia