Developer: SIE Bend Studio
Platform Played: PS4 Pro
Completion: Story Completed
Hours Played: ~44
Review Read: ~10mins
When I first witnessed the nerve-wrecking E3 gameplay trailer of Days Gone in 2016, I was more than confident that it would be a game definitely worth playing. On the first booting of the game three years later, I was introduced to a 2-minute load time. That load time was a bad omen, but thankfully, as much as other reviews out there are saying how much of a rough ride Days Gone has been, it’s not all that bad.
Still, the loading screens are an aspect of the game that can be improved – Everytime I decide to boot Days gone, I will have to go through this 2-minute loading screen to get to the menu screen. And then it’s another loading screen that gets me into the game. So when you boot up yours, make full use of that time to open a cold one or head to the bathroom.
As many game critiques have mentioned, this game is REALLY BUGGY! You’re this Harley-Davidson-ish biker named Deacon St. John who was separated from his wife when a virus hit Oregon, mutating the majority of the population into Zombie-like beings called Freakers. Only that these Freakers come in various types with human-like habits. They sleep, they eat, and they migrate in hordes from one place to another to find food. You get to use your motorcycle to travel around, just like any other biker. One of the scariest game bugs you can every encounter is a horde appearing out of nowhere in front of you while you travel just because the game failed to render this huge crowd of Freakers on time. You will also experience a number of texture pop-ins, out-of-sync or missing sound effects that require you to restart the game entirely, or even missing buttons that are game-breaking. These bugs, although numerous in types and frequency, happens usually at the beginning of the game. If you take the effort to play through the story and do some side missions about 5 to 10 hours in, you’ll notice much less of these bugs happening.
One thing Days Gone can prove to gamers is that if you have a riveting story and a forgiving checkpoint system, people wouldn’t mind playing through. Days Gone is filled with compelling characters that are well-written; sometimes the game doesn’t even need dialogue – They have an animation team that works wonders with their facial expressions. It’s a feel-good story in a feel-bad setting in a feel-bad game polish. When the game picks up in its plot, I forgave how unpolished the game was many times just because I wanted to finish the game through and see through the happiness of Deacon St. John.
You will meet many characters in your journey on the road. I couldn’t believe myself when I was so supportive of the game’s protagonist ,Deacon St. John. He’s a drifter that just wants to get by but he has a good heart. Every stare from him to someone else conveys information and emotion that even words cannot describe. You root for him even though he’s rough sometimes because you know deep inside he has a soft heart that wants the best for everyone. His times reminiscing of his wife are some of the most tender and heart-wrenching moments you will actually experience as a gamer. And when the stakes get higher, you’ll just want to root for him to rise up to leadership even when he as a character does not want to. In a world where even the living cannot be trusted, you don’t just understand that Deacon does not trust a certain character; you actually understand why he doesn’t even when he does not explicitly express it. And when he doesn’t, you’re in it with him – You don’t either.
His friend Boozer is also a special character that I will hold dear to my heart. You will be introduced to him right from the get-go, and you would care for him as much as you do Deacon. You know that out of everyone on the journey of Days Gone, he is the most reliable and would stick to you like a brother. He’s supportive of everything you do and you’d hope to God he doesn’t die through the game. You can totally tell the team at SIE Bend Studio really put a lot of heart into both Deacon and Boozer. Their relationship makes the whole story one that of brotherhood through and through.
Of course, there will be other characters that you would be introduced to, and it’s up to you to decide if they should be trusted. To talk about them in-depth is to spoil the magic of your 40-ish hours in the road of stories involving community, ideology, religion, betrayal, and forgiveness. Every mission in Days Gone puts you on edge in a way where every character’s fate is uncertain, and that’s all part of the effort to build a world where it’s not just one to be feared and be wary of, but is one of wonder and hope. To put it in short, I’d treat Days Gone like a Last of Us version of Grand Theft Auto with a little bit of unpolish, and you’ll just about be there.
Days Gone is a game that has a strong plot – Their writing is stellar but is mired by the lack of polish from the game with tonnes of glitches and bugs. The game is, however, also proof that if you have a story that people would be hooked to, those glitches and bugs can be forgiven. I won’t be surprised if you would talk to someone about this game and they would call it a masterpiece; adversely, I won’t be surprised too if you would talk to someone about this game and they would say that the game is broken till its unplayable.
For me, it was well-worth the hype.
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