Game Reviews

Days Gone Review: In the saddle, in the nightmare

Days Gone is a post-apocalyptic undead themed single-player Survival. I write undead for simplicity, but it’s not about zombies at all. The title of Bend Studio was released on April 26 exclusively on PS4.

Catapulted into the crisis

Immediately we will be catapulted into the role of the protagonist Deacon, busy rescuing his wife Sarah from the riots in the city, helped by his brother-in-law Bouser.

Days Gone aims to spend the philosophy of “Bikers” within a post-apocalypse context. The result sees the emergence of a title very characterized and able to tell many new aspects of a very inflated genre such as the Zombie Survival.

Right from the first scene you realize how much history wants to follow paths unexplored in the genre, but without placing exaggerated emphasis on the subjects, which would only risk giving back a caricature of them. Bend Studio’s work opens up a fan of the scene and poses it gently before our very eyes, leaving us time to assimilate it and learn its essence.

Let me explain: The three of them, a few hours after the collapse of society, are armed and ready to fight for survival. They manage, not without patemas, to get an excellent opportunity to escape from the epicentre of the disaster, and they exploit it in their own way.

This introduction to Days Gone reminded me a lot of that at The Last of Us. Both stories tell of the explosion of the biological crisis in the city and the need to escape with loved ones. The two stories are rendered in a pressing way and with a cinematic slant that increases empathy for the performers.

They could be considered two chapters of the same book, where the difference is made by the lifestyle before the crisis.

The protagonists of Days Gone were fighters even before the disaster, only they had not yet had the opportunity to prove it fully.

Brotherhood and determination…

The plot that supports the title of Bend Studio is able to stir many feelings and destabilize many beliefs. First of all, it is a strong challenge to the stereotype of the violent and crude motorcyclist, which allows us to glimpse the incredible study of the category by the developer.

It is a real ode to the values of the globetrotting centaurs, who are indisputably based on brotherhood. The story told and reread through the eyes of the protagonists inherits a characterization that cannot leave the player indifferent.

I would dare a cinematic comparison describing the project as a mix between The Walking Dead (only in part) and Sons of Anarchy. The ideals and values adverse to the hostilities of a civilization in ruins.

Perhaps Days Gone can’t maintain the effectiveness of his story until the epilogue, and in some cases events seem forced to direct the story in a specific direction, but as a whole; the story is worth living.

The excellent Italian dubbing does not make us regret our birth certificate, even if in some cases, the protagonist exceeds in the verbal emphasis of some states of mind.

The nightmare and the bike…

In Days Gone is called “The Nightmare” all the land outside the camps of the survivors. The silent valleys and the post-apocalyptic landscapes infested by the infected, up to the outposts where the robbers settle to tend ambushes to passers-by. The word perfectly defines the danger of the surrounding area, where practically everything will try to kill us.

In addition to the screamers, in fact, we will find human beings who, in order to survive, plunder, kill and terrorise the other survivors. They are either simple armed manygolds or members of an extremist sect defined as “The Repugnants”. They are more dangerous because they are completely subjected to their belief of purification through pain.

Exploration will be the basis of our livelihood, and it will not be a mechanical or repetitive action to go from point A to point B as in many other exponents of the genre. The difficulties will be varied and will always generate different situations. Because at the center there is the cohabitation with one’s own motion, which like everything around it will wear out and require a lot of attention.

Some joy will have to be gained in order to carve out a new one.

Survival on the bike has many interesting aspects. Every journey between missions or supplies must be thought of according to the performance of the two-wheeled vehicle, so as not to run into difficulties even frustrating, especially during the first hours of play. The bike has two macro parameters to worry about constantly: Fuel and maintenance. The bike will consume a lot of fuel, and we will often have to stop to refuel the tank. While the wear and tear of the components will force us to always travel equipped with scrap to fix the damaged or broken elements and restart quietly.

Finding these two resources will be the basis of an “almost” safe exploration.

You or me?

Even the bike will receive updates to increase its performance and the distance covered. The progression is very similar to that of the protagonist, and can go and change the power, speed, noise until the installation of the N2o (NOS: Diazote Oxide).

Biological disaster

The great antagonist of the title of Bend are precisely the infected, most often called: Furious. Taken one at a time, they do not represent a great threat, but coming across a horde of dozens of elements on foot, is almost synonymous with defeat unless you know very well the area and some clever trick. The hordes are fast and not subject to consumption of vigor as the protagonist. So, if you do not find a way to slow down the wanderers somehow, it is only a matter of time. You don’t run away.

Surely the shooting system will not help!

Escape from the furious

The entire gun-play of the title is designed to be tied with double thread to the progression system branched into 3 macro-categories: Survival, Remote Weapons and Close Combat Weapons. The progression system is very simple and classic; the accumulation of experience will unlock points to spend in the skill tree.

In the early stages we will have some difficulties to unravel with the arsenal available! The aim will be very slow and the indicators approximate. You will necessarily have to spend some good skill points to facilitate the action. Logically, the more accustomed to the genre will have fewer difficulties, but still they too will have to gain good experience before mastering the system to perfection.

The shooting system is still credible in the context of the game. As the protagonist is certainly not a military man with experience in the use of weapons. The system sometimes woody can be understood as a balance with the story of Deacon St. John.

Hordes of Furious

If the shootings with hostile human beings will not be complicated to solve, thanks to an AI not always up to the task, you will have quite a few problems instead with the more numerous hordes of furious.

During the exploration we will often come across nests to be disinfected or moving hordes that can also count hundreds of elements. To eliminate the most numerous hordes you’ll need a lot of experience in combat, many explosives in inventory and a lot of patience. In addition, the location of the battle will be decisive on the outcome of the battle.

Fighting with hordes will gradually become easier once you learn a couple of tricks and understand well how the masses of roamers move. It’s clear that “easy” doesn’t exist when two hundred people are infected, but once you’ve gotten used to it you can also look for creativity in pest control.