Days Gone
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Roam around a post-apocalyptic Oregon as Deacon St. John, an ex motorcycle club member trying to survive the aftermath of a virus outbreak that turned the population into violent zombie-like creatures. Deacon lost his wife during the outbreak and the game picks up two years later as he goes on a crusade against the Freakers, bandits, and everyone else who gets in his way. While Days Gone features most of the cliches found in other open-world titles its compelling story, nailbiting combat, and beautiful environments make it worth playing through. It is also filled with enough additional content to keep players coming back for more.

Gameplay: With a large, beautiful map to explore and plenty of missions as well as sidequests there’s always something to do in Days Gone.

Graphics: The game looks incredible on PC and is filled with a lot of detail as well as really good mocap performances.

Sound: Sam Witwer steals the show as the voice of Deacon St. John, but the rest of the cast also delivers stellar performances and the rest of the audio lives up to expectations

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Days Gone

Developer: Bend Studio | Publisher: PlayStation PC LLC | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: 3rd Person Action / Adventure | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Days Gone opens by introducing players to Deacon St. John, a member of the Mongrels Motorcycle Club, his wife Sarah, and best friend Boozer. The trio find themselves in the middle of the chaos that ensues after a pandemic turns people into violent, zombie-like creatures. In the ensuing mayhem, Sarah is stabbed and Deacon is desperate to get her to safety. While he manages to get Sarah to a helicopter heading for a refugee camp, Deacon opts to stay behind with a wounded Boozer, promising his wife that he will catch up with her later. This is the last time Deacon sees Sarah alive as the story cuts to two years later where Deacon and Boozer make a living in the wilds of a post-apocalyptic Oregon. With the area being overrun by the zombie-like creatures, called Freakers, as well as crazy cultists named Rippers, Boozer is ready to put it all in the rear-view mirrors of their motorcycles. However, Deacon is still struggling with the loss of his wife and is unwilling to leave the area where they had so many memories together. Ironically, just as he finally manages to convince Deacon that they should head North, Boozer has a run-in with Rippers that leaves him seriously injured and unable to travel. This serves as the catalyst for Deacon to spend more time dealing with the survivors’ camps in the area and becoming more involved with other people instead of being a loner.

Days Gone is a 3rd person action/adventure game that was originally released on the PlayStation 4. Like its fellow open-world title, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Days Gone has made the leap to the PC, where it benefits from higher resolutions, better framerates, and more detail. Players step into the motorcycle boots of Deacon St. John, who is expertly brought to life by the voice work as well as the motion capture performance of Sam Witwer. Witwer is no stranger to working in video games, as he played Galen Marek in The Force Unleashed series, along with numerous other voice-over roles.

As is usual for the genre, Days Gone provides players with a massive map that is dotted with points of interest that can either be story-related missions or side quests. The map in question is set in the Pacific Northwest, which means the terrain varies from forests and deserts to mountains. Due to the size of the map, the best way to get around is with a motorcycle, which also serves as Deacon’s quicksave point and mode of fast travel. However, the bike also requires fuel to keep going and can take damage, which must then be repaired with scrap. Both fuel and scrap can be found out in the wilderness, but it adds an extra layer of tension to the game as players must keep an eye on their bike to avoid getting stranded somewhere. Fortunately, both fuel and scrap respawn over time, which means players will always know where to get more.

The wilderness is a dangerous place as it’s not just Freakers and Rippers that can ruin Deacon’s day. Various bandits and marauders are also roaming about, not to mention the mutated wildlife like crows, wolves, and bears who all have a taste for human flesh. Thankfully, there are a few safe havens where Deacon can stop by to rest, refuel and resupply. These settlement camps also have missions for Deacon to complete, which increase their trust level and in turn the quality of their shops. Selling meat harvested from wild animals or the ears of slain Freakers to camps earns Deacon camp credits, which can be spent upgrading his bike, and stocking up for missions.

Once Deacon leaves one of the camps there are several different things to do out in the wilds. Along with story quests, there are Freaker nests that can be cleared out, hostages that can be rescued, bounties to capture, enemy camps to clear, and National Emergency Response Organization (N.E.R.O) checkpoints where Deacon can restore power. All these activities have a reward for completion, so clearing out Freaker nests means there will be fewer of them roaming around in the area while rescued hostages can be sent to an encampment in exchange for camp credits and trust. The N.E.R.O checkpoints are the most interesting as they usually contain recorders with information about the Freaker virus and the infection.

During missions, Deacon can go in guns blazing or take a more stealthy approach. The latter works well when dealing with humans, but taking on hordes of zombies is a different matter. Fortunately, Deacon can find and craft a variety of throwables and traps that can help even the odds in his favor. Before taking on one of the massive hordes in the game, it is advisable to first set up a few traps and craft as many napalm molotovs as possible before provoking the Freakers. Individually they are not too tough, but when chasing players in hordes of hundreds things can go pear-shaped very quickly. These battles are some of the most intense in the game and make for nail-biting encounters.

Visually, Days Gone is a beautiful game where simply riding through the world is a wonderful experience. The game features a day and night cycle as well as changing weather conditions, so there were a few times when a wolf started snacking on poor Deacon because we were too caught up in checkout out the amazing night sky. While it contains a lot of the usual open-world cliches the map is truly impressive and a lot of fun to explore. The level of detail on a PC with the right hardware is incredible and the game optimization also appears to be really good.

Days Gone also delivers the kind of audio quality that one would expect from a big-budget title. As mentioned earlier, Sam Witwer knows his stuff and manages to turn Deacon from a taciturn loner into a character who steps up when he is needed. The game features plenty of flashbacks of happier times between Deacon and Sarah, which shows why he is so lost without his wife. The story does take quite a while to really open up and with so many distractions in-between it can be hard to follow at times. Despite the great work by Sam Witwer, the protagonist can come across as a little unhinged at times as he loves shouting out his love for murdering those who wronged him. Deacon also has the habit of arguing with voice recordings and radio messages, which is quite funny but might not endear him to everyone. The supporting cast, which includes William Gray in the role of Boozer also delivers stellar performances. In addition, the music is a great match for the game and it is clear that a lot of effort went into all of the sound effects and ambient noises.

Since it was originally a console game Days Gone can be played with a controller, but we found a keyboard and mouse to be better suited for the shooting. Deacon can carry a primary and secondary weapon along with a melee weapon and throwable items like molotovs or grenades. Players can switch between these with a weapon wheel, which also makes it easy to craft things on the fly, provided enough resources are available. On the other hand, we found a controller to be more comfortable for driving the motorcycle, so ended up switching between the two control methods on the fly while playing the game. Deacon has a stamina meter, which can be depleted while running around and this is not something you want to happen while being chased by a large horde. Fortunately, he also has a “focus” ability that can be activated to slow down time for a bit. This is useful for quickly crafting something, accurately focusing on an enemy or flammable object, and so on. Outside of combat, the focus mode is used in predefined spots to “track” allies or enemies by following their footprints.

Days Gone is quite a lengthy game and even just completing the story missions should keep players busy for ages. The optional quests can become repetitive, but add some variety between the story missions and have benefits. Completing the game also unlocks the New Game Plus mode, which starts a new playthrough, but with all skills, weapons, trust levels, and camp credits as well as bike upgrades and crafting recipes that players have unlocked transferred.  The game also features Survival modes, which take away features such as the minimap, fast travel, and so on for a more immersive experience. Finally, the game features twelve challenges that can be played outside the main story mode. These challenges have their own rankings and medals as well as unlocks that are beneficial in the story mode.

Overall, Days Gone is a great game that features everything fans of open-world titles expect from the genre. It’s not going to convert players who are not fans of the genre, though, and the protagonist also won’t appeal to everyone, especially if they don’t spend enough time with the story to see a different side of him. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the game and the whole premise, which feels like The Walking Dead meets Sons of Anarchy, felt more unique than other generic open-world titles with zombies. In addition, the PC version of the game feels like actual effort went into delivering a great experience instead of just a quick and dirty port.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bits
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K@3.3GHz or AMD FX 6300@3.5GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4 GB)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 70 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Though not required, SSD for storage and 16 GB of memory is recommended
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bits
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K@3.5GHz or Ryzen 5 1500X@3.5GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8 GB)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 70 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Though not required, SSD for storage is recommended

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