Days Gone On PC
I’m a PC gamer and take little notice of console games because I don’t own a PS4 or an XBox and probably never will. However, many games made exclusively for consoles do eventually find their way to the PC, with the most recent ports being Horizon Zero Dawn (HZD) and Days Gone, the former being one of the first Sony Interactive Entertainment games to break its exclusivity. I haven’t played HZD, but according to reports, it’s an excellent game, but the PC port suffered from numerous technical glitches which I understand have now been fixed.
Days Gone – An Underrated Gem
A couple of weeks ago I discovered that Days Gone, a PlayStation 4 exclusive released for that platform in August 2019, was coming to PC and since I’m a fan of open world, post-apocalypse zombie shooters I headed over to YouTube and numerous gaming sites to check out the reviews. On the whole, it was a disappointing experience, with many reviewers trashing the game for having a flimsy storyline, cardboard cut-out characters, and the same old generic weapons and crafting mechanics. Here are some examples from those reviews:
generic and unmemorable
messy and confused
good port, bad game
Those kinds of sweeping remarks would immediately put most people off buying a game and let’s face it, criticism is subjective and should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Furthermore, I’m more inclined to respect the opinions of actual gamers than so-called gaming journalists, because let’s face it, many of those reviewers have vested interests. So, with that in mind, I scrolled through to the comments of the YouTube reviews of Days Gone and the general consensus was that practically all of the negative reviews were way off the mark and probably written by someone who had maybe played just a couple of hours of the game at most. Here are some typical comments from gamers:
Great game with an incredible story and well fleshed out characters
Don’t listen to the bad reviews, this game is amazing
Whoever gives a negative review to this game should seriously consider a medical check
Probably the most underrated game of the decade
Well, you get the idea, and for me, having watched numerous videos of actual gameplay, bearing in mind that the game costs between $40 and $50, I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Having decided that the game was definitely worth buying, I pre-ordered it on Steam, and from the moment I jumped on the bike on the morning of the May 18 release day, I was hooked.
Most Open-World Games Are Generic To Some Extent
So what’s new? I’ve played all the Far Cry games as well as Mad Max, Dying Light, and many others. Most of these types of games have your character running around on side quests and main missions, collecting items for crafting and clearing out enemy strongholds. This is nothing new and it’s a proven formula that just works and can be very challenging depending on your level of difficulty. Frankly, I don’t know what the reviewers were expecting from Bend Studio, the developers. To reinvent the wheel perhaps? On the other hand, Days Gone uses a unique mode of transport — the motorcycle, which is really the star of the show and woe betide you if you run out of fuel at a crucial moment when escaping a horde of zombies.
This is a somewhat unique aspect of Days Gone and you need to look after your bike or you will certainly die. Naturally, being a biker myself, I connected immediately and am constantly collecting scrap so that I can repair my bike, especially if I’ve given it some rough treatment or run over too many zombies. Much like in real life, the bike becomes an extension of you and a lot of time is spent maintaining it so that you don’t get caught out, whatever the circumstances.
Why Days Gone Is My Favourite Game
As I mentioned earlier, from the moment I jumped on the bike and twisted the accelerator, I knew I was going to enjoy the adventure. The attention to detail is stunning, not only visually but aurally. The way the bike starts up, the creaking noises when going over bumps, the skidding sounds upon gravel, and not least, the ghastly groans and screams coming from the zombies. In fact, you can completely avoid the zombies if you wish, which is what I like to do from time to time, and just take in the wonder of Oregon where the game is set. However, zombies are not the only enemies and much like The Walking Dead, humans and animals can be much more lethal. So if you’re out for a pleasant country ride, don’t be surprised if you’re shot by a sniper hidden in a tree, pounced on by a pack of wolves, or mauled by a giant bear. There’s nothing dull about the game and it draws you in over and over again.
Days Gone Story
Our protagonist, Deacon St. John, is a hardened war veteran and biker who is searching for his wife, Sarah, who may or may not have survived a knife wound. He’s a tad curmudgeonly, to say the least, and with his best mate, Boozer, another hardened biker, he applies the rules of their MC to defy the world, seeks out the mysterious NERO (National Emergency Response Organisation), and rides all over Oregon in search of the truth about his wife. The game varies between stealth, all-out murderous action, and cutscenes which show some of the back story. It’s an engaging tale, which draws you in, hoping for a happy ending in a world devastated by the zombie outbreak (one suspects it may have been man-made) and the struggle to survive. There are definitely shades of The Walking Dead in Days Gone, but that’s no bad thing because as you progress through the game you have access to numerous friendly camps where you build up trust by taking out enemy camps, destroying zombie nests ( I had no idea that zombies hibernated) and taking down villainous murderers, amongst other exciting quests.
As you can see from the screenshots, the game is almost photorealistic, and with a powerful enough machine, it will run as smooth as velvet at over 60 FPS. My experience so far has been faultless and without a single crash to desktop, which is a testament to how well it’s been ported from console to PC.
In conclusion, the negative reviews of this game have given me a jaundiced view of game journalists. Not just because my opinion of this game is entirely subjective, but comments like deeply flawed and good port, bad game makes me wonder if the reviewers were playing the same game as me or were smoking something that I wouldn’t. And these are not PS4 reviews either, but the PC version, which is said to be far superior to the console game mainly for the multitude of graphic options available.
On the other hand, trashing a game after just a couple of hours of play is hardly objective criticism and let’s face it, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I’m very glad that I didn’t take those negative reviews seriously. It’s one heck of a game and if zombies are your thing, I can highly recommend Days Gone.