Reviewed: Days Gone
Fallout 76, Metro Exodus, Far Cry New Dawn – just a few triple A titles released over recent months with the same premise: It’s the end of the world and weird creatures run amok. Survive. Why does hearing that immediately make us yawn? Gamers have delved into an apocalyptic wasteland far too many times, and now with Days Gone, a game which already has a clear resemblance to The Last of Us, we’re off to do it once again. Groan. Luckily, though, the guys at Song Bend Studio have shaken up the post-apocalyptic zombie formula to give us new kinds of frights and fights to deal with.
Sorry, did we say the Z word? We meant to say Freakers – the main enemies in the open-world PS4 exclusive. We’ll get into the different types, but the main draw of these terrifying foes is that they don’t just come in groups of two or ten, they come rampaging after you in the hundreds. It’s a daunting site, especially when the developers made it clear that one of these Freakers is already a big enough threat. Basically, think the hordes of creatures seen in World War Z, except you’re decked out guns, molotovs, spiked baseball bats and a crossbow to hold them back. From the looks of it though, that isn’t nearly enough, and you’ll have to climb up buses, manoeuvre around barns and abandoned buildings to trick them. Just imagine trying to deal with a tidal wave of bodies in an enclosed space. It gives us the shivers, and we love it.
Other types of Freakers will give you trouble, including the screamer that can stun our protagonist, grizzled bike rider Deacon, and even animals including wolves, raging bears and infected swarms of ravens. Poor Deacon, but it isn’t all doom and gloom for our stereotypical main character, because he’s kitted out with a sweet rod. This is the main mode of transport around the huge Pacific Northwest environment, and the chopper is fully customisable to give you an edge in battle (and running away). The bad part about the so-called “Drifter Bike” is that it needs fuel, so if you aren’t stocked up on gas, you’ll be left stranded in a vast wasteland filled with creatures and vicious gangs of other humans trying to survive. These gangs play a big part in the story, which is about brotherhood and loyalty, along with clear hints of The Last of Us-type themes.
It’s all fairly forgettable though, especially when most of the missions will have you drive from point A to point B in a very unimagined environment. It’s cool to drive around in the first couple of hours, but after another 20, players will be saying “Oh, that tree again?”
Apocalypse-shmocalypse — definitely nothing original, but Days Gone surprises thanks to its unique combat.
Available on PS4. April 26.