The game plot is pretty simple: You are a biker riding across a zombie-filled open world, looking for answers about your wife’s death and killing enemies that cross your path with melee weapons. Although there are some exciting and fun zombie hordes to go through, Days Gone loses it a few hours into the game when it starts to get repetitive, and overall monotonous with their storyline.
Your bike is your companion in this game. Riding it feels incredible, and it is easy to handle. The game is centered on riding the bike, and the developers did a fantastic job with the mechanics of it.
But, the bike and the charisma of the main character are just not enough to support everything else that is wrong with the game. Days Gone storyline is not well managed. We get constant dull flashbacks from the main character’s wife, and it quickly gets boring. However, in the first half of the game, the storyline creates a consistent emotional plot and a motive for the main character’s desire to stay alive.
The game wants to evoke emotions with its dramatic events, but it’s always at odds with the way they decided to present everything as a mission. It is difficult to invest yourself emotionally as a player in what is happening when everything is just for XP which takes a lot of consistency away from the storyline.
Nevertheless, there are some enjoyable supporting characters in the game. Deacon’s (the main character) relationship with his best friend, Boozer feels genuine, and their dynamic is one of the more touching in Days Gone. Also, some of the survivors of the post-apocalyptic catastrophe that Deacon encounters throughout the game are very well structured too.
On the other hand, the human antagonists are incredibly dull. They’re bad guys for the sake of being bad, and there’s not much to say about them. They all feel individually irrelevant.
Still, the human marauders and the Rippers, who usually occupy outposts are fun to encounter even if they don’t present much of a challenge to the player. Run-ins with human enemies are easy to defeat by the game standards because they are not grouped like the zombies ( AKA freakers).
The mandatory stealth-only missions were not fun at all. Deacon must investigate the National Emergency Response Organization’s (NERO) research on the freaker outbreak. This consists of several missions that revolve around sneaking into different NERO areas to spy on them while hiding behind obstacles or high grass as they explain world lore. These missions are incredibly repetitive and not fun if for some reason you fail them and have to keep on doing them over and over again.
Crossbows and guns on Days Gone are one of its highlights and when used in a fight its pretty fun. The mechanics are decent, and they are satisfying to use while clearing out crowds of zombies. Also, Deacon can unlock a shot ability from his skill tree in the early stages of the game; this ability allows him to slow down the time during battles. It’s an excellent option to have if you get overwhelmed in the middle of a big fight. Additionally, using melee weapons is a blast. The crafting system in the game is based on combining things that you find, and there’s always something fun in merging two objects to create a ridiculously overpowered weapon.
Even though the combats against zombie hordes can be entertaining and sometimes fun, it gets tiresome after a while too. Most of Days Gone’s missions have something in common: repetition. As Deacon ventures in post-apocalyptic Oregon, he comes across survivor camps. In each camp, players will find a leader with a list of tasks that you’ll have to complete in order to unlock new weapons and upgrades for your bike. These tasks usually play out similarly and a few hours of the same missions get tedious with time.
Throughout the game, you’ll have to upgrade your bike. Things like durability, fuel capacity, speed, ammo storage are some of the upgrades included in Days Gone. However, the game doesn’t give you any indications of how important it is to do some of these upgrades in order to make getting around less tiresome. Not upgrading your motorcycle prevents you from efficiently completing bounty chase missions and it will not save you a lot of time overall. This also happens with missions found in the open-world like when you have to track NERO checkpoints to earn necessary upgrades to your statistics like stamina, focus, and health, which is very difficult at times.
Days Gone pushes you to attack the Freaker nests scattered throughout Oregon by preventing you from accessing to fast travel on specific routes until they get cleared.
Doing this a few times is fun until like most of the things in this game, gets repetitive; sometimes it is easier to ride past them than to stop and attack them.
Even though the mechanics of the bike are excellent, it doesn’t mean everything is perfect with it. Unfortunately, the bike takes damage when in contact with almost every object in the game, including Freakers. While it’s a realistic approach, when you’re trying to escape a situation and your bike is running low on health or fuel, it becomes a drag to have to find parts to repair it. There’s a reason why in similar games where your vehicle is going to take damage no matter what, the developers usually decide to go with the option of letting your vehicle take unrealistic amounts of damage before they start deteriorating. There’s something very anticlimactic about being a responsible driver in the middle of post-apocalyptic chaos.
Despite Days Gone’s world having beautiful scenery with its dense forest, snowy mountains, and winding roads, there’s not much to be found in them. I understand that this game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and that it’s not supposed to be cheery, but it is incredibly dull. This once was a place inhabited by people, but there’s little to no trace of it, and in my opinion, the settings lacked environmental storytelling because of this.