Days Gone has the potential to be another successful PS4 exclusive for Sony Bend Studios, but there’s still a way to go to polish it up.
I recently got a chance to go hands-on with an alpha build of the game and it’s clear to see that the delay into 2019 will probably do the game a lot of good. That’s not to say that my time with Days Gone was bad, I actually enjoyed the majority of it, it just needs a lot more time for refinement.
Days Gone PS4: Welcome To The Apocalypse
I started my Days Gone PS4 E3 2018 demo with protagonist Deacon St. John in a camp getting ready to head out and find some medical supplies for a buddy. I walked around the camp to explore a little, and discovered a weapon shop, but I wasn’t able to buy anything. I also noticed a kitchen, but I’m not too sure if food will become a key component of the game.
After exploring a little bit I decided to take a look at the crafting system and the menus of Days Gone just to learn what it is the game has to offer. Comparisons to The Last of Us are undeniable in Days Gone. My first glimpse of this came from the crafting menu. By holding down a button I was able to see all the things I was able to craft from a wheel. Using the right analog stick to select what I could craft -Molotov cocktails and health bandages being a few examples.
It was simple enough to navigate but I ran into some problems. The biggest of which is if you hold the analog stick in one direction such as explosives it will transition into a second menu that shows you all explosives you can craft and equip. I ran into this problem a lot when I simply just wanted to switch what weapon I was using, but held the analog stick a little too long.
Weapons also wear and tear and require repairs, but in the demo I never got to see just how repairs work. This applies to melee weapons and firearms which will become less effective with higher recoil and the accuracy will drop.
Days Gone PS4: Upgrading Makes You Stronger
There are plenty of abilities to unlock for Deacon. As I completed missions I earned experience points which unlocked skill points that I could place into three different categories – Melee, Ranged, and Survival. It’s easy to deduce what skills you can unlock in each category.
Melee will unlock skills that help you fend off foes with melee weapons, Ranged is used to unlock things like focus allowing you to slow down time while shooting, and Survival will help you find resources and help with crafting.
After exploring the menus and figuring out how things work, I decided to get on my bike and head to my objective. The bike itself controlled easy enough, but it doesn’t provide a real good sense of speed. I also found a lot of frame rate problems on the bike but that should be easy to fix by the time the game releases.
Days Gone Ps4: Take your time And Prepare
Resource management is also a key component to Days Gone. Finding crafting materials will fill up your backpack, which from what I saw holds twenty different materials and twenty one supplies that you can use. I’m not sure if these can be expanded or if players will have to drop supplies to make room for anything new.
Weapons also become something I had to manage – one small firearm and one heavy weapon can be carried at a time. So I was constantly forced to drop weapons that ran out of ammo for others. The same goes for melee weapons as only one can be carried at a time.
Days Gone is an open world experience so traversing the environment isn’t that difficult and the mini-map does a good job keeping you on the road and dirt roads. I also discovered a ton of side locations like caves and lakes where you can go and explore, but I chose to continue with my core missions.
There are three different types of opposition I faced off against in Days Gone. The wildlife, such as wolves, other humans, and Freakers. The Freakers are the zombie like creatures we’ve seen in trailers. Speaking to one of the developers, I was told that the Freakers themselves are not actually dead. They are still alive and appear to be infected with something that will be revealed during the game.
Facing off against humans presents a much different approach than taking on Freakers. Humans will flank you if spotted and have a great accuracy even though their weapons condition is pretty bad. The shooting itself felt incredibly stiff, I wasn’t very impressed with it at all and hope it gets a lot more attention by the time we reach the final build.
It also took me out of the experience when random damage numbers appear on enemies whenever I shot them. I felt like Days Gone could have used a cover mechanic just to make firearm exchanges a little easier.
Days Gone PS4: Not So Freaking Scary
Freakers on the other hand are fun to take on in a different way. They attack in swarms and provide a sense of intense danger but only when the mechanics function properly. Freakers look like they pose a big danger, but I found myself easily taking them down with an axe. I took out a dozen of them without taken a single point of damage.
Every time one got near I would just melee and kill it instantly, Even when I was surrounded by Freakers they would hardly try and attack me. In one mission I was tasked to take out Freaker nests. These nests are a bunch of twigs and leaves that I’m assuming Freakers built as a resting zone.
Using fire, I quickly dispatched these nests which brought about a dozen Freakers to my location. As they tried to swarm me again I just instantly killed them with my axe. I did run out and start shooting at some of them and the Freakers actually reacted pretty interesting; they dodged when I aimed at them and reacted to the body part that I shot. Parts also exploded leaving them running without an arm in some cases. It was pretty cool to see.
Days Gone main story campaign should last for about twenty five to thirty hours and that’s not including any of the side activities you can partake in. I got to play about an hour of Days Gone PS4 and did enjoy it, it just has some technical issues to work out which I’m hoping Sony Bend Studios will wrinkle out by the time the title releases next year.