Days Gone drops you in an open world zom­bie apoc­a­lypse that can be as beau­ti­ful as is it ter­ri­fy­ing, at times. You play as Dea­con St. John, for­mer mem­ber of the Mon­grels Motor­cy­cle Club. You must fight to sur­vive a zom­bie infest­ed pacif­ic north west.

Days Gone Review
Dea­con St. John

The sto­ry Days Gone was telling is one of its redeem­ing qual­i­ties, mak­ing me want to keep play­ing to uncov­er more of it. How­ev­er, there were prob­lems from start. 

The sto­ry is told through a com­bi­na­tion of cut scenes, col­lec­tables and char­ac­ter inter­ac­tions dur­ing game­play. As you progress, the sto­ry mis­sions quick­ly get very repet­i­tive, but I had a blast with them dur­ing my first 15 hours of play­ing. The sto­ry is told through a com­bi­na­tion of cut scenes, col­lec­tables and char­ac­ter inter­ac­tions dur­ing game­play. The cut scenes look nice enough, but while play­ing I expe­ri­enced sev­er­al frame drops dur­ing impor­tant scenes that real­ly broke my immer­sion. The per­for­mance issues are not lim­it­ed to the pre-ren­dered cut scenes. The game jit­ters and drops frames a lot, often when fight­ing mul­ti­ple enemies. 

Days Gone Review
Days Gone Fea­tures a lot of col­lectibles to find

There are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent types of zom­bies, or Freak­ers, wan­der­ing the land, but there isn’t much notice­able dif­fer­ence when fight­ing them. Alone or in a small pack, they are not real­ly chal­leng­ing to fight. How­ev­er, when you end up with well over a hun­dred of them sur­round­ing you, your options to fight are nonex­is­tent. They are attract­ed to scent of blood and any loud nois­es you make will be sure to draw a crowd.

Days Gone Review
A wan­der­ing horde of freakers

Freak­ers are not the only threat. Human ene­mies such as the Rip­pers, and oth­er scav­eng­ing groups, set up road side ambush­es to catch you by sur­prise. This gives the feel­ing of con­stant uneasi­ness, hop­ing you don’t trip a wire while rid­ing down the road. It’s also a change of pace from the per­sis­tent pres­ence of Freakers. 

Your motor­cy­cle is one of the major focal points of the game, espe­cial­ly since it’s your only mode of trans­porta­tion. Pro­gress­ing through the game will give you access to per­for­mance upgrades for your bike, along with cos­met­ic items. Dam­age can put your bike out of com­mis­sion, requir­ing you to repair it with scav­enged sal­vage. It also needs to be refu­eled, but gas is plen­ti­ful, so get­ting low is only an incon­ve­nience and not a con­stant burden.

Days Gone Review

You will nev­er have to search for some­thing to do, as there are tons of option­al quests, infes­ta­tion nests and ambush camps to keep you busy. Although this sounds good, all these activ­i­ties get relent­less­ly tedious. Also, some of these quests and activ­i­ties real­ly have no rea­son to be there, and not real­ly doing much for you. 

For exam­ple, 10–12 hours into the game you’ll get a quest to learn to hunt by track­ing. Track­ing was explained about 10 min­utes in. You don’t eat and can’t cook, so the meat you obtain can only be trad­ed to set­tle­ment kitchens for a very small, basi­cal­ly use­less, amount of XP

Every time you lev­el up you get a skill point, which can then be used to unlock a Skill from one of Days Gone’s three skill trees: Ranged, Melee and Sur­vival. The skills are pret­ty straight­for­ward, with noth­ing excep­tion­al about them. The trees include skills like being able to repair your melee weapons with sal­vage and allow­ing plants to be spot­ted through your Sur­vival Vision.

Days Gone Review
Days Gone Fea­tures Three Skill Trees. Ranged, Melee and Survival

Days Gone fea­tures both gun and melee based com­bat, as well as a stealth sys­tem. You can get upgrades for all these from skills The melee com­bat real­ly shines, as it should, espe­cial­ly since guns can attract the atten­tion of wan­der­ing Freak­ers. Melee weapons break very often, but there’s typ­i­cal­ly sev­er­al more strewn about if you’re in need. While melee is good for most sit­u­a­tions, but you can get caught off guard by Freak­ers that hap­pen upon you while you’re already duk­ing it out. Although, chop­ping down ene­mies with a machete made of a lawn mow­er blade is a blast. Like most games, stealth and melee go hand in hand. Seatlh is for­giv­ing, so is quite easy to pick off a bunch of zom­bies with­out being seen. Per­son­al­ly, I felt the stealth sys­tem could have been hard­er, as the ease of it made it boring. 

Days Gone Review
Punch­ing a freak­er in the face is always fun

To me, the gun play is not very sat­is­fy­ing. Aim­ing, recoil and han­dling is stiff. If you don’t have a silencer, there is a real threat of get­ting swarmed when you use a gun. A lot of times, it’s just eas­i­er to stealth and melee every­thing, so guns feel like they have lit­tle purpose. 

The Bottom Line

Days Gone pro­vides a lot of thrills, chills and action but qual­i­ty trumps quan­ti­ty every time. There are great moments in Days Gone, but this is quick­ly coun­tered by per­for­mance issues, repet­i­tive play and the lack of any­thing tru­ly inter­est­ing. Days Gone is not worth pick­ing up for $60. Wait until it goes on sale for a good price if you buy it at all. In the end, it’s just a zom­bie action game with the basic ele­ments of any RPG…and a motorcycle.