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Letters from the Front

( Played on PS4 Pro.)

Days Gone begins quite simple: you play as a biker riding through Rural Oregon, in search of answers and smashing enemies’ brains in with your friend, fellow biker named Boozer. Sometimes, there’s an abundance of enemies that forces you to retreat but then it becomes quite complex. Yet, as I enter the 10 hour mark, Days Gone is beginning to lose its focus in favor of repetitive and meandering content with a storyline that is beginning to falter alongside an open world that feels generic and zombies that seem extremely generic which pushes the question of what is there left to tell in Zombie stories in 2019?

Technically, Days Gone is a Zombie game but in actuality, it’s a little bit more complex as the “Freakers” as they’re called in Days Gone aren’t actually zombies but are simply infected and mutated humans but their moaning and groaning could’ve fooled me and anyone else thinking that this was a zombie game in actuality.

When you boot up Days Gone, the world is already halfway to hell as screams echo through a small town in Oregon and people are running away from the Freakers. Amid the chaos, Deacon St. John, a US Army Veteran and a local biker gang member secures his wife in a helicopter headed out, he and Boozer travels to a nearby camp where it has been revealed the camp is overrunned and the chopper that he secured his wife in has crashed leading to his assumption that his wife is dead. A cutscene sets a precedent for the rest of the game after the prologue, two years have passed and both of them have survived the initial outbreak. The outbreak is contained in Oregon but it is unknown what has happened to the rest of the nation or the Pacific Northwest which leaves out a good chunk of lore and story. Deacon and Boozer find work as drifters, doing mercenary work for communities but it isn’t easy and that is where the game begins.

In the first couple of hours, Days Gone never settles down and instead keeps on chugging as I struggle to retain the story beats and the lore behind the game. A cutscene will interrupt you once and a while to unload heavy exposition as you attempt to understand, the game expects you to understand everything that’s going on without giving the time to explain to you what is occurring and what has occurred. Essential characters and villains don’t appear in the game until you’re good chunk in which is somewhat confusing. As a result of this decision, Days Gone is sparse and very bloated. I hope it gets better because at the 10 hour mark, it does get better but not by much.

Strangely, the communities you come into contact with and the characters you meet aren’t worried about catching the virus or there’s no explanation on how the virus is carried or even began or I hope that gets explained as I get further down the line. It’s just strange to see everyone accepting their current situation and is okay with how the world is at this point in time.

The communities and the characters you meet send me criss-crossing across rural Oregon in some of the most bland quests I have ever seen in my history of gaming, I must hunt down bounties, recruit survivors, burn down entire camps filled with raiders, and much more. Once a mission is completed, you build trust and begin to build a relationship with the communities, which gives you better gear like better weapons. In the first half of the game, the game sends you on some super repetitive quests that usually involve kill this set of enemies or wipe out this group.

Not all of it is bad however, as there is something there with the Freakers and how Deacon handles them but the game never makes the most out of the Freakers which is a shame considering that they’re the key aspect of Days Gone. The first encounter is a great one and each time you encounter them is a great encounter until you unload your AR into one of them, it’s a nice mixture of horror when you spot them and see an army of mutated humans come your way and you have to run.

The way you handle them is quite interesting. Sony Bend crafted a sense of tension by making ammo limited and how much ammo I can carry around in my big pockets; melee weapons and silencers degrade with time, you can craft handmade weaponry like molotov cocktails, mines, and flashbangs and you can use these against the Freakers or until it is absolutely necessary.

These moments of fun are too sparse to find and Days Gone just is thrusted downwards into a game that is repetitive and is quite boring. I hope I’m wrong, however, by the time I finish the game. Stay tuned for my review.

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