Two years have passed since the release of Days Gone on the PlayStation 4. After multiple delays, Bend Studio released Days Gone to mixed reviews. Despite the multiple delays, Days Gone released with a variety of issues that hurt the game’s initial release. In fact, at the time of release, it was considered one of the worst PlayStation 4 exclusive titles; this is due to the number of bugs and glitches still in the game. Since then Bend Studio has had time to fix any bugs from the original game before porting it to PC. Below is our Days Gone PC review.
History with Days Gone
Prior to the original release of Days Gone, I had the opportunity to preview the game on three separate occasions. Our first time previewing the game came at E3 2017. E3 2018, would be the last time we would see Days Gone at E3. During this preview, the developers showed us, Deacon St. John stealthily taking out a rippers camp. Unlike other zombie games, this made the Days Gone‘ universe feel more realistic compared to Resident Evil, Call of Duty Zombies, and Zombie Army. Although the preview was exciting, we were not sold on the game; it was not until PAX East 2019, that we were sold on Days Gone‘s story.
At PAX East 2019, we finally had the chance to preview the game for ourselves. Right in the center of PAX East, right when you came off the right escalator was the Days Gone booth. Just the booth alone had us excited for the game’s upcoming release. The demo available at PAX East was an early part of Days Gone story when Deacon St John had to look for additional bike parts. In all honesty, I was made to look foolish while playing the demo; with a busy schedule, I asked the developer to show me their tricks to clear the level stealthily. Watching them play rekindled my love of survival games that had been almost extinguished; it reminded us of our love of Dying Light, Dead Island, and Fallout 4.
After mixed reviews, I decided to hold off on purchasing Days Gone; it was not until Christmas 2019 that I decided to give the game a chance. At first, that feeling that I had felt at PAX East 2019 had come sweeping back with force, but sadly that was short-lived. Despite being released for almost eight months, the game still had bugs that were rather frustrating. So, the game went onto the shelf until a later date.
Since the release of Days Gone on the PlayStation 4, over 750 days have passed before its PC release on May 18th, 2021. After two years to improve the game, we decided to give Days Gone another chance. This time, we received a copy of the game to review on Steam prior to the game’s release. Over the last week, we have dived into the game for our Days Gone PC review; it has been an interesting time.
Days Gone is the Story of Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), a biker who is trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. With the help of his biker buddy Boozer, Deek and Boozer run various jobs for different camps (factions). After being attacked by rippers, Boozer’s right arm is injured by a blow torch. This injury causes Deek to go through a majority of the quests alone. With Boozer injured, the player must search for a way to help boozer while also hunting down a former ally for revenge. After getting his revenge, St. John is surprised by a N.E.R.O. (Government) helicopter. By following the helicopter, St. John learns that O’Brian is still alive which gives him hope that his wife is still alive.
With the hope of reuniting with his wife and looking to save Boozer, Deacon St. John is forced to run errands for friends and allies. On various occasions, the game pulls you into Deacon’s world and emotional state as he fights to survive, save his best friend, and still holding onto hope that he will be reunited with his wife. As Deacon gets one step closer. he is pushed back three steps by opposing forces. Deacon’s past comes back to bite him on various occasions. The game ends with a series of dramatic events and leaves you wondering what is next?
Resources and Leveling
Releasing Days Gone on PC was Bend Studio’s chance to improve the quality of life towards the gameplay and graphics. Disappointingly, they only improved the graphics and left a lot of the gameplay elements the same. Since the game’s release, mods have already been released for the game to eliminate some of the more tedious tasks you have to complete.
Like other survival games, Days Gone makes the player collect resources, kill enemies, and complete missions in order to level up. When the player levels, they receive a skill point that they can assign to one of three categories, Melee, Ranged, or Survival. During our playthrough, we prioritized ranged and survival over melee. Each category is divided into five tiers with three skills in each tier. The player must choose two skills in a tier to unlock the next tier. Like any RPG the final tiers give the player the most bang for their skill point. By leveling Ranged and Survival, we were able to fight off hordes while using less ammo and med packs.
As previously mentioned, the player gains experience by killing enemies/animals, completing missions, or increasing their reputation with each settlement. Each settlement has something to offer to make your life a little bit easier so you will need to choose who you turn resources or bounties into. Early into the game, Copeland’s camp allows you to increase your motorcycle’s stats despite them being to blame for its shabby condition. By the time the game introduces Sarah’s gravestone, the player must decide what camp they want to complete tasks for and where to turn in resources.
In the base game, you are required to manage your fuel levels or suffer the consequences. Early into the game, there were multiple occasions that I would have to push the bike to a safe place or gas station in order to refuel. Yes, it is realistic but it also takes away from the story and fun. Having this as an optional gameplay element would have been fine but it is a bit too much. Ammo and resources seem to be more bountiful than gasoline despite motorcycles being the only form of transportation that the player can use. Thankfully, the motorcycle is easy to maneuver when driving unless your controller randomly desynchronizes; we’ll talk about this more in a later section.
Throughout the game, the player will receive various calls from each settlement for optional side missions. Yes, these missions are not necessary to complete, however, they level your reputation in each settlement significantly. Each settlement also has its own form of currency that is not viable in other settlements. This means that if you want to refuel, rearm, or upgrade, you will need to earn some of their credits. This process becomes rather tedious especially when it has you drive out to various locations you have previously been for other missions. Despite some locations seeming rather significant, they do not receive a fast travel waypoint making the fast travel process even more annoying.
Beyond the bike, the second most aggravating feature was weapon ownership and storing said weapons. Even if you picked up an enemy’s weapon, the game does not consider the weapon yours to store. Additionally, later in the game when you unlock the ammo lockers for the bike, you can not refill your ammo if you are using a weapon you do not own. This made for some very chaotic and deadly situations.
As you increase your reputation with different settlements, you can purchase guns from its vendor. Different guns and equipment are locked behind the camp reputation. You may be able to afford it but it is still locked behind that reputation wall. This is where the side quests become so important if you want to purchase higher-level equipment.
Days Gone is an evolving zombie survival game. At the start of the game, the player only has to deal with a few zombies here or there. As the game progresses, the player needs to be aware of their surroundings rather than shooting recklessly. One wrong shot can attract a horde. A horde can also be summoned by a shrieker, a mutated form of a Freaker. Typically these hordes can be found near abandoned NERO facilities.
By killing these hordes, you will typically find resources and a NERO injector. The NERO injector allows the player to upgrade their health, stamina, or focus. During the early stages of the game, some NERO facilities are easy to enter, so it would be a good idea to increase your health.
As you are preparing to enter these facilities, stealth is your best friend. Using suppressors and stealth takedowns will make it easier to get to the facility. Before you activate the generator, it is a good idea to disable the loudspeakers.
With two years since the PlayStation 4, you would think that Bend Studio would have all the bugs worked out of Days Gone; sadly, this is not the case. During our playthrough of the game, we encountered a variety of bugs. In fact, two bugs actually made the game unplayable on a controller and difficult to play using a mouse and keyboard. The first bug actually broke the survival wheel and would not allow us to switch weapons or dive further into the wheel. The second bug would cause Deek to get on the motorcycle but only drive in a straight line.
Thankfully, these two bugs were fixed quickly but definitely were frustrating at the time. Days Gone on PC still has issues with enemies and allies not properly spawning. On multiple occasions, a quest giver would be on the map but you would be unable to speak to them. At the moment, one of the settlement’s cooks is permanently missing. The game does have occasional issues where the audio signifies enemies nearby despite the area being clear.
Days Gone on PC still plays smoothly, just don’t be surprised if things don’t always spawn the first time. Most of the time, it can be resolved by sleeping or fast traveling.
Days Gone on PC allows the players to play the game in a variety of ways. Players who are familiar with other RPGs should be able to play the game with a mouse and keyboard; however, for someone who typically plays games using a controller, the keyboard layout was rather frustrating. When the controller support broke, changing to keyboard and mouse was rather difficult. Days Gone on PC has controller support for the PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Switch Pro. The controls on controllers feel more natural than on a mouse and keyboard and makes the player’s life easier.
Days Gone musical score draws you into its world. The way the water sounds as it is rushing downstream or the way the motorcycle roars immerses the player into the game. Zombies’ shrieking can make you jump when you do not expect them, especially when they attract a horde. Gunfire at times can be off especially if the game lags due to graphical overloading.
The voice acting in the gaming makes you feel the character’s emotions. When Deacon is frustrated you feel for him. When Boozer is drunk, it reminds you of a drunk man in the barn. The game has great dialogue but just takes too long to get to the story with so many side quests and foraging.
When you compare Days Gone on PC to PlayStation 4, PC is vastly superior. When you compare it to the PlayStation 5, The PC graphics are still superior. The textures on each object have been upgraded compared to its PS4 counterpart. Despite using a relatively powerful laptop, the game still was a beast. For this review, I used a laptop with a 8750 H processor Hexa-core 2.20 GHz, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of dedicated memory, and 16 GB DDR4 SDRam. Even with a decent setup, Days Gone on PC caused my laptop to overheat; in fact, it caused my graphics card to crash on multiple occasions until I lowered the game quality from very high to high/medium.
Although the game does have visual bugs, most of the textures are rather detailed. Even trees miles away can be seen without looking blurry. The game does still lag at times during pre-rendered cutscenes. Now that all graphics card issues have been resolved, the game runs well, but it is aggravating to know that without a stronger card I won’t be able to experience the game at the highest setting. Hopefully, you enjoy seeing zombies explode.
Based on our Days Gone PC review, the game has an average replay value. Like any other action-adventure game, the game has limited options in how you can complete it. Although Days Gone has RPG elements, there are not many narrative elements that you can change. Replaying Days Gone is enjoyable but to go through a 30+ hour game with limited variations seems a bit tedious. If you are looking to perfect the game or play with mods, it could be a different experience. The game does offer a variety of difficulties and variations if you want a challenge.
At first, Days Gone seemed like a tedious chore rather than a fun game to play. Between constantly babysitting the motorcycle and building reputation in the settlements, the game starts off slow with you having to fight to survive. Rather than this being a gameplay flaw, Bend Studio looks to immerse the player into the world and show them what it means to survive.
By having the player increase their reputation, NERO injectors, and the three skill trees, Bend Studio gives players different ways to upgrade Deacon St. John and his motorcycle. The skill tree within the game feels meaningless at lower tiers but the higher tiers make the player’s life much easier, especially against the horde. Unlike other Zombie games, Days Gone’s horde moves in unpredictable ways that will have your heart racing. In those situations, accuracy and rapid-fire guns are your friends.
The game still has a few issues that should be fixed within a few patches but is easier to play than when it launched on the PlayStation 4. Bend Studio has done a great job improving Days Gone’s graphics, however, you need a powerful pc to enjoy the game on the highest setting. Even on medium graphics, the game still looks amazing even if less detailed. There are still the occasional visual bugs whether it be Freakers or allies, which can slow the progress of the game.
The game’s audio does need to be worked on slightly due to the game sometimes signifying enemies are nearby even when clear. Overall, Days Gone is an enjoyable experience that is great for a single playthrough, possibly a completionist or modded run. Beyond that, most gamers who have a giant library will play Days Gone once and be done.
For an older game, Days Gone releasing on Steam for $49.99 seems a bit overpriced. Yes, the game is enjoyable and provides you with over 25 hours of gameplay, but it is still an older game. A launch price of $39.99 would have been a fair selling price. For those who do not have a PlayStation 4, it is an enjoyable title that is worth picking up. For those who have already played it, it might be worth skipping over or waiting until it goes on sale.
Days Gone is also available through the Epic Game Store. A review copy of Days Gone was provided by PlayStation for review purposes.