Why You Should Be Playing: Days Gone

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Pour one out for a real one, it looks likely that Days Gone isn’t getting a sequel anytime soon. After a long development and a good thrashing by critics at launch, it seems that Sony has decided to pass on giving Bend the greenlight for another trip. Honestly, this is a shame, as there’s some genuine brilliance to Days Gone, making it well worth a playthrough if you get the chance.

To understand the difficult launch that Days Gone had it’s important to look at the circumstances that led to such a backlash from reviewers. I was actually one of the people that got Days Gone early, and let me tell you the pre-launch build was rough. Constant crashes, game-breaking bugs and strange audio issues turned an otherwise neat zombie adventure into a slog. This, coupled with Days Gone’s eye-watering runtime (far too long for what’s on offer here), meant it was difficult to score the game highly.

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Since launch, however, all of these technical issues have been fixed. Furthermore, Days Gone is best played at a leisurely speed, so it’s no surprise that many players have seemingly avoided being burned out on the game like critics were. In its current state, Days Gone is a great time indeed. You’ve likely played games almost identical to this before, but that added layer of Sony polish does do wonders to elevate it above other zombie games like State of Decay and DayZ.

Then there are the hordes, undoubtedly Days Gone’s ace in the hole. Composed of literally hundreds of individual zombies, the hordes become incredible challenges, as you set up a gauntlet of traps and napalm before leading them through. It’s genuinely incredible to see the hordes in action, looking more like something out of a Hollywood zombie movie than a game.

Days Gone’s hordes highlight the absolute best of what this game can do. They also highlight its biggest misstep. For some reason, the giant hordes you see in the trailers are tucked away in the game’s later sections. It’ll take you upwards of 50 hours to reach this point, meaning a lot of players won’t even get to meet them. The uneven pacing here is a shame, as it absolutely pulls the game back from greatness. Even without the hordes, however, Days Gone is a solid open-world action game.

The inclusion of a motorbike makes traversing the world a dream, and the story has a couple of twists and turns that make it a cut above the usual zombie stories you may be used to. Every supply run has the potential to turn ugly, as enemies set ambushes along the main roads. If you’ve ever wanted a AAA open-world The Walking Dead game, this comes extremely close.

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More than anything, I’m disappointed that Days Gone 2 seems to have been abandoned. While playing Days Gone I was reminded of the original Assassin’s Creed or Horizon: Zero Dawn in that while I was having a lot of fun, I couldn’t wait to see the sequel take things to the next level. The way the story ends in the main campaign clearly sets up a sequel too, so it’s frustrating to know that we’ll likely never get a resolution.

Thanks to recent comments from Days Gone Director Jeff Ross, we know what might have been in store for a potential sequel. A shared, co-op survival experience had been pitched, allowing players to brave the wasteland together. Given the tech behind the first game, that world could have been an incredible playground for co-op survival.

I’m hopeful that Sony revisits the Days Gone IP in the future as there’s a lot to love now that the technical issues have been ironed out. If you’re looking for a solid open-world game, with great action and the most technically impressive zombie hordes in the business, I recommend picking Days Gone up. It’s even part of the PS Plus free games lineup for April, and is included in the PS Plus Collection for PS5 players.