Days Gone has been a hard game to pin down as something that I’m dying to play ever since its announcement a couple of E3s back. It has always felt way too similar to The Last of Us in terms of setting, as both deal with some sort of zombie apocalypse or another, and gameplay, a combination of stealth and action, even though it features some elements of motorcycle clubbing a la Sons of Anarchy, one of my favorite TV shows in recent years. The demo shown at BGS featured two different scenarios, one that followed a quest that involved finding motorcycle parts and rescuing a fallen club friend, and an all-out battle with a horde of zombies.
I started with the rescue mission, and that took me to an abandoned gas station and a set of buildings in the middle of nowhere that I had to explore and find a way into in order to find the part that my buddy from the club wanted so badly. On the way, I ran into some of the weaker enemies in the game, who avoided directly confrontation until I was able to climb inside the building.
From that point on, they did not hold back and attacked on sight. These enemies might be the one thing from Days Gone that garners it some attention, but for the wrong reasons, since the zombies that I fought happened to be transformed kids who the protagonist violently clubbed to (re)death. Yeah, they were long gone at that point, but still, considering how sensitive this matter is in games and in media as a whole, it’s a toss up whether or not this will turn out to be a hot button issue when the game comes out.
But back to the demo. Not all zombies were kids, some were stronger adults that had to be bought down with guns, and even in that it was hard to pull away from comparisons to The Last of Us. By the time I found the thing that the demo had me looking for, I was pointed towards a quest marker which led to the guy who wanted the bike part in the first place, as he was being assailed by a creepy-looking unturned humans who were blow torching his skin to look like theirs. They didn’t last long at all after I started shooting, which gave way to a cutscene, as the protagonist loaded his injured friend onto his chopper and ride off to somewhere else, ending that scenario.
I sadly was only able to play a small portion of the heavy combat part of the floor show demo. It began at the top of what looked to be a quarry, a section of it filled with a horde of the undead, surrounded by all manner of hazards like fuel tankers and obstructions, a perfect spot for setting up traps. Even in this regard, Days Gone plays like Naughty Dog’s survival epic, with having you pick up components that are used to craft all sorts of equipment, like different kinds of explosives (molotovs, mines, etc) and consumables. According to the rep handling the demo, that specific mission is set up to show the chaotic nature of having to deal with huge amounts of enemies, as seen in the trailers seen up to this point for this game. I got to watch people run through this, and from all that I saw, it’s quite a show having to run away and calculate what to do on the fly in situations like this.
In all honesty, Days Gone looks like a decent game on its own strengths. Although it feels derivative, I’m hopeful for the unique things it’s got going for it, mainly the biker motif and the different human tribes you run across as our friend travels on his bike. And if all else fails, at least it could be a fun romp to tide over ‘til The Last of Use Part II. Either way, it’s a win for Sony.
Days Gone will be running over PlayStation 4s all over the world exclusively on February 22nd, 2019.