It's been a long time since I've felt the need to write a game review on this site but I have no choice. The Gamespot reviewer brought an appalling agenda to her description that did not lead to a sincere conclusion on the game's merits and no one should take it seriously.
Days Gone feels like a hash of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, and The Last of Us. I've enjoyed all of those games and Days Gone is a fresh take on the genre. If there really was a pandemic that brought down civilization, I could see society ending up like it does in the game; honest and scared persons are brought into camps ran by a variety of strong willed characters with their own agendas. And then there are characters like the protagonist (some would say anti-hero) Deacon, who yearn for the freedom of drifting around as they please. But with that freedom comes danger, in the form of marauding criminals and affected "freakers", who sometimes come in massive hoards that will be a challenge to overcome.
The Story is just fine for a open world adventure; the characters have their poignant moments that speaks to their motivations. The Gameplay is killer; driving your motorcycle through the forests and high desert can be quite fun. But the stealth/combat missions against criminal outposts or freaker nests is where I have the most enjoyment. You can not just run into a camp firing; ammo is scarce, traps can be laid, and you are very much outnumbered. You need to methodically plan your attack. The enemy AI is impressive as well. If they know you're attacking they'll hide in cover and throw pipe-bombs in your area, flank around, cover each other while they're relocating, etc. The stealth mechanics can help out immensely if you're patient.
When I see a game reviewed with a 5, I think the game is complete trash, and this game is instead completely worthy of your time. With all that said, it's not a perfect game. I brought the score down to a 9 due to some technical bugs that show up more regularly than I'd like, mostly regarding sound design and the random encounters. For example, in my last play session, I clear out government agency (called NERO) crash site and come across a recorder on a dead body. On these recorders are voice memos that describe what was going on when you know what hit the fan. But often, Deacon talks out loud over the recording, which makes it hard to follow what's going on. I want him to shut up at times. And random encounters can be buggy too. These can include passing by a survivor trapped in a car surrounded by freakers. Deacon can choose to stop and help save the person by killing the freakers. In that same play session, I killed the freakers attacking a survivor, then went to the vehicle to tell the person they're safe and to head to a camp, but there was no one it it.
However these random encounters can be a highlight of the game's environment. While traversing the paths on my motorcycle, I see a sniper's laser about to pinpoint on me. I jump off the bike and head for cover. I'm out of rifle ammo so I'm crafting a smoke bomb to help me get closer to take out the killer. That's when I hear a wolf growl and a woman's scream. Turns out, a wolf sneaked up and got jump on her. I watched with glee as it mauled her to death. I then killed the wolf and help myself to it's meat and the killer's rifle bullets. All in a days surviving a post apocalyptic environment.