Review

Days Gone Review - Farewell, Oregon

  • First Released Apr 26, 2019
    released
  • PS4

Nothin' like scrap.

This review contains minor spoilers about mission structure and overall story direction. There are no spoilers for major narrative moments.

Around 10 hours into Days Gone, you're thrown into a hunting tutorial apropos of nothing. The over-the-top libertarian character takes you out with a rifle and shows you how to track a deer, although you've already had a tracking tutorial. You're then tasked with getting more meat for you and your buddy because your supply is running low, something you never have to do again. You also don't cook or eat; you can only donate meat to camps around the map to earn a negligible amount of trust and money with them. After a little while, even stopping to get meat off wolves that attacked you doesn't seem worth it.

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Like many things in Days Gone, hunting exists just to be there, an idea that is picked up and then abandoned at random. Unlike hunting, some of those ideas are even good in the moment. But most aspects of Days Gone lack purpose. Its many narrative threads flirt with being meaningful and interesting but never quite commit, with characters whose actions and motivations don't make sense. Riding a souped-up motorcycle through the world and taking out zombie nests and hordes is satisfying in the way that completing open-world checklists often is, but by the end, you're left to wonder what the point of it all was.

The first act of the game--about 20 hours or so--sets up quite a few narrative arcs. Two years after the initial "Freaker" outbreak, biker buddies Deacon St. John and Boozer have become drifters doing odd jobs for nearby survivor camps and keeping mostly to themselves. Deacon's wife, Sarah, had been stabbed at the very beginning of the outbreak; Deacon put her on a government helicopter bound for a refugee camp so she could get medical attention, but when he and Boozer arrived, the camp has been overrun by Freaks, and Sarah had apparently died. Deacon is understandably not coping with it well. Boozer suggests riding north and leaving the memories behind, but Deacon's bike breaks down and is subsequently looted for parts, so one of your main goals is to earn trust and credits at the nearby camps in order to rebuild your motorcycle.

The motorcycle is central to everything you do in Days Gone. Getting anywhere, including by fast travel, requires your bike, and if you want to save while out in the world, you better be right next to it. Getting off your bike is a matter of both your entrance and your exit; you need to stop far enough away from enemies so they don't hear you coming, but you also need to be able to run to your bike quickly if things go south and you need to escape. And, as you're sneaking past Freakers to loot things like bandages and ammo, you also need to be on the lookout for a gas can and some scrap metal to keep your bike in top shape--if it breaks down or runs out of gas, you're basically screwed. That said, gas and other loot do regenerate if you leave and return to a location, so you'll never truly run out of anything so long as you put in the time to look for it.

At the beginning, you do jobs for two camps: Copeland's conspiracy theorist stronghold and Tucker's hellish forced-labor camp. Copeland's has a mechanic capable of upgrading your bike, while Tucker's has a well-stocked weapons merchant. Your starter junk bike gets about a mile per gallon, and you can't store a gas can on your bike or your person, so you either have to return to a camp to fuel up or constantly scrounge for gas cans out in Freaker territory. This makes wandering around and doing things in the open world frustrating at first, so you do a lot of throwaway missions for the two camps to start.

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Many of these early missions consist of cookie-cutter bounty-hunting and rescue jobs in which you go to a place, track a person using your apparently psychic Survival Vision to highlight footprints and other clues, and then kill some bandits or Freakers. Some of these require you to take the target alive, which often means chasing them on your bike and shooting at their tires with your pistol. If you happen to run out of gas or ammo, or if your bike is already weak and breaks down after a couple of bumpy turns, you auto-fail these missions and have to start over. You also accelerate with R2 and shoot with R1, which, while not horrible, is clunky and awkward.

One early scene involving a drug thief kicks off a series of missions like these that, once completed, has no bearing on the rest of the game despite initial appearances; once you track down the stolen drugs you have to choose which camp to return them to, but there are no consequences either way, and then the situation is dropped entirely. The only result is getting some trust and credits with one of the camps--I chose Copeland simply because I wanted money for a better fuel tank. A lot of the story missions going forward, as you discover a third, more narratively relevant camp, follow the same structures as these earlier missions. But the focus on Tucker and Copeland specifically amounts to hours of nothing in the grand scheme of the story. Tucker's forced labor doesn't come back to bite anyone, and while Tucker and Copeland don't seem to like each other, doing work for one camp doesn't affect your relationship with the other. Once you get to the third camp, Lost Lake, Tucker and Copeland cease to matter at all, not least because Lost Lake has both a better mechanic and better weapons.

Once you upgrade your bike a bit, though, the world opens up. No longer bound by low gas mileage and a weak arsenal, you can head further out and more handily take on enemy-controlled areas around the map. You clear ambush camps by killing everyone present and eliminate Freaker infestation zones by burning all their nests. In addition to trust and credits, clearing an ambush camp nets you resources to loot, a map of the area, and a new fast travel point; destroying an infestation zone allows you to fast travel in the area. Unlocking the map and neutralizing threats is satisfying in the way that cleaning up clutter bit by bit is, and you can see your work pay off in your bike's upgrades. However, there's little variety between each ambush camp and infestation zone, and they get repetitive early--especially because Deacon dry-heaves and whines about the nests smelling horrible at each one.

The real motivation to do all of this is twofold. Early on in the game, Deacon's best friend Boozer is attacked by a group of Rippers, a doomsday cult with a number of bizarre rituals. The Rippers singe a tattoo off Boozer's arm and leave him with third-degree burns, so Deacon's purpose in life is to keep Boozer alive and healthy. This mostly involves finding sterile bandages and the one mission where you gather meat for him. On top of that, though, Deacon sees a helicopter belonging to the government agency NERO, which had been involved in the initial relief effort, flying overhead. That gives Deacon a bit of hope that Sarah might still be alive, since he'd put her on a NERO helicopter after she was stabbed, so you start stalking the NERO soldiers and scientists to investigate further.

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There are a number of flashbacks to Deacon's relationship with Sarah before the outbreak, bolstered by his hope that she's alive. They're largely awkward cutscenes interspersed with short sections of walking slowly while Sarah and Deacon talk about surface-level topics, and they don't ever provide a convincing reason why they're together. Deacon is a biker and Sarah is a "nice girl" scientist, which is fine, but "opposites attract" isn't enough to make their relationship compelling. It's romantic in that Deacon hasn't given up on Sarah, but the main takeaway from the flashbacks is that they're physically attracted to each other and that Deacon doesn't talk about his feelings.

The NERO arc is where things really pick up. Spying on the NERO scientists consists of insta-fail stealth missions. They can be frustrating before you unlock abilities to improve your stealth skills, but the conversations you overhear are legitimately interesting and answer questions that other zombie fiction often neglects. For example, you learn from one eavesdropping on a scientist studying Freaker scat that they eat more than just other people and each other--they also eat plants, and that means they're not going to starve any time soon (like in 28 Days Later). Deacon quickly gets in contact with a NERO researcher who uses government resources to track down what might have happened to Sarah. Even though their relationship is confusing, it is a tempting mystery.

Abandoned Nero medical units and research sites contain more small details, including recorders that play snippets of scenes--a scientist studying a Freaker specimen, the moment a camp got overrun, or just banter between soldiers. Getting inside a unit is a matter of refueling the generator, making sure to find and disable every speaker nearby so the noise doesn't attract Freakers. Finding each speaker can be a bit tricky at certain sites, which makes the moment you turn the power on more exciting and the realization that you're in the clear more of a relief. And in addition to satisfying your curiosity, you're also given the more tangible reward of an injector that improves your health, stamina, and bullet-time-like focus ability.

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As you learn more about NERO and the Freakers, you're introduced to new, more powerful types of Freaks, including a berserker and an all-female variant that screams to attract more Freaks your way. They don't really provide new challenges so much as slow you down, and they feel like a stopgap measure to tide you over until the first horde-based mission around 40 hours into the game. That first horde mission is exhilarating--running around while using tight spaces and molotovs to keep the horde off you, eventually taking out hundreds of Freakers, is a well-earned victory. But that mission is followed very quickly by another one, and after a short break, you have two more nearly back-to-back horde missions that lead up to the end of the main story. Without any breathing room, the hordes are exhausting to deal with, and you'll likely have to stop everything to loot and rebuild your stockpile of resources after each one just so you can progress.

Ultimately, though, Days Gone isn't about NERO or Sarah or the Freakers. It's about Deacon, and what he wants is what matters. Narrative threads are dropped as soon as Deacon no longer has a use for them. Copeland and Tucker only matter until Deacon gets to a camp that has better supplies. Boozer's health is only important because it's Deacon's reason for living. Even the fascinating little details about the Freakers are useless to Deacon, who only cares about Sarah--but not what Sarah wants or needs, just that his "ol' lady" might be alive somewhere. Every character is seen through this Deacon-focused lens, and as a result, they're two-dimensional.

Deacon is selfish, and it's simply boring that the game is uncritical of him.

Deacon does not learn anything over the course of the game, and the story is concerned with validating his actions and feelings above all else. When one character urges him not to kill anyone in cold blood, Deacon "proves" that murder is better than mercy. As Boozer nearly breaks through to Deacon about learning to let go, Deacon learns something new about NERO and clings to his hope even harder. Deacon also has a policy where he doesn't kill unarmed women, which does not affect the story in any way and goes completely unexamined. There's no introspection here; Deacon is selfish, and it's simply boring that the game is uncritical of him.

I did a lot of things in Days Gone. I burned every single Freaker nest; I cleared every ambush camp; I maxed out my bike; I took out a few optional hordes just because. Like Deacon with Sarah, I kept going because I hoped to find something, to follow a thread to a possibly fascinating or satisfying or impactful conclusion. But at the end of it all, I'd only gotten scraps.

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Back To Top
The Good
The NERO storyline gives intriguing, fresh details about this particular zombie apocalypse
Clearing a camp, infestation, or horde can be satisfying for its own sake
The Bad
Deacon has no real character development, and the game is uncritical of his more dubious actions
Deacon's relationship with Sarah is flat and unconvincing
Many narrative arcs end abruptly or lack interesting or meaningful conclusions
The open-world activities grow repetitive
Poor pacing takes the excitement out of horde fights
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kallie finished Days Gone's main story in around 55 hours, splitting time between a base PS4 and a PS4 Pro. 735 days had gone at the beginning, and 854 days had gone by the time she reached the end. Review code was provided by Sony.
961 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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gamer014

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Edited By gamer014

I was curious as to why gamespot has such bad stigma in the gaming community lately and stumbled upon this review. Definitely the worst review that I have ever read. It makes sense now...

2 • 
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nicodiaz

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This review is intentionally misleading. Kallie Plagge should be fired.

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StreetShark

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I made a rookie mistake and didn’t look at who wrote this review, although I should’ve known, because it had Kallie’s sjw trash all over it. I’ve never seen a legitimate review from her. There’s always some self-righteous white savior crap in her reviews. This review has kept me from getting the game, but I’m rethinking that decision now that I realize who wrote this. I’ve disagreed with 10 out of 10 of her reviews.

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Zinoxy

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Edited By Zinoxy

Oh yeah, this is the same goose who had a problem with the zombie creatures being white? This review is a joke at best. Days Gone was a breath of fresh air. Rather use review sites like Metacritic. Reviews there are written by people that didn't look at their phone during curscenes.

5 • 
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elmarcos_1

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Worst review ever. Im glad I bought this game, one of the best games I ever played.

Really unfair how bad this site rated Days Gone.

9 • 
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amfenar

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@elmarcos_1: good game to say the least. it didn't deserve such a poor review. I am glad i bought it with though with discount recently. otherwise i wouldn't had known that i missed such a good game. Gamespot is starting to mess up with their measuring for good/bad games. when they give 10 - it's like 6-7 to me. when they give 5, it's like 8-9. What the hell. i think i'll rate gamespot as 3 out of 10 and stop coming here.

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Ice12Tray

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@elmarcos_1: @elmarcos_1: I’d classify it as just below good. I bought it on sale for Black Friday because at the end of the day I do love zombie games. For being a narrative focused game, it really fails at the narrative part. The script and characters are just shy of realizing their potential. Traversing the world, clearing ambush camps and Nero points are amazing, but if I didn’t find joy in the grinding, busy work and crafting, I would have put it down a few hours in. I agree with the reviewer in all her points, but I would have given it a 6 instead of a 5 because I feel like 5s and below need to be reserved for unplayable issues. I’ve only encountered one so far about 20 hours into the game and it was just me falling through the map when I passed over a bridge.

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PillarOfMercy

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This review kept me from buying on day one. I decided to give it a shot and I'm absolutely hooked. This review is bad, irresponsible, and has shaken my faith in Gamespot's credibility. If anyone has any suggestions for gaming review sources, I'm all ears because this may be the final nail in the coffin here.

4 • 
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coombzy91

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Really bad review. I generally trust GameSpot, but this review is awful. I play multiple games at a time, if I get bored I move on for a bit then come back. Days gone I played the whole way through non stop, it's really amazing.

5 • 
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Judge99

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@coombzy91: when did they take the thumb up symbol down???

This is correct, worst review ever

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coombzy91

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@judge99: It is awful reviews like this that could stop a potential sequel.

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Sirjew

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Edited By Sirjew

Worst review ever

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BSAA_Chris

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I bought this game late and after several hours in I say it's a perfect 10/10.

Reviewer must have been on her period or she simply hates PlayStation games.

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Judge99

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@bsaa_chris: she’s a lefty loon that’s why.

This is why they should keep political ideology out of game reviews.

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daledao

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Edited By daledao

This is the BEST PS4 game bar none!!! The reviewer should not be reviewing games! A solid 10 out of 10!

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Jimbowesker

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Wow, this review could not be anymore misleading if it tried. This game may not have been perfect 10 out of 10, but ANY day of the week its much better than a 5. The reviewer must have been having a bad week or something, cuz honestly, there are tons of reasons to play it and be swept away by its beautiful sandbox. This review just isn't acknowledging the game for all the many multiple things that it DOES get right. I can't help but feel as though it should be critiqued again simply for the fact of how it has probably mislead a lot of gamers.

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Judge99

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@Jimbowesker:

They wanted to mislead you intentionally.

They wanted to sink this game.

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Judge99

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@Jimbowesker: the reviewer was intentionally trying to mislead gamers

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jimmydonegood

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This game is awful garbage. Glad I just rented it for free. Waste of time.

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AlexxanderOzzy

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If Days Gone was a PS4 launch title, I'm sure it would've been given decent to solid reviews. As it stands, because Sony's previous blockbusters raised the bar, this one was criticized for not innovating. Yes, it has its flaws (too long, unlikable characters, repetitive missions), but it can be a fun survival action game. The free DLC add ons and fixes have made it even better. An 8 out of 10 for me.

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Star_Classic

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Edited By Star_Classic
@alexxanderozzy:
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JIMBOMDAVIS

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I give this review a 0/10 and Days Gone a solid 9/10. Please go back to reviewing romantic comedies or, better, just don't write reviews.

7 • 
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kickinlikesally

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@jimbomdavis: Yeah, I don't agree with the reviewer at all. When it first launched, it was buggy as hell, and I could kinda understand the bad reviews, but now it's fully functional, it's a really good game. Possibly the most addictive game I've played since Skyrim.

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Shredhead99

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Edited By Shredhead99

What an abysmal review. Deacon doesn't kill anyone in the game that didn't deserve it. The people he killed were pure evil. While he made some poor choices, I felt he truly cared for his friends. He definitely wasn't selfish.

This is an amazing open world game. I loved the Oregon wilderness and the weather effects were breathtaking. I loved fighting the hordes and it was great fun taking them out with napalm. This is the best ps4 exclusive since God of War. 9/10

7 • 
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JayJayUK

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Edited By JayJayUK

You have had a shocker here Kallie.... sure we all have opinions, but the justification provided for the low score is mostly plot based and is simply insufficient, harsh and somewhat niche. Did you forget this was a game, not a film? Since you dwelled on the plot, and didn't leave much for the gameplay mechanics, atmosphere and environment.

I shall avoid any future reviews of yours, but you should try reviewing films instead. There are sites that welcome overly critical reviews.

Overall, this was a poor poor review, and just too far out of kilter with the user ratings and just about every other review site....

You have much to learn i feel

I give this review 1/10

9 • 
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JIMBOMDAVIS

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@jayjayuk: WELL SAID. I give this reply a way better score than 5/10. In fact, I give your reply a perfect 10. The state of gamer critics/reviews is in the damn dumpster. Sure, they get it "right" once in a while, but you know what they say about broken clocks. Haha...

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Miles_AJ

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Edited By Miles_AJ

"Deacon has no real character development, and the game is uncritical of his more dubious actions"

The game doesn't have to be critical. The player, obviously, can or cannot be.

Ultimately, this review is trash, and Gamespot is no longer a reliable site for intriguing game reviews and opinions.

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Miles_AJ

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"Deacon has no real character development, and the game is uncritical of his more dubious actions"

The game doesn't have to be critical. The player, obviously, can or cannot be.

Ultimately, this review is trash, and Gamespot is no longer a reliable site for intriguing game reviews and opinions.

4 • 
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Russian_Ultron

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Edited By Russian_Ultron

It's humorous that when I click to comment Gamespot says it has a zero tolerance for "toxic conduct". This entire review is toxic. If I wanted content like this I'd read BuzzFeed and Vox articles all day. Piss off with this garbage.

10 • 
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Miles_AJ

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@russian_ultron: I agree. It's garbage.

6 • 
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Handy

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Edited By Handy

Been playing for at least 20 hours and this game should be at least 8 .start kinda slow but after that its great.sidequest never been a chore to me.gameplay is great;and the graphic is fantastic,even better than most AAA game on my pc.the reviewer is very biased and lets her personal view affect the review.it's like she had some sort of anti male propaganda.the main protagonist is a biker.what do you expect?gamespot was always my go to go review.but after this....disapointed

8 • 
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NadYas

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"Deacon is selfish, and it's simply boring that the game is uncritical of him"

Obviously someone is on their(.)

Game is Sold 8.5, this review is garbage.

11 • 
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Judge99

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@nadyas: you should read her review of black ops 4.

She is far left loon, that is pouring her ideology into video game reviews.

A black eye for GS’s credibility.

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NadYas

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@judge99: Well said my friend, she is better off gicing **s than reviewing video games

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depman1972

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Ridiculous reviewer, they need being struck off.

I've just completed the game and its a solid 9.5, goty for me.

How this reviewer can give it a 5 is beyond me, please dont review another game.

Leave it to gamers, you're obviously not, stick to something else in life as gaming reviews are clearly not for you.

Pathetic score you gave, GS dont let this reviewer review games again.

8 • 
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NadYas

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Shame on you gamespot for allowing such reviewers to post such nonsense. I've been playing this game for four days so far and it's awesome.

GS is not reliable source for games reveiws any more.

5 • 
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p1p3dream

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Well, I'm not going to say this game is a 'pile of steaming garbage,' because I just don't believe in calling a game that. But I find it really disenchanting and frankly alarming as hell that so many people are falling over backwards in the comments here. I think one of the problems is that the overall quality of games has really shifted from originality and creativity to paint by numbers games checking off standard market tested and addicted features. The last 15 years has seen the industry go from making numerous innovative and unique entries to becoming a factory for mass producing clones of Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and COD: Modern Warfare. And while those games were ground breaking and original at the time, for every Bioshock, or Dead Souls, or Portal was a river of forgettable, mediocre, and mostly adequate games designed more to fulfill quarterly goals and investor portfolios and not so much to break new ground in creativity. So I guess in that sense, maybe the younger generations could be forgiven for just not really knowing any better? Also, games like The Last of Us, RDR1 and 2, even early AC and Far Cry games were much greater than the sum of their parts and trying to justify a game because they have copied mechanical elements from these is to tragically misunderstand why they are so critically acclaimed. And not every is going to be or even has to be a Souls, or Last of Us, or whichever classic, and I don't think anyone would say that there is no fun to have on these factory games, but spraying fubreeeze on a pile of poo doesn't transform the poo into a cream soda. As someone who has loved and played video games for the past 30 years (Hi, son!) this game is a great example of what a bowl of oatmeal would look like as a video game.

Oh, and another thing- ya'll who are surprised about your comments being deleted, maybe should have a closer look at the disclaimer at the top of this comment section. The state of this comment section is not dissimilar to the state a porto potty after an ICP festival. It's one thing to take issue with a review, but it's pretty vile, and actually a bit embarrassing to see what hateful, shallow cowards many of ya'll are. And if I wasn't clear enough, this game is a steaming pile of garbage. Namaste MF"er's

2 • 
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Miles_AJ

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@p1p3dream: you're utterly full of crap.

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yeknomdab

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@p1p3dream: Set down the pipe and walk away. You're right about the weirdly high concentration of vitriolic backlash over a review score, and the amount of rehashed concepts being sold as something new.

I don't think that I would list the clunkomatic Souls games or The Last of Us as innovative or "classics," but you make a good point. Days Gone is far from revolutionary and the repetitive tasks can be a drag (which describe most recent games,) but yet I return.

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Judge99

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@p1p3dream: you didn’t even play the game. You contradicted yourself with your very first sentence vs. your very last sentence.

You’re just a triggered sjw, and that’s okay.

But let’s be honest about the video game.

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Willowvale75

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Edited By Willowvale75

After starting this game myself. I can say, this review is garbage. I know a crappy game when I see one. This is far from it. I'm blown away. This lady set the bar so low, the game feels like a masterpiece! Yes, it's an open world. Yes it does alot of things we've seen before.

But if you LOVE those things, you'll love this game. If you like any Ubisoft open world, AC, Far Cry. If you loved Red Read 2, Last of Us. This is THIS game.

The visuals are amazing. On par with RDR2. Very detailed. The atmosphere, the sound. I get a real sense of post apocalyptic isolation. Constant tension and unknown as you explore. The bike feels awesome. Like a biker bad ass dude. I'm loving this game. I haven't been bored yet, like I was in RDR2.

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MaddenBowler10

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get this garbage liberal SFW biased writer off this beloved gaming site.

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Miles_AJ

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@MaddenBowler10: lol

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saltymemesoup

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For anyone who missed it - The reviewer cut these HOT TAKES from the article (they were probably cut against her will)

I had a lot to say about this game. Here are some random tidbits I didn't include in the text: - All the Freakers are apparently white? - The biggest technical issues were patched out during the review period, but the game chuuuuugs on regular PS4 - I hate the phrase "ol' lady"

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Soulglove

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I rather enjoyed my time with the stealth aspects myself, but thank you, Kallie.

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Days Gone

First Released Apr 26, 2019
released
  • PlayStation 4

Set in the beautiful, volcanic scarred high-desert of the Pacific Northwest, Days Gone is an open-world action-adventure game where you play as Deacon St. John, a Drifter and bounty hunter who would rather risk the dangers of the broken road than live in one of the “safe” wilderness encampments.

5
Mediocre

Average Rating

196 Rating(s)

8.5
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language