Easy Allies: 7.5/10
Spiel Times: 8/10
ACG: Wait for Sale
The zombie apocalypse is well-trodden territory and the open-world spin of Days Gone can only differentiate it so much. There’s a strong narrative focus, but Deacon St. John doesn’t carry that weight as deftly as he could. There are highlights and fun tools available within, but the game doesn’t push those forward initially, leaving the players to deal with some tedium first. Days Gone is a great foundation for something better though, so hopefully Bend gets the chance to improve upon it.
Days Gone is a third-person action game with a layer of survival baked in. It’s about shooting things and foraging for useful equipment to better your chances at staying alive in an increasingly hostile environment. Those are expressed through play, and even when said play is derivative as Days Gone is, it can still be compelling.
Deciding what that means through narrative is something else altogether, and where the tropes of the post-apocalypse become most grating. In Days Gone, Deacon St. John has done horrible things, and so has everyone else. Deacon and his cohorts would like things to not be this way, but they are, and them’s the breaks. And it is tiresome. It is exhausting to watch another gruff white dude experience the extremes of humanity brought about by disaster, to be torn between pure, reliable self-interest and the fragile strength of community, as if those are the only two ways to be. It’s dumping water into the ocean, failing to offer anything new in favor of blending formlessly into arguments made by 10 years of The Walking Dead and countless post-apocalyptic games of its ilk. Look no further than the game developers calling the zombies “freakers,” and expecting us to take that as something new.
Escapist Magazine: 8/10
Glitches aside, Days Gone is a remarkable surprise. Open worlds and zombie games are a dime-a-lootbox and have been for years, yet SIE Bend Studios rose to the occasion. In theory, Days Gone’s undead sandbox sounds dated and cliche. In practice, a hybrid of The Sons of Anarchy, The Last of Us, and Red Dead Redemption is a truly captivating experience thanks to Deacon’s sympathetic presence. After all, none of us could do better in Deacon’s situation as he attempts to maintain his humanity in the face of the living death, fighting for the future by remembering love, life, and the days gone.
The Guardian: 3/5
Days Gone is a derivative but enjoyable action-adventure with a beautiful environment, using AI and physics to create exciting moments of procedural entertainment. But its familiar tale of mankind struggling to re-create society after the end of the world and its romantic through-line are haphazardly structured and under-written, and the characters are too busy calling each other sons of bitches and assholes to say or do anything moving, original or profound. This is a game of fun and fury – it’s thrilling at times, but it signifies nothing.
We may never learn exactly why the game changed so dramatically, but it’s obvious to anyone who’s been following closely that we’re not playing the Days Gone Bend Studio intended to make even a year ago. We’re playing a lesser version, a remnant darkened by the looming shadow of what’s gone. Deacon St. John explores the ruins of Oregon, and we explore the ruins of a better, more ambitious game. If Days Gone had anything interesting to say about broken dreams or the sacrifices people make to survive, that harmony might almost be poetic. Almost.
Days Gone carries with it the expectation that if you cobble a game together from parts of other games that are already massively successful, you’ll have yourself a winner, but it has no awareness of why these games were successful, or simply no means to replicate them. I’m not sure whether you should blame a troubled production process, which Days Gone definitely had, for the state of the game or if it’s just an attempt to hoodwink you into paying for a game you’ve already played several times over.
I wasn’t expecting Days Gone to add anything new to the genre, but both in terms of its systems and its story it’s uninspired, which is driven home by the fact that it’s endlessly, needlessly long. I’m begging you, haven’t we done this enough?
Days Gone ups the open world survival ante but doesn’t have enough cash to pay for the rest of the rounds of betting, making it one of the weirdest AAA releases in recent memory. If enough people buy it, its stronger moments will likely be immortalized in YouTube videos for years to come. Yet, most people will probably remember it as the open world zombie game that didn’t bring much mechanically to the table. With some tweaks to the pacing, it could have reconciled its warm, frank look at humanity and been something special.
In a lot of ways, Days Gone reminds me of the original Watch Dogs. Both star a terminally unlikable character and offer players a huge, open playground full of incredibly dull things to do. Days Gone has the skeleton of a good game, but the rest is so forgettable that it ultimately feels like a tragic waste of resources. Not exactly bad, just boring. But if Watch Dogs 2 is any indication, it’s also the kind of experience that could potentially be redeemed with a sequel — hopefully one that finds a better way to stand out among the sprawling horde of zombie fiction.
Slant Magazine: 1.5/5
Days Gone is the apotheosis of the more-is-more philosophy: more bars to fill, more gates to progress, more zombies per square inch because “more” is supposed to fill the hole where some semblance of meaning ought to be. It’s the purest example yet of the video game as mere content to be consumed, down to the very fact that each storyline you’re supposed to be emotionally invested in is marked with a completion percentage. Days Gone is a void.
Game Informer: 7.75/10
Days Gone has good gameplay foundations. The scarcity of supplies and ever-present threat of zombies put me on edge as much as it gave me options to escape by the skin of my teeth. But the inability to fully deliver on either the story or open world fronts makes it a title of both possibilities and limitations.
Days Gone is a grim, beautiful B-movie; its action and writing are full of pulpy thrills, and by the end of it, I found myself liking a character called Deacon St. John – an achievement in itself.
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.
Days Gone feels bloated, like a movie that goes on for an hour longer than it needs to or should’ve. It’s messy and confused, but peppered with genuinely thrilling encounters with rampaging hordes of zombies and occasionally breathless firefights. There’s a good game in here somewhere, but it’s buried in a meandering storyline, repetitive missions, and just too much obligatory stuff to do without an eye on the smaller details that could have given it much more character. Some fine tuning and editing could have removed the tedium and celebrated what makes this game unique and interesting, but Days Gone rides strictly down the middle of the dusty road and never finds its rhythm.
Attack of the Fanboy: 4/5
These glaring weaknesses aside, Days Gone was a lot of fun, but you need to know what you’re getting into here. The aspects of this game that I enjoyed the most weren’t the ones that I spoke of above. It was in the quieter moments. Moments where I had run out of gas far away from town and attempted to find fuel before I was spotted by a large group of enemies that I had absolutely no chance of defeating with the weapons I had on me. It was in the random encounters that made the world feel like a dangerous and desolate place full of incredibly bad things and bad people. There have been plenty of games to tackle the subject matter, but Days Gone felt like a true realization of the zombie apocalypse in the open world. The fit and finish that you think of when it comes to PlayStation 4 exclusives might not be here, and hell some of the core mechanics of the game feel broken at times, but the moments of desperation that many games have tried to manifest offset that somewhat.
God is a Geek: 6.5/10
Days Gone is fantastic at times, but there’re so many bugs that I wasn’t sure if the game was stable enough to continue. Being a Sony first party game, I expected so much more, especially as we’ve been blessed with games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Marvel’s Spider-Man in recent years. The hordes are excellent, and portions of the story are great, but pacing towards the end, a wealth of issues in the gameplay and its technical side make the journey through a destroyed Oregon a real burden at times that I came away more disappointed than impressed.
There are glimmers of true excellence here; small stretches of Days Gone can be especially fun and polished. However, the assembly of these various parts suffers from the lack of an engaging story, compelling characters, or an open world that feels organic and worth exploring.
Critical Hit: 6.5/10
When you take all of Days Gone’s faults into consideration, it’s difficult to overlook them as a collective to see through to the undeniable moments of endearment and sparse but compelling missions and set-pieces. It’s an overly long story that could benefit from a trimming of fat from the bulk of its predictable tale, as its poor pacing struggles to inject variety into its repetitive mission objectives. But in amongst that it finds charm in its two lead characters and excitement in its third-person action, which is accentuated brilliantly by reactive undead enemies that can be used in creative ways while also posing a suspenseful threat. Days Gone is never a smooth ride, and its wide-open roads don’t always lead you to satisfying destinations.
Days Gone is an alright first step for Bend Studio. It’s a competent open world game with massive, diverse environments for you to explore, even if there aren’t actually a lot of interesting things to do. It’s also very vanilla, and there just isn’t much substance beneath its glossy surface.
PlayStation Universe: 8/10
Days Gone then, is not quite what we thought it was going to be when we first saw it. With its metamorphosis into a solidly enjoyable, traditional open-world action adventure with real heart now complete, it runs the risk of inviting comparison with the genre greats that it will not survive. It’s not a 10/10 game certainly, but still, for those whose stomachs permit another open-world meal of this magnitude, Days Gone proves to be quite the delectable, fulfilling banquet indeed.
Days Gone is repetitive, unimaginative, and surprisingly rough around the edges but to our own surprise we can’t pretend we didn’t get some mildly addictive pleasure from it. Much in the manner of the more middling Assassin’s Creed titles, there’s a strange sort of comfort to playing and completing such an undemanding game, with its constant stream of minor rewards – even if they’re just a tick on a list of completed missions. We wouldn’t particularly recommend Days Gone, and it’s certainly not in the same league as most of Sony’s other PlayStation 4 exclusives, but while we don’t look back at our days with it with any sense of wistfulness we don’t resent the time spent on it either.
Press Start: 7/10
Days Gone is a fine addition to the evergrowing list of first-party Sony exclusives. Does it have the shine and polish comparable to Naughty Dog’s best works? No, but it delivers a dense and beautiful open world that proves that there’s perhaps a little bit of elbow room left for zombies in gaming, even if we’re not calling them that this time around.
PlayStation Lifestyle: 9/10
Days Gone checks all the boxes of a proverbial PlayStation exclusive, but never feels like it’s stepping on anyone else’s toes. Despite the games, film, and TV that you can easily draw comparisons too, Days Gone handles it all in such a way that it has its own unique identity. The more I played it, the more I loved it, until finally finishing the long journey and not wanting the adventure to end. Sam Witwer is brilliant as Deacon St. John, and his journey of survival, humanity, and self-discovery through a deadly world via motorcycle is a memorable one that shouldn’t be missed.
Hardcore Gamer: 4/5
Like the winding roads of Farewell Wilderness that contain both serenity and danger, Days Gone is a journey with a winding range of emotions. Though the game borrows heavily from other open-world games, Bend Studios has done a solid job melding it together into a package that’s more than the sum of its parts. The story, while lacking major surprises, is filled with enough emotional beats and a robust main protagonist that elevate it beyond all the clichés. The bike and freakers add intrigue to the open-world formula, and the stealth and melee combat create satisfying gameplay opportunities. The game does hit a few snags with its gunplay, bike maintenance and performance issues, but overall it comes together well. There’s no denying that Days Gone borrows heavily, perhaps too much, from other games, but Bend Studios manages to weave all the components together into a compelling product. There are a few bumps in the road, but Days Gone is still worth the ride.
Digital Trends: 2.5/5
Days Gone may have excellent dialogue and enjoyable cutscenes but it’s obvious that its gameplay didn’t receive that same level of refinement. It fashions itself as a stealth game, but the stealth mechanics are sometimes unpredictable and the melee combat grows stale quickly. Its pivotal moments turn its hero into an action star, but gunplay is underwhelming and lacks any real thrill. Though it places you in a post-apocalyptic setting, the survival mechanics do nothing more than add monotony without ever raising the stakes. Constant framerate drops and stuttering significantly hurts the experience on the base PS4. Sadly, Days Gone is the first real clunker of a PS4 exclusive.
Trusted Reviews: 3.5/5
Days Gone has a couple of fantastic ideas, including the blockbuster horde battles that offer some of the most heart-pounding zombie spectacles I’ve seen yet.
Unfortunately, these fantastic moments are fleeting, with generic missions, a messy story, and a plague of technical bugs holding back Days Gone from becoming a zombie-slaying classic.
I can’t think of many other open world games that pack in as much character, as much wonderfully crafted narrative that Days Gone does. Sure, it’s a story about a world overrun with a deadly virus. But it’s also a story about people, about hope, about survival. It’s at times uplifting, others heartbreaking. Couple that with Days Gone‘s beautiful setting and a varied array of well-designed story missions, and you’re left with something pretty special. Don’t write Days Gone off as “just another generic open world game”; it’s so much more than that.
Days Gone’s world is very much greater than the sum of it parts. It’s haphazard nature wouldn’t have survived on a smaller scale, but this is a substantial thing. The story can be spotty, and the gameplay glitchy, but over tens of hours it evens out. It’s easier to forgive a scattered narrative and occasional Freaker standing ankle deep in asphalt when you can spend hours exploring, discovering, or fighting through what it has to offer. It’s open world has enough surprises and depths to penetrate that I always found it enjoyable and full of memorable stories. Like the first time I ran out of fuel (rookie mistake) and crept through the forest at night looking for gas, terrified of every howl and shuffle in the trees. Or the time I discovered a horde by turning my torch on in a cave and finding 50 pale faces staring back at me. Those are the moments that stick with me, despite everything else. This may not hit the heights of recent Sony efforts like God of War or Spider-Man, but it suffers more from that expectation than it does its own rough edges.
Days Gone puts Bend Studio once again on the map of all PlayStation gamers after many years of oblivion. While it doesn’t deliver any meaningful innovations in terms of open world and gameplay mechanics, it’s a fun game that sports gorgeous graphics and a surprisingly great story/cast of characters, easily paving the way for a sequel to the stories of Deacon ‘the Drifter’ St. John.
Game Revolution: 4/5
Days Gone is one of the better zombie games in recent years. It doesn’t beat out the Resident Evil 2 remake (very few games do) as being my go-to zombie fix, but it’s an entertaining if somewhat unevenly-paced adventure through post-apocalyptic Oregon. The gameplay is solid, both the driving and fighting and though there’s not a ton of variety in what you can do, I didn’t hesitate to ride down the next road or shoot the next Freaker.
This is a game that doesn’t innovate or do anything new. Instead, it’s one of the titles you start seeing near the end of a console generation that polishes the ideas that other games have introduced. The story is a slow-burn, but once you start getting into it, you’ll want to finish the ride.
We Got This Covered: 4/5
Despite the technical hiccups and the problems inherent with open-world adventure games, I had a great time with Days Gone. Sure, the overall experience smacks of other games on the market, and it doesn’t really try to do anything remotely original with the design and setting. And while I had a problem with the Walking Dead-esque setting, mostly because I’m not really a fan of the television series, the presence of a likable, well-written protagonist helped alleviate the sensation that I was essentially fighting zombies in the same universe as Rick Grimes. Hell, the main character is a motorcycle-riding, crossbow-wielding tough guy with a big heart — the description practically screams, “We’re gonna borrow that!” Again, Deacon St. John keeps those feelings at bay, and he keeps the story moving and grounded despite some B-movie plotting and well-worn cliches. And while most people will probably show up for the huge hordes and zombie-related mayhem, these moments pale in comparison to some of the genuine character moments you’ll experience throughout the story. Days Gone might seem like yet another post-apocalyptic adventure with zombies, but the human element easily rises above all the blood, guts, and carnage.
Gaming Nexus: 8/10
Once you get into a rhythm with Days Gone, it feels good, man. Going all Excitebike up into the lumpy hill trails. Whipping a U-turn before parking for a quick getaway. Sliding between shooting zombies, stabbing zombies, and setting zombies on fire makes for some interesting choices on a minute by minute basis. Refueling, bandaging, reloading, and picking flowers for the kitchen back at camp fills in the downtime, if I already happen to be off my bike anyway. There are definitely worse open worlds out there. Deacon St. John just also happens to be one of the better acted characters inhabiting a post-apocalyptic open world. When it comes to Days Gone, come for the zombie hordes, stay for the Pacific Northwest eye candy. It’s lovely here.
Deacon, his mate Boozer and the remaining inhabitants of Oregon have decent stories to tell (when they’re not padded with filler quests, that is). When bugs aren’t present, things generally flow pretty well, keeping my claim that this is State of Decay with a budget an accurate one. The big problem is, the current state of affairs means Days Gone practically goes out of its way to hamper enjoyment; unoriginal yet decent systems are continually hampered by a lack of polish quite uncommon in Sony first-party titles. At the eve of PS5 near-announcements, it’s sad to see Sony’s powerhouse console finish up on a sour note such as this. While patches may be able to salvage quite a few of its bugs, there are some questionable design decisions that certainly can’t be fixed as easily.
Gaming Trend: 6/10
Days Gone features some potentially interesting community-building mechanics and the appeal of a bikers vs. zombies game is hard to ignore, but it never lets its best ideas take center stage. Instead, it focuses on lackluster combat and a repetitive set of missions. It moves along on the kind of momentum that exists almost by default in big open world packed with activities, but I could never get fully engaged, partly due to its dragging pace, scattershot story, off-putting protagonist, and frequent bugs.
Screen Rant: 3/5
And that’s a shame because Days Gone has a lot of well-crafted moments. Most missions are satisfyingly tough and leave a lot of room for play-style flexibility. Side storylines pack a bit of emotional punch and shift the viewpoint a bit further from “whitest dude in Oregon.” Battling hordes and riding the ol’ bike through broken roads and dirt paths provide both the greatest challenge and the most relaxing experience. Everything that is done well is done very well, but this game feels less made by a group of passionate devs and more like it was made by an algorithm. Zombies, check, crafting, check, gritty veneer, and so on. So even while painstakingly taking out every horde, there’s nothing to fall back on; no friends with whom Deacon can share his glory. The world and story of Days Gone are lonely, but if an open-world Last of Us meets Son of Anarchy sounds like your thing, then it might be worth the slog to kill some freakers.
As it stands, Days Gone isn’t some abomination but it’s not up to par with what we expect from a Sony first party game. It’s held up primarily by its story which still fails to match the quality of other PS4 titans like Spider-Man or God of War but the game’s biggest downfalls come from barebones gameplay and a disturbing lack of polish.
If Sony Bend got another chance at bat with this IP, there’s extreme potential to make something worthwhile with the foundation laid here. Using lessons learned here and building off the strongest elements could result in a really great sequel on PlayStation 5 that stands tall among Sony’s other first party titles.
Days Gone is an ambitious new IP that borrows heavily from its influences. It still maintains its own identity and features some genuinely fun gameplay. It’s unfortunately held back by countless technical issues, but if you’re willing to tolerate these, the moment to moment gameplay is enjoyable. While there’s nothing revolutionary about the game, it’s worth a go if you’re a zombie fan.
Next Gen Base: 8.5/10
If you tore chunks out of Dying Light, Far Cry, The Last of Us, Sons of Anarchy and a bunch of other open-world titles then threw them all into a blender, you’d probably end up with something akin to Days Gone. It’s a game with lots to enjoy, a ton of world to explore and some sensational visuals to take in. As seemingly generic as much of it is on first glance, Days Gone opens up to prove that it’s capable of punching its weight in a crowded area of the gaming landscape. A slow start to the story might put some off, and there are still a few technical issues that raise their head on the odd occasion, but there is plenty in here that gives you cause to overlook them. Farewell, Oregon, I had a great time clearing you out of Freaks.
Push Square: 7/10
Days Gone’s survival horror underbelly gives it just enough personality to distance it from the dozens of other open worlders already available. A dense selection of overlapping gameplay mechanics make for entertaining action, even if the title’s unremarkable mission design doesn’t always make the best of them. The story can drift, and the overall package isn’t quite as polished as its PS4 exclusive counterparts – but as far as gaming comfort food goes, you could feast on much worse snacks than this.
I guess the marketing for this will be: Days Gone. At least it’s better than Crackdown 3!