When doing a review for video games, the intention is always to be honest. Many games have come out in the past few months that have created experiences and world that stick with the player. However, there are times when a game tries to become a classic, only to fall due to small nuances that destroy the experience. Days Gone is a PS4 exclusive title, developed by Bend Studios, that is meant to be a country-road zombie title set in Oregon, United States. While the premise is interesting, the game fails to create a notable experience.
The characters are not memorable, mostly for a handful of reason. Either they are one dimensional, have one motive, and fail to deviate, change, or adapt in anyway, or the characters clearly have a personality, but the game creates scenes and moments where it wants you to believe characters are completely different. An example being how throughout the game, you are fighting, surviving, and killing people with little remorse, but then the game sets up scenes where the character clearly show remorse, only for the game to continue with the characters not having remorse. It is a constant switch of character than many characters go through throughout the game, and creates a jarring impression. Nothing is consistent, nothing changes properly, and the story does not do anything to create characters worth relating to.
The gameplay is the regular third-person cover shooter that SONY games, such as Uncharted and The Last of Us, are known for. However, both the level design and artificial intelligence is very poor in quality. Nothing seems well constructed, many of the set pieces are just thrown in random areas, and the moments of skilled planning are absent because there is no other method outside of finding the nearest log, covering, and shooting. While one could argue in a post-apocalyptic world, everything would be thrown in random places, but it still does not excuse the fact that the environments are very plain, and traversing the terrain through combat is annoying. At no moment does the player have to stop and think, but rather running into the enemy and hitting them with blunt wood is the best option.
The artificial intelligence does not work properly because, at on moment the enemy will see the player and start shooting, but the moment the player takes cover, the enemy walks away; as if the player was never there. There were moments where the player was two foot in front of the enemy, only for the enemy to turn around and walk away. As well, rather than staying at a distance and shooting, the enemy is more likely to run into the player's face, and shoot at close distance. Thus, the enemies come to the player, and make it easier to kill the enemies, as opposed to figure out a strategic plan.
The world is not as expansive as it leads to believe. While the size is large, the roads are very limited, the world is full of trees, and the warehouses and buildings do not feel like a part of the world. The player has to drive off the road, through the forest, and then finally finds an abandon warehouse, with no roads leading to it, only to find it is full of supplies and equipment. It creates a jarring sense that the world was an after-thought to the zombies. Also does not help that every five minutes, a test-box will pop-up to inform the player on how to play the game, even during the middle of combat.
The zombies are the only thing somewhat palpable, as the large number of zombies on screen at once is impressive. The way the zombies work as a swarm to cover bases, and trap the player, is interesting, and force the player to think on their feet. However, these moments are few and far between, and once the player learns how to get away, it is rinse and repeat because the artificial intelligence does not adapt like how the player adapts.
Days Gone does have a lot of gameplay loots, collectibles to pick-up, and an upgrade system that will keep the player involved for a long time. The problem truly comes from keeping the player involved, and while the world is interesting, it is very barren; which can be off-putting for many players. Some will find enjoyment, while others will get bored and forget Days Gone existed.
The game as a whole lacks a lot of interest, is infuriating, and has boring moments at different intervals of the game. Nothing feels complete, and the game piles so much onto the player. From the beginning, the game is simple to understand and simple to play, but the game feels the need to tell the player every five minutes how they should feel, how the characters are so interesting, how to play the game, and how no other game does what Days Gone does! The honest truth is that Days Gone is one of the least interesting titles to come out in a while.