Bend Studio's not-zombie game has landed on PC, but is it worth your time?
Bend Studio's open-world adventure Days Gone is one of the weaker showings from PlayStation Studios over the last few years, but it's still a very capable and enjoyable game, it just suffers from being surrounded and compared to truly remarkable titles. I originally played through this game when it launched on a base PlayStation 4 that quite frankly was on its last legs, and while I enjoyed it, it never really captivated me like The Last of Us Part II or God of War, both titles that still to this day draw every last inch of processing power out of the PS4 to deliver great experiences.
But, shortly Days Gone is making its debut on PC, in a new version that takes the game and removes a lot of the technical limitations of the PS4. What you get, without too much foreshadowing, is a version of the game that is significantly better, and in fact, it made me fall in love with this title all over again.
As we've already previously reviewed Days Gone, I won't be diving into the story or the sorts of activities you can get up to in this review. You can check that all out over here. Instead, I'm focussing on the adaptation and how it looks and plays from a more technical point of view.
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With that being said, on PC, Days Gone features an unlocked framerate, faster loading times, better graphics (thanks to various factors such as increased level of detail and foliage draw distances), ultra-wide monitor support, mouse and keyboard support, support for non-DualShock controllers, and, if all of that wasn't enough, you get all the post-launch content from the PS4 game as well.
What does all this technological jargon really mean? Well, the game looks and plays significantly better than it did on PS4. With a big emphasis on significantly. My computer is pretty capable and uses a 9th Generation i7 CPU with an RTX 2060 and 16GB of RAM. It's no battle station designed to run games at 300+ FPS, but it does manage to run most games at 60+ FPS on their highest graphical settings. Usually, I favour performance over quality and run games at lower visual levels to instead play at much higher framerates, and for Days Gone on PC, I ended up playing on medium visual settings and still managed to clock in between 80-130FPS, depending on what was happening in-game.
During cinematics, the framerate would drop to a low of around 80FPS, and during open-world exploration with a few Freakers dotting my screen, it would peak around 130FPS. Even with the varying frame rate, the game plays incredibly smoothly, and offers an experience that is almost unrecognisable from its PS4 counterpart.
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The really interesting part was that despite favouring performance, Days Gone still looks truly remarkable on PC. Whether you are just admiring the woodlands of Oregon or staring right down the gullet of a Freaker, this version of the title provides a massive boost in its visuals. Even areas that tend to age poorly in videogames, such as faces, which look much, much better here. You can see the wispy hair of Deacon's beard dancing in the wind - it's rather magical.
A lot of the brilliance of the PC version of Days Gone comes from its absolutely ridiculous amount of settings. You can tweak pretty much everything in the game to suit how you would like to play it, including the ability to button map controls and change the field-of-view, which can be increased rather drastically and is a real game changer for enjoying this title.
There are a few issues I've seen here and there, however. Occasionally I'd have issues with the gameplay hitching and skipping frames, mostly in cinematics, but they were rather infrequent and didn't really ever break the immersion of playing the game. As well as that, it's still Days Gone, which means there are a few things that can drive you up the wall, such as the aiming system that can be annoying to handle until you have a bunch of upgraded perks - I do think a lot of this can be attributed to the reticles you are provided though.
Even with its flaws that have been carried over, the PC version of Days Gone offers a much better way to experience this game. The many options present turn this title that played well on PS4 into a version that performs incredibly well on PC, and is now really the best way to play Days Gone today. And the best part, is that to get the best out of this game, it doesn't even seem like you need a powerhouse of a PC, as it has been optimised and adapted to the platform brilliantly. If there's one thing that getting to play this title on PC has made me realise, it's that despite its flaws, there is still a place for Days Gone in the overarching PlayStation Studios plan, as this game is still great for sinking a bunch of hours into just riding your bike around and slaying the not-zombies.
8 / 10
Visually it looks great. Many different options that are unique to the PC version make it a much better experience.
Still suffers from Days Gone specific issues, i.e. aiming is a little clunky still. Framerate can be prone to fluctuate.