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Days Gone

Days Gone

It's time to roll out and ride through post-apocalyptic Oregon in Bend Studio's freaker-filled PS4-exclusive open-world adventure.

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It's been over two years since the world fell apart, and now you're thrust into the shoes of Deacon St John, a war vet who joined a motorcycle club (MC) called the Mongrels, as he rides around what's left of Oregon killing zombie-like creatures commonly known as freakers and finding the parts he needs to fix up his bike.

The title comes from the days that have passed since the world as we know it ended, and after what feels like a long wait for us in the real world, Bend Studio's PS4-exclusive is finally here. This third-person open-world survival horror seems to have been in the pipeline for a while, and now the time has come for us to finally get our claws on it. The good news is that it's lots of fun, although it does come with some issues... so let's dive right in and find out what's what.

The player takes control of Deacon, a biker who found his calling as a drifter and bounty hunter in the wake of the apocalypse. Many of the missions you undertake involve tracking and finding people or taking out marauder camps for money and reputation. We start off riding with another member who also still wears the kutte of the MC, Boozer, but after our protagonist's bike gets stripped for parts, it's up to Deacon to ride around, find scrap, complete missions for various people at camps located all over the region, and upgrade the bike. The missions are varied and completing them allows you to earn credits, or trust, which opens up new bike upgrade options.

Days Gone throws you into the story right from the off, but there are a lot of hints and tips to help you get to grips with the experience. Deek, as he's affectionately known, is an engaging character with an interesting backstory. In fact, we see a lot of flashbacks to the time before and during the beginning of the end, and these help us connect to the narrative. Many of these flashbacks focus on his wife, as the pair were parted when a government agent called O'Brian got involved in events that we won't spoil.

Days Gone

A lot of the story revolves around discovering what happened to the love of his life, and this really helps you build interest in what's happening. He's not just a one-dimensional biker thug, but rather he's a complex character with a personal code about who he will and will not kill, and who still mourns his wife. As you explore this story, you learn more about the freakers who inhabit the world. Rather than just being mindless killing machines, questions are raised. Do they still think? How are they evolving? Was their creation man-made? These questions make the freakers more than just cannon fodder. Although, it is fun to shoot them too.

The world in which Deek rides is varied and dangerous, filled as it is with various mutations of freakers, diseased animals like wolves and bears, and other human enemies. You never seem to be too far away from trouble, with random bandits and snipers trying to take you out, or freakers chasing after you and attempting to pull you off your bike. There are often survivors tied up and in need of rescue, or enemies pretending to be dead, which gives the world a bit of variety. That said, the lack of functioning cars made us miss the option to drive other vehicles.

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Deek earns experience points as you complete more assignments, which in turn means that you can add new skills to his bag of tricks. You can become better at regaining stamina, or highlight enemies using your survival vision, for example. In fact, there are plenty of great ideas in Days Gone. We liked the fact that you have to scavenge parts from old cars to repair your bike, and that you can run out of fuel so you constantly need to fill up the tank to avoid having to walk. There is nothing worse than breaking down when a horde is running after you, which adds an element of planning. Ammo is also a little on the scarce side, meaning you can craft your own throwable or melee weapons to conserve your bullets. There's also a nice stealth attack, with an automatic takedown that has you ram your boot knife into an enemy.

We love the fact that to save petrol, you can coast down the hills, and that there is a day and night cycle with weather that actually makes a difference. The freakers are more numerous at night, as they enter their destructible nests or dark caves during the daytime. This means that riding at night is bloody dangerous at times. You can, if you prefer, sleep until morning, but there will be more human enemies waiting for you when you wake up.

There's a good reason to clear out the freaker nests because if they're between you and your destination, it stops you from fast-travelling. To clear them, simply toss in a Molotov and watch everything burn. As the freakers pour out, you have the chance to take them on, but it just seemed better to burn and ride, which seems a bit like cheating, but works. Otherwise, the melee combat felt quite solid, and it's particularly satisfying when you're smacking enemies around with a nail-covered baseball bat. The gunplay is also decent, and it's exciting to run and gun as you tear away from a chasing horde.

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