Back in 2019, I did express some level of joy playing the action-adventure open world zombie-filled game Days Gone on the PS4. It had some technical hiccups and major story pacing issues, not to mention some repetition for all of its 30+ hours. But it had a bunch of good bright spots especially late in the game.
The PC version of Days Gone, which came out on Steam recently, solved at least one of these problems. Frankly, it’s all the better for it. The reasons are twofold:
Better Graphics Options
I really wanted this game to run 60fps and higher, as well as have a better FOV-widening option. The PS4 version couldn’t do that, understandably so. Which is why the PC version solves that by letting you customize as much as you damn well please. Motion blur? Turn it off. Draw distance adjustments? Yes. HDR options? Well, it’s locked on my current PC display setup but it works great on my neighbour’s 4K TV, so that’s cool!
Most importantly, my FOV is to the max and my current “Mat Rempit” session is in 60fps-and-above range. The Freaks and Deacon’s ragtag bike never looked this good & “next-gen”.
Keyboard & Mouse Support
This one’s a given: playing an action-adventure game with a keyboard and mouse that’s somewhat generous with ammo is just easier and more intuitive to play. In fact, thanks to this control scheme, I didn’t really need to use Deacon’s Focus ability too much, unless I’m dealing with 40 or so Freaks after me. Though to be fair, that does happen on occasion.
Don’t get me wrong: playing on a PS4/Xbox One controller is still viable and fun. But all shooters, be it first person or third person, are universally better on a keyboard and mouse. It’s always been like this in the 90s and it still is now: that is just fact. Days Gone feels good with this master PC race control setup.
Are these key features enough to elevate Days Gone’s core gameplay? No, they aren’t.
There’s nothing wrong with Days Gone’s gameplay loop: you experience the game’s dystopian and serious story, you explore a deserted Portland, Oregon (forest and all) on your bike while avoiding the zombie horde (a REALLY big one) and crazed human adversary groups running around the landscape, and you visit towns and do sidequests to pass the time. The world itself feels very immersive and alive, from the roaming zombie hordes running around to the sidequests that ties some of its gameplay mechanics together in a seamless fashion.
When you’re taking your sweet time, Days Gone works. And the last few hours of the game does give you some fun and intense challenges that test your shooting and survival skills, especially when you have better military capabilities to mow down hordes of zombies and deal with tougher challenges. The thrill of having enough firepower to just deal with the creatures that gave you a tough time in the first few hours is a cathartic feeling indeed.
However, if you want more variety & innovation in your post-apocalyptic countryside traipsing, you are not going to find it here. As stressed before on my PS4 review, Days Gone’s monotony, pacing issues, and incredibly serious tone may not be for everyone. And with the current S$67.90/RM200 price tag, a lot of folks are going to wait it out until it gets the patented Steam seasonal sale discount.
Sure, it runs better and has slightly better controls, sure. And compared to the Horizon Zero Dawn PC port, Days Gone is clearly better thanks to its plethora of technical features despite a lower concurrent Steam player count (27,450 at its peak, last we checked). But a port isn’t going to magically mix the game’s clear pacing issues, repetition, and “edgelord” storyline that feels like a discount Walking Dead. The TV version. Days Gone seriously needs to be 10 to 15 hours less; I totally forgot how long the starting intro and tutorial bits were when I loaded up the PC version.
I’ll give Sony Bend this though; this game might be in a good spot. If sales for the PC version turn out fine in the next 12 months, we may get the Days Gone sequel that’s sure to iron out all its issues. That is the whole point of starting a new IP right? Not all of them are successes right out of the gate and some are deserving of a second chance.
Still, don’t let me stop you from spending S$67.90/RM200 or so to support the game though. I won’t blame you if you choose to wait for it to go on sale too. Either way, just prepare yourself for 30+ hours of driving, shooting, and serious storytelling in a still-familiar post-apocalyptic setting.