Days Gone: A new twist on the Zombie Genre

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.19.4″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.19.4″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.19.4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.4″]Days Gone is an upcoming action horror game by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) Bend Studio that is set for release on April 26, 2019. This game has been in partial-production since 2013, with a move to full-time production in 2015. It is set up as a post-apocalyptic third-person perspective solo shooter game that where players are fighting an evolving threat of non-dead zombie-like mutated humans and other mammals. It is set in an open-world, and while it has elements of a survival-game to it, the primary focus is on surviving against enemies, rather than the elements and starvation.
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The Premise

Set in the beautiful, volcanic scarred high-desert of the Pacific Northwest, Days Gone is an open-world action-adventure game where you play as Deacon St. John, a Drifter and bounty hunter who would rather risk the dangers of the broken road than live in one of the “safe” wilderness encampments. The game takes place two years after a global pandemic has killed almost everyone, but transformed millions of others into what survivors call Freakers – mindless, feral creatures, more animal than human but very much alive and quickly evolving. In the demo you saw two types of Freakers – Newts, which were adolescents when infected, are opportunistic hunters, preferring to hit and run from the shadows; and a Horde. Made up of hundreds of individual Freakers, Hordes eat, move and attack together, almost as one. Some Hordes roam the highways at night, while others… have found a food source that keeps it in a single location. Skills learned in his prior life as an outlaw biker have given Deacon a slight edge in the seemingly never-ending fight to stay alive. But will it be enough?”

(From the Official Days Gone Website)

The opening sequence finds Deacon and is BFF Boozer being chased by someone or something and coming across their dying friend, who informs them that she was hurt by the drug-thief ‘Leon.’ Our duo then hits the road on their motorcycles to search for him and claim the bounty on his head.

Gameplay

From the trailer, it seems that this Days Gone is a solo game, where players will be setting out on a campaign as Deacon St. John. While the description indicates that he prefers to survive solo than to join a settlement, the exception seems to be his best friend, Boozer, whom we can assume was a member of Deacon’s old outlaw biker gang. Boozer accompanies him on certain missions and he and other friends will require rescuing by Deacon every now and then from marauders or RIPpers.

Outside of the main campaign, which developers have said should last about 30-hours, the world will still be explorable. Throughout the game, payers will be seeking out materials to craft items and upgrade their motorcycle, which is obviously a key element of the game.

Much of the exploration will occur off the main roads, as the army destroyed most highways and bridges in the hopes of halting the progression of the hordes of Freakers. This will likely wear down Deacon’s bike over time, thereby requiring periodic repairs and replacements. The motorcycle will also need to be refueled. Both of these factors will force the player to stop by gas stations, even though there’s a good chance that they will be infested with Freakers.

An interesting element of the game seems to be that Freakers are totally cannibalistic, meaning that while they will attack uninfected humans, they won’t hold back from attacking their own either. We’ll assume that this is if they are hungry enough and cannot find their favored snack. This might also provide some insight as to why other mammals that should be cannibalistic would be willing to at humans; perhaps its simply that Freakers will eat any kind of meat but prefer the uninfected kind.

An additional factor to bear in mind is that Freakers are living creatures. They will therefore have typical day/night lifecycles that include eating, sleeping and other elements. Similarly, they are also affected both positively and negatively by weather conditions, such as snow and rain. However, once they spot their prey, they are relentless and resourceful; human Freakers can climb, run (at a regular human jogging pace) and jump. Staying true to the genre, all freaks become stronger at night and in colder climates.

Another scary twist is that Freakers swarm. If one Freaker spots prey, it will start running at its shambled pace while shrieking frantically. This will alert its buddies to the presence of prey, which will make things pretty interesting. At least players can be grateful that most of the gameplay seems to take place in rural and rustic settings rather than urban landscapes. This means that while a player may be chased by hundreds of enemies, they will not likely be pursued numerous 500-zombie hordes promised by the producers of World War Z (WWZ). The Freakers also seem to be slightly slower than the zombies in the WWZ trailers. As they are alive, players aren’t limited in which method they utilize to kill Freakers, as they can be killed with injury to any vital organ, which should help players to survive the hordes.

Fire is also an excellent method of killing them, especially if the player is attempting to take on an entire Freaker nest. Freaker nests are built by a community of Freakers in a rough manner from various debris and are constructed in a way that resembles a rat’s or weaver-bird’s nest. Freakers are nocturnal and so usually hibernate in their nests during the day. As the nests are made of similar materials to typical nests, they are highly flammable, making the torching of a nest an effective method of diminishing the number of Freakers in a certain area. However, Freakers will still flee the nest, and attack any humans that they find loitering around, so it is best to be armed with regular weaponry as well.

An alternative gameplay tactic is stealth. Hiding in long grass, using buildings and items for cover, and even simply sneaking up on an enemy from behind and slicing their throat are all useful skills for slowly culling enemy numbers and avoiding mass confrontations.

However, it seems that Freakers aren’t the only threat that Deacon will have to face, as the trailer mentions that there is a bounty on Deacon and Boozer’s head, which we can assume would be from some gang that is trying to become the ruling power in the region. Other human adversaries include ‘drifters, marauders and other groups,’ which includes the prerequisite renegade military faction, the National Environmental Response Organization (NERO). This is supported by the fact that on faction, known as RIP, are revealed to capture and torture people, even when they aren’t trying to discover specific information.

Throughout the game, players will be faced with plot decisions that will impact Deacon and Boozer’s friendship as well as other story developments. These can include interactions with NPCs, as well as

Types of Freakers

  • Screamer
    Shrieking female Freakers that alert other Freakers to the presence of intruders. They are also utilized as alarm systems by human settlers.
  • Newt
    These are Freakers that were infected during childhood. They prefer to ambush prey from rooftops, most likely due to their small size and physical weaknesses. They generally don’t attack unless their prey is low on health or encroaches on their territory.
  • Regular
    These are the normal human Freakers that players will encounter almost everywhere in the game. There are usually multiple Freakers in any given area, but they are usually spread out unless the player makes too much noise and attracts their attention.
  • Clothing Lines
    Freakers that are captured and hung upside-down as bait for other Freakers. They both distract other Freakers as an alternate snack, while alerting humans to the presence of Freakers so that they can make an escape.
  • Mammals
    So far, we know of mountain lions, crows, bears and mountain lions being affected by the virus. Each animal sees to have certain physical enhancements, such as the wolves’ increased speed, and the bears’ increased endurance.
  • Hordes/Swarms
    Groups of Freakers that live together. There can be hundreds in a single area, so it’s a good idea for players to use their binoculars to scope out an area before making too much noise or deciding on a course of action.

Weapons

Thus far the exact range of weapons is unknown, but we have seen crossbows, grenades, iron bars, handguns, shotguns, baseball bats, proximity bombs, axes and knives in the various gameplay demos and trailers. Deacon can also craft weapons such a Molotov cocktails, so players will need to gather materials as they go along. Another possible weapon is a Freaker swarm or beast that can be lured into enemy camps as a diversionary tactic. Ammunition can also often be found in the trunks of police cars, which Deacon can Jimmy open with his knife.

Currency

Interestingly, Days Gone offers a rather macabre in-game currency in the form of Freaker ears. Essentially, players will be hacking off the ears of mutated humans and exchanging them for goods. Aside from being rather gruesome, it is also an interesting decision given that it is not yet clear how the infection is spread. I suppose we can assume that players will be drying out the ears to prevent decomposition and that all uninfected humans are immune to the virus.

In-game currency is necessary, as many upgrades and ammunition can only be bought from settlements. Trade is also the main method for establishing a rapport with newly encountered settlements. However, Deacon will also need to earn the trust of the settlers before they will be willing to trade with him, which will entail the fulfilment of various missions.

Locations

Days Gone is set In the Pacific Northwest, most likely due to the diversity of environments that the region offers developers. In fact, SIE Bend Studio’s website mentions that there will be everything from dessert landscapes to mountains, caves, river basins and snowy terrains. Whether this will include swimming is as yet announced but seems unlikely given that the game’s main focus is on slaughtering hordes of enemies and exploring the open road.

As it is open-world, players will be able to explore all structures and vehicles that they encounter along the way. Of course, the longer that they are stationary, the more likely it is that they will meet with unwanted company in the form of various infected mammals or uninfected enemies.

The world will function in real-time, meaning that there will be day/night and whether changes. This will affect both the lighting and functioning of characters in the world, including the Freakers.

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Faqs

There is a lot of rough, especially with the game’s pacing. Despite this, Days Gone often manages to over come its issues through heartfelt character moments, competent writing, and a good blend of gameplay mechanics that make it worth returning to, especially in the quieter early months of 2021.04-Feb-2021

But overcoming those struggles and making something out of the new world is always the lifeblood of great zombie fiction, and though Sony Bend gives its monsters a different name, Days Gone is one of the best genre video games ever produced.01-Jul-2021

Anyone who likes AAA open-world games will find things to like here — even if it doesn’t have anything standout about it. You could easily do a lot worse. I personally wouldn’t pay $50 USD for it at launch, but the game is worth a play for open-world zombie fans.18-May-2021

– 15 Metro Exodus.
– 14 Biomutant.
– 13 Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden.
– 12 Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.
– 11 State Of Decay 2.

According to former Bend Studio staffer Jeff Ross, Days Gone too sold over eight million copies within a year and a half of release but it was still portrayed as a disappointment. The title has since gone on to sell over a million more copies (and counting) on PC.06-Jan-2022

Conclusion

Days Gone is a post-apocalyptic third-person perspective solo shooter game where players are fighting an evolving threat of non-dead zombie-like mutated humans and other mammals. It is set in an open-world and while it has elements of a survival-game to it, the primary focus is

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