Despite its mixed critical reception, Days Gone has managed to garner a decent amout of sales success so far. There’s a reason for this, as while it may seem like one’s average third-person survival title on the surface, what lies within is a myriad of impressive features that give the game’s world and its protagonist, Deacon St. John, their identity. These elements may not be entirely new to zombie fans, but each is noteworthy enough to warrant at least one playthrough. From gigantic Freaker hordes to random fistfights with strangers, the following are some of the neatest phenomenon that players will encounter throughout the 30-hour experience.
The Days Gone Freaker hordes are smart
Fans got to meet Days Gone‘s Freaker hordes when the game was announced at Sony’s E3 press conference three years ago. These creatures aren’t as mindless as one may assume, as they hunt for food and seek out shelter just like us human beings. When it’s cold outside or raining, most Freakers choose to remain indoors. When it’s a bright, sunny day, it’s not uncommon to see a massive group of Freakers migrating across the Pacific Northwest’s open plains.
Defeating these enemies involves a lot more than bullets, especially when one is tasked with eliminating their nests. In many cases, players must be prepared to utilize all the semiautomatic weapons, traps, explosives, and environmental hazards around them to their advantage. Finding vantage points on the map beforehand helps improve one’s chances of survival, but fans should know that Freakers will find intelligent ways to catch up with them.
These hordes are most menacing when one haphazardly runs into them in an abandoned town or riding along a decrepit highway. There’s no telling how many will appear at once or whether the terrain ahead will allow Deacon to escape with his bike. That’s not to mention that there are wolf, bear, and crow Freakers lurking in the wilderness. In this way, Days Gone conveys a constant sense of unease and keeps players on their toes, searching for whatever undead nightmares await them next.
The Days Gone Motorcycle customization options are deep
Deacon’s motorcycle in Days Gone is an integral part of the experience, as players will need it to navigate around Oregon and escape Freaker hordes. The Drifter’s engine, exhaust, tank, frame, tires, and more can be upgraded to improve key attributes like speed, fuel capacity, durability, and traction. Though it may be tempting to ram one’s bike into a group of incoming enemies right away, players should know that that comes at the cost of heavily damaging one’s ride. Thus, fans should learn how to max out the Drifter’s stats if they hope to have a lot of fun with the game. There’s nothing quite like trampling a wave of Freakers head-on, after all.
What makes the experience even better is the fact that players can swap decals, accent paints, frame paints, exhaust tips, front fenders, wheels, headlights, and more to create their dream motorcycle. These cosmetic options can be unlocked by completing specific story missions, turning in bounties, or building trust with the camps littered around the world. None of these can be bought through in-game transactions, which is a rarity among big budget titles today. This means that players can craft their own ultimate ride without having to worry about paying extra for a certain decal or paint. It’s all included under one price tag.
The Days Gone random encounters keep it fresh
As mentioned above, many of Days Gone‘s most dangerous encounters occur randomly while one is exploring the game’s open world. Freakers aren’t the only enemies that players need to be mindful of, as human marauders, rival gangsters, and members of the Rest in Peace cult seek to murder Deacon when he least expects. These foes will lay down tripwire on the road, hurl cars down cliffs, or snipe players off their motorcycles because they hate that players are having so much fun in their post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Everyone in the game isn’t out to hurt Deacon, however. Fans will come across haphazard instances where they must determine whether or not an NPC is worth saving. For example, they may find someone trapped in a vehicle surrounded by a Freaker horde. Players can save him or her by drawing the group’s attention away from the NPC, or just leave the human to die.
Fuel isn’t cheap in this world either. Fans may find themselves facing tough moral dilemmas where they simply can’t help someone in need, as doing so would cost them all their resources. It’s an accurate portrayal of what would happen in a real apocalypse. Probably.
Fans of Days Gone have plenty to look forward to this June, as Bend has already announced it plans to introduce a new difficulty mode called Survival and a slew of weekly challenges. Both will be available free of charge and will reward players with bike skins and trophies for their hard work. Days Gone may not be a sensation on the same level as God of War or The Last of Us, but it does include some cool features that give it an edge over its survival horror contemporaries. There’s great potential for a franchise here should Bend be willing enough to listen to feedback from the community. Of course, its Freaker hordes, motorcycle options, and random encounters on the road should be preserved, as these all give the game its bite.