By Rachael Fiddis – @IrishSoul81
I’ve always been fascinated by the apocalypse. People fighting for their survival, finding measures they never thought about before to just stay alive and watching how it changes the mindset of humanity. I understand that this is probably a pretty strange thing to say now given that most of the world is on lockdown due to a deadly virus and how some of the elements from my morbid curiosity has actually come to light.
When Bend Studio first introduced Days Gone almost 4 years ago at the Sony E3 2016 panel, naturally my eyes lit up. At first, it was the post-apocalyptic world that drew me in but as the developers released more gameplay and information about Days Gone, I started to realise that what really made this game so unique are the diverse characters and the meaty narrative draped across a beautifully crafted Oregon landscape.
As a video game reviewer, it’s always so important to me that I remain as open-minded and honest as possible so of course, I had a few doubts on whether the end result of Days Gone would make for appealing gameplay when it finally released. But on the day of launch and a few hours in, any doubts I previously had just washed away. The game immediately captured me. Not only was it stunning to explore with its vast lakes, majestic mountain range and lush forests – Deacon St. John instantly pulled at my heart-strings. Here was this tough but tattered biker, unafraid to show his emotions and who never gave up even when faced with hopelessness.
Days Gone led me down a path of so many feelings which for me, makes a game stand out from the rest. At any given time, I would feel a plethora of emotions from sadness, anger, grief, hopefulness and pain. The developers at Bend Studios not only created a game with substance, but they created a game that made you feel, whether you wanted to or not; you were instantly part and parcel of it.
As I said in my review of Days Gone, Bend Studio has crafted something unique to them, something personal, and something that asks players to enter with an open mind and a little patience. I think it’s plain to see that I loved my play through of Days Gone, so much in fact that I’ve since played it over again, gathering something new each time and Bend Studio have become one of my favorite game developers.
One of the elements that makes Bend Studio stand out so much isn’t solely their game, as fantastic as it is. Without a doubt, they are the most approachable, most interactive and friendliest developers I’ve come across. So much so that I’ve gotten to know a few on a personal level and who have also contributed to an upcoming feature of mine. Need to ask them a question about Days Gone? Count on them to reply to you over on Twitter even if it’s just to tell them how incredible they are.
So, we have an amazing game and an incredible development team – what about its community? Personally, I don’t usually engage too much with a game’s fan-base as sometimes it can be a little, how should I put it, obstinate? The Days Gone community is unbelievably wholesome, friendly, helpful and just a lovely bunch of people where I can even count some of them as good friends. For me, this is the cherry on top of an already special package which can be a rare find today.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every aspect that Days Gone has brought me in its one-year of existence. I want to say thank you to the developers at Bend Studio for putting their blood, sweat and tears into one of the best video games I’ve had the privilege to play and for opening their hearts to the players, even when they are hit with some negativity. I honestly can’t wait to see what’s next for Days Gone so I await with bated breath until I can experience another journey down the broken road.
In the words of Deacon St John – “why do we keep going on? Because what the hell else are we going to do?”