The Last Days

The seven year wait is over… The Last of Us Part II is out today! In celebration, I wanted to put my own spin on this week’s preparation for the game the only way I know how, Days Gone style. On Monday I started a little series called The Last Days combining Days Gone and The Last of Us together for one ultimate crossover. Each day I posted photos, fun questions and comparisons on Twitter for people to join in on the discussion. Thank you all for participating, it was a lot of fun! To end The Last Days series, I wanted to dive a little deeper into the comparisons of both games and reveal the winners you answered for the questions during the week.

*Major SPOILERS ahead for both games*

They’re Not Zombies

First and foremost, both games do not include the term zombies. This is a similarity between the two games, but also a difference. The word zombie is casually thrown out by people in regards to any dead or undead human that has formed into a cannibalistic creature in media. Both games took the sense of a zombie, and spun the genre to fit their own creative story.

In Days Gone, the infected humans or animals in this case are called Freakers. The Freaker Virus was developed from research done at Cloverdale Lab. The virus was spread across the world by one person who unknowingly was infected by trying to expose the corrupt Cloverdale at an environmental convention. At the convention held in Portland, Oregon the infection spread from person to person where they then traveled back home all over the world. Freakers have multiple stages including Swarmers, Bleachers, Newts, Screamers, Reachers, Breakers and an Intelligent type. Freakers are not dead in the way you think of zombies. The virus also crossed species infecting different animals including wolves, bears, crows and bats.

In The Last of Us, a parasitic fungal infection or commonly known as the Cordyceps Brain Infection is what devastated humankind causing the fungus to grow while the host is still alive. The infection grows in multiple stages with each stage more dangerous than the last. If infected, a host begins as a Runner. If the host continues to “survive” it can move on to a Stalker, Clicker or Bloater. It all depends on the length of infection.

Quick Points:

  • Both games use the term “Runners” as a type of infected. Both are dramatically different.
  • Both games use a “heavy” class for their infected. The Last of Us – Bloater. Days Gone – Breaker.
  • The Last of Us infected is classified as classes based on the duration of infection. Days Gone is classified as types depending on how the virus infected a person based on structural DNA or evolution of the virus.

Story Beats

If you examine any story close enough to another you will find some similarities most of the time, especially in a post-apocalyptic setting. Looking at the story alone, here are some of the story beats I found that relate to each other in some way.

Let’s start at the beginning. In both games, the story begins pre-apocalypse as we start to see the world go into chaos. Deacon and Joel both lose someone (in some capacity) they love very much. As a player, we are then connected to those characters because we feel their grief; we are invested on where the story goes, what happened to the world and how does this character move on from here? The title of each game then pops up onto your screen, giving you goosebumps knowing that these stories are going to be emotional. Days Gone pushes you 2 years later from that opening scene and The Last of Us pushes you 20 years later. Right away, we learn who Deacon and Joel have become in this new world; Deacon a drifter and bounty hunter, and Joel a smuggler. Both men also have a companion in Boozer and Tess. We begin to put our thumbs on the sticks and experience what life has been for both pairs in the apocalypse. Deacon and Boozer begin a chase with Leon, and Joel and Tess head to see Robert for their guns.

Now, let’s fast forward a little further and go back to the infected, more specifically the “heavy” class we talked about earlier. The first boss fight in each game involved the big brutes, the Breaker and the Bloater. The Breaker and the Bloater interrupted Deacon and Joel’s missions to gather an item; Deacon the antibiotics and Joel the car battery.

Fast forward even more to see the relation of the importance to the school missions. In Days Gone, Deacon and Sarah go to Chemult Community College to find a centrifuge for her research. In The Last of Us, Joel and Ellie went to Eastern Colorado University (Go Big Horns!) in search of the Fireflies. Each story beat to a school was a critical moment in both stories.

The last story beat I wanted to hit was the ending to each game. In Days Gone, Deacon shoots his way through a heavily fortified camp to rescue his wife Sarah. In The Last of Us, Joel shoots his way through the hospital to save Ellie. Both endings included a lot of casualties with two men determined to reach their goal of saving someone they love. In the end, Deacon and Joel went through a lot more than any man can bear, but they survived and they moved on with the person who they love and who changed them as a man.

Character Match

Days Gone and The Last of Us have an incredible cast of characters making each one just as memorable as the next. With strong women characters, to a great display of diversity, villains and original characters, it shows why these stories are so well received. Below, I have put together a list of some of the characters from both games to show how each character relates to their counterpart in the other game.

Deacon — Joel

Survivors, seeking redemption

Sarah — Marlene

Stubborn, focused, aimed at the greater good

Boozer — Tommy

When you need them, they will be there for you

Iron Mike — Bill

They’ve seen it all. You want these men on your side if you can

Lisa — Ellie

Innocence turned into survivalist

Rikki — Tess

Tough, independent, will take care of business

Twitter – The Last Days

If you missed anything regarding The Last Days short series, you can look back at all the tweets here. Also, the winners are revealed from each question that you answered during the week. I was very happy to see all the love for Days Gone!

Winner: Deacon St. John

Winner: People would rather face the Runner in The Last of Us

Winner: Breaker

Winner: Colonel Garret

Winner: Freakers

Winner: Boozer

I hope you all enjoyed The Last Days crossover series! Somehow, I always find a way to sneak Days Gone into something. Have fun this weekend, don’t post spoilers and endure and survive. Those Days are Gone waiting for The Last of Us Part II!

Bend Studio Proved the Review Scores Wrong with Days Gone

It’s time to let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to enjoy a video game that was meant to be great. No, I’m not trying to bring anyone to the dark side here, but am referring to video game review scores especially concerning Days Gone by Bend Studio.

We are in an age of video games where we are spoiled by the quality of graphics, storytelling and developers pushing the creative envelope. Games are so large and ambitious that sometimes players run into a glitch or two. Before, once a game was released nothing could be done, but now any known issues that arise can be patched and updated to give the players as perfect of a game as possible. I think us as players take that for granted. Post-launch support from studios should be praised more because it shows they care about their work. Games take a long time to make and there is a lot behind the scenes we don’t see in the development process. So, next time you play a game that isn’t 100% perfect, sit back and just relax. The people who make these games are gamers just like you and I. They want to enjoy the game the same way you do.

Unfortunately, those immediate bugs don’t receive the same forgiveness by the critics. Days Gone won’t get the same treatment as games like No Man’s Sky or Star Wars Battlefront II because single player driven games don’t get the luxury of having their review scores updated. Both games mentioned prior rightfully deserve that praise after turning a sour launch into two successful games as a service for their communities. What I’m trying to say is that launch scores don’t correlate to the successfulness of a game. We all know Days Gone received mediocre scores when it was released, but you also have to take into consideration the state of the game that the reviewers had before the game was even out to the general public yet. When is it time for the players to throw away the review scores?

A little over a year later since Days Gone was released back in April 2019, word of mouth from players and the financial selling success makes those review scores moot at this point. According to the NPD Group (via Venture Beat), Days Gone was the 8th best-selling PlayStation 4 game of 2019, making it the top PlayStation selling exclusive last year. Plus, it made the top 10 best-selling digital games in 2019 too, selling more than major titles like Mortal Kombat 11 and Borderlands 3 according to @BenjiSales. However, I still receive so many questions whether to buy the game even now because of those same review scores. If you are still on the fence about purchasing Days Gone, I am here today to show you that you need to ignore the scores at this point because it is not a fair reflection of the current game. I honestly never understood the review scores in the first place, but thats a topic for another day. Bend Studio showed massive support for Days Gone from day one all the way up to January of this year. From general fixes and performance issues, to free added content, accessibility options and more.


Free Added Content

During the summer months of 2019, players were able to jump into brand new challenge modes every Friday for 12 straight weeks. The challenge modes aimed to test your skills in a variety of ways including timed trials on the bike, unlimited hordes, crazy taxi using a golf cart and surviving ambush camps. Each challenge consisted of three sub-challenges where you could earn credits by receiving gold, silver or bronze rank to unlock character skins, bike skins, rings to help achieve higher scores and patches with boosted stats that carry over to the story. All of this was completely free! The challenge modes are a permanent feature on Days Gone and they can be accessed at any time. Whether you are a brand new player who hasn’t started the story yet or a veteran that’s beaten the game multiple times you can hop right into the challenges from the main menu.

Customizing your drifter bike is a huge component in Days Gone. From performance upgrades, to visual upgrades and the color or design of your bike’s paint job there is a wide range of selection to make the bike your style. Bend Studio collaborated with other Sony studios such as Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, Guerilla and others to create unique bike skins based on their games. You can choose to ride the broken road using a God of War bike skin, Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted, Concrete Genie and Death Stranding. Bend Studio even added a nod to their previous games, Syphon Filter. Once again, all of this was free to every player!

The most requested feature from players was also added to Days Gone, New Game Plus. Bend took it one step further though and added a brand new weapon to New Game Plus, the BND-150. This weapon is a powerful sniper rifle with multiple different types of ammo serving as another nod to Syphon Filter. Not only did they add this game mode, but added more gameplay difficulties as well including Hard II, Survival and Survival II. The Survival modes eliminate the HUD (you can momentarily pull it up by pressing L3) and fast travel creating an immersive experience in the harsh Pacific Northwest.

Another added feature was the ability to reset Hordes, Ambush Camps and Infestation Zones as much as you want. This gives you more playability and let’s you experiment different ways to tackle the open world. Take a look at Patch 1.60 notes HERE on the conditions needed to activate this feature.

For you PlayStation trophy hunters out there, new trophies were added for the challenge modes, New Game Plus and the survival mode difficulty too.

Fixes and Improvements

From the first initial patch during launch week to the final patch in January, Bend Studio proved that they were committed to Days Gone and they wanted to provide you the best possible experience with it. Even after 5+ years developing the game, they continued to show support to the community by listening to the player’s requests and fixing any issues that needed to be addressed.

You can go HERE to see the final patch notes and all the updates that were released.

Improvements to stability and optimization were constantly made post-launch and the technical issues that you may have read in reviews from a year ago are no longer an issue. In fact, if you already own a digital version of Days Gone and you haven’t taken advantage yet, you have the option to redownload the game data freeing up more hard-drive space creating an up to date compiled file. Plus, the update brings optimization improvement to all players.

A simple, but important quality of life fix was added early on as players can pick up and swap weapons on the ground with the “Triangle” button. Before, all items were picked up with the use of the “Square” button causing you to grab items off the ground you weren’t aiming to get. Everything was looked at and improved by the team at Bend and no stone was unturned.

Accessibility Options

Accessibility options make any game more accessible for all players. Instead of giving you a description of each option, you can see the list below on everything that was implemented. You can adjust any of these options in the pause menu under Options.

  • Inverted Horizontal/Vertical Camera Controls
  • Camera Follow Tracking
  • Disable Controller Speakers
  • Subtitle Size
  • Subtitle Background
  • Subtitle Speaker Names
  • Repeated Button Presses
  • Repeated Button Size
  • Easier Sprint Activation
  • Touchpad Dead Zones
  • Motion Sensor Function Aiming
  • Auto-complete QTE (Easy Mode Only)
  • Controller Dead Zone
  • UI High Contrast Color Mode
  • New Linear Option for Aiming

Awards

Days Gone was nominated for multiple awards in 2019 and rightfully snagged a few of them. Unfortunately, it was snubbed out of the popular Game Awards (still not happy about that). However, Days Gone received PlayStation Game of the Year and Best Storytelling for the 37th Golden Joystick Awards. In my opinion, these two awards are worth more merit because they are voted on by the players who purchase and play the game. Days Gone also won 2019 Best Visual Design for the TIGA Games Industry Awards.

Days Gone won multiple awards for the 2019 PlayStation.Blog awards including Best PlayStation Console Exclusive, Best Narrative, Best Performance and Best Soundtrack. Recently, it also picked up another award for Best Music/Sound Design in The Webby Awards.

The composer behind Days Gone, Nathan Whitehead grabbed multiple nominations for his beautifully haunting and raw score including the Jerry Goldsmith Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards, Gamemusic.net’s Reader’s Choice Album of the Year and ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award. You can read more about his process of creating the Days Gone score in an interview I had with him last year.

Conclusion

There is no better time to start riding the broken road than now, especially with the current Days of Play sale running up until June 17th in North America. Days Gone is listed at its lowest price yet at only $14.79 on the PS Store! Recently, the same sale was held in the UK where Days Gone took advantage and moved into the top 10 (number 6) of best-selling games for the month of May, according to Push Square. If you need to see how the game looks, go HERE for a gallery of in-game photos I captured with photo mode.

*UPDATE 7/23/20: Days Gone is 33% off right now on the PlayStation Store Summer Sale until August 5th! Both standard and deluxe are on sale!*

Stop thinking about the review scores and try Days Gone out if you haven’t. It’s time to throw the review scores away and decide if you like the game for yourself. Bend Studio proved the review scores wrong. The players have spoken, the numbers don’t lie and the proof has been laid out above. Fuel up your bike and hit the broken road, but remember… This world comes for you.

Content Update and a Spark of Days Gone Inspiration

The past couple of days I have struggled with trying to find the best thing to do with my Days Gone content. On one hand, posting content can be a happy distraction for people and give people the positive vibes in their daily routine. But, on the other hand I want to make sure that the important voices are being heard around the world, and that we focus our attention on these serious and far more important issues of injustice and racism. You may have noticed that I have been quieter on social media because of this reason. Out of respect to everyone, I have chosen to stay silent with my Days Gone content and aim my attention at the bigger picture for this week. Today’s blog post is an exception to provide you all an update on what will be happening soon as I had to push a couple things back. The new theme for June’s VP Days Gone will now be announced on Monday June 8th. There will also be a new blog post coming to The Broken Road on Tuesday June 9th. I will resume sharing my daily photos starting next week as well. #FanArtFriday will still be featured tomorrow, June 5th. Thank you for your understanding.


Before you go, I wanted to share this little piece today due to the relevance of it and in hopes of giving you a spark of inspiration to unite together. Video games have the ability to provide you with an impactful story that makes you feel connected to the characters and the trials they face. There’s a sense of reality that causes you to think deeper about the themes being told, and as a player you can connect it to your personal life or real world issues. I’m of course talking about the story of Days Gone and the importance of the central themes of the story that relate to our present moment.

Strip away the post-apocalyptic setting, strip away the Freakers and look solely at the characters and how they all come together at the very end of the game. (Major SPOILERS ahead)…

At the end of Days Gone, Deacon realizes that his little pocket of the world is in serious danger by Colonel Garret and the militia located at Wizard Island. The events that led up to this moment, and being saved by Kouri gives Deacon something to live and fight for. He is willing to put other people’s lives ahead of his own ambitions. He knew that this mission was bigger than just one person even if it was his wife after experiencing everything he went through to find her. His goal was to protect his friends and to create a better future in a world of nothing but chaos.

Deacon returns to Lost Lake and finds Iron Mike dead. As tragic as it is, it motivates the people in the camp to serve justice and to do the right thing. The campers rally around Deacon and come to his aid in dedication to Iron Mike. The people know they are outnumbered and outgunned by the militia, but they chose to unite and fight together for a common goal. It wasn’t just Lost Lake that joined in this fight though; Copeland’s Camp and Hot Springs came together as well. People living in different camps, with different backgrounds and a variety of different ethnicities united as one to fight for what was right.

That all sounds a little familiar, right? Whether it’s a video game or real life we all have one thing in common, we are human. We help when people need it, we look forward to the future with hope and we try to make the world a better place than what it was before. We will get through this because you are not alone. We hear you, we see you and we are with you. Stay safe everyone!

In an effort to help in a very small way, I am also holding a giveaway on Twitter for a digital code for someone to receive Days Gone. To enter, you must donate at least $1 and share a screenshot of your donation in the comments. I will then choose a random winner on Friday, June 5th at 5:00 pm EST. You can enter by clicking directly on the tweet below.

“We make the world what it is, by what we do. All of us.” -Iron Mike