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.

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.

9 thoughts on “Bend Studio Proved the Review Scores Wrong with Days Gone

  1. I just found your blog, and agree with everything you’ve written. Bend has created something truly special in Days Gone, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mostly agree with what you said, or rather, what you said regarding Days Gone. I recently earned the Platinum for it and despite my initial impression of the game, ended up loving it and the characters, Boozer especially.

      My gripe with this article however falls on one very small opinion of yours, that games like No Man’s Sky and Battlefront 2 should be praised today. I believe the opposite, because as you also mentioned, single player games are a different beast. Online only games, or as they’re called today, GAAS titles, should succeed or crumble upon their launch. For one, they are incredibly shallow games that give the illusion of being packed with content when they’re all built around the exact same gameplay loop. Sea of Thieves, Fallout 76, No Man’s Sky, Anthem, Destiny especially, are games that never should have been given a second chance by anyone. That alone is incredibly harmful to the industry and even more harmful to consumers, because devs know they don’t have to try, we’ll just be glued to their teet until the game is good enough. Remember Evolve? Most don’t, because gamers rightfully abandoned it for it’s massive faults, then Destiny came along and lied to everyone, but because it was Bungie (who isn’t that great of a developer anyway) they were given a free pass and now everyone gets a free pass.

      Updates and patches for single player games are great, they should be acknowledged and reviews should be updated as the game is to reflect the current state. GAAS titles should not however. They are games built around a self sustainable economy and as such, if it fails, it shouldn’t continue crowding the market but rather be a hard lesson learned.

      Like

  2. That was the same reason why I didn’t purchase it at 1st but I just played it because I heard it was better , and I’m here to tell u “wow” . One of the best exclusives I’ve ever plsyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought the game was amazing. I understand that with anything there will be some glitches. The good thing is that they can be fixed with a patch. I would like to see some more intense firearms in the DG2. Great job with everything. Looking forward to see more games in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really loved this game, I screamed out every time those monsters or infected animals would come out of no where. This game song hell or high water loved it had to download it. I hope they make a days gone 2. I beat the game in three months and still play it totally loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Completely agree
    The video games industry is going to be like hollywood in a few years. Games are getting bigger and bigger so it’s just a matter for time. The problem even now is that already the “suits” are fucking up games with their critics and hidden agendas. The players should be the ones with an active voice. Never have I ever not buy a game because of a review. I usually watch the gameplay footage and that is what makes decide between buying a game or not and I will continue to do it that way. Only games that I will always buy without watching anything, is games like GTA or RDR. I live for those games and I really loved Days Gone. There are a few glitches here and there but who cares. I also think the games could have a few more options like character customize and hand to hand combat. Maybe in the next one and I do hope there is a next one. They have all the ingredients for a sequel and the story of this one leaves an open door for it. 4/5 ⭐ game for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Couldn’t have said it better myself! I shyed away from buying Days Gone on release because of the discouraging reviews, but earlier this year I read some player reviews and it was a different story. Took advantage of the sales and got a deluxe version, and I absolutely love this game, the story, the characters, everything! And any gameplay complaints I have are pretty much trivial and certainly didn’t ruin the immersion. I would recommend for any action adventure gamer.

    Liked by 1 person

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