Bend Studio Proved the Review Scores Wrong with Days Gone
June 9, 2020
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 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
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.
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.
A Beginner’s Guide
December 2, 2019
With the holiday season coming up, Days Gone will be under a lot of people’s Christmas trees. I figured this would be a good time to write “a beginner’s guide” to Days Gone for new players jumping in for the very first time. Don’t worry, this will be spoiler free! My goal is to inform you of the type of experience you can expect such as playtime, content and other general questions. After completing multiple playthroughs myself and trying different ways to play each time, I wanted to give some advice on how to survive the world of Days Gone with some things I learned along the way.
First things first, let’s get the logistics out of the way. How many hours can you expect to put into Days Gone? If you like to push through the story only, you can expect to finish around 30-35 hours. If you are a completionist looking to get the Platinum trophy, you can bump up that number to about 60 hours or so. This includes completing the multiple storylines implemented in Days Gone, along with finding collectibles scattered in the open-world. Bend Studio, the developer behind Days Gone provided a lot of free content post-launch to give you even more playtime than the 60 hours mentioned above. The new content includes:
- New Game Plus with three more levels of difficulties; Survival I, Survival II and Hard II.
- 12 challenge modes to test your skills by fighting unlimited hordes, completing objectives, racing your bike through timed trials and more.
With the new content above, Bend Studio also added more PlayStation trophies to earn through the challenges and new game plus mode. If you really want to invest your time in this world like me, you can be playing well over 100+ hours.
Here is a quick rundown of some other general questions players usually have before purchasing a game:
- Is there Photo Mode?
- Yes! One of the best Photo Modes to date too!
- Is there customization?
- You can customize your bike with multiple skins featuring God of War, Death Stranding, Horizon Zero Dawn and a lot more. Plus, you can change the colors and accessories on your bike.
- Is there multiplayer?
- Is it open-world?
- Can you fast travel?
- Yes, you can. EXCEPT, in Survival I and Survival II difficulty modes.
- Is it a PlayStation exclusive?
- Yes, it is.
*Days Gone is the winner of the 2019 Golden Joystick Awards for Best Storytelling and PlayStation Game of the Year.*
The world of Days Gone is unforgiving, and any advantages you can get can be beneficial to your survival. There are four important elements in helping you survive the post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest; bike upgrades, weapons, skills and boosts. I want to give you some advice on what to focus on and how it can help you gain an advantage early on. Plus, another little tidbit I wish I knew before playing the first time!
First, there is a story point very early on where you will have to choose between camps. (I won’t provide the context to keep safe of all spoilers). It will boil down to what you want upgraded with the in-game currency (credits). One camp supplies guns (Tucker), and the other camp supplies bike upgrades (Copeland). My suggestion here is to choose Copeland because your bike is crucial to everything you do in Days Gone. From your fuel tank, to durability, exhaust noise and speed it will make a world a difference when focusing your credits toward upgrades on your bike. Not to mention, you will receive enough credits at Tucker’s camp quickly to upgrade your guns anyway. Choosing Copeland gives you the most bang for your buck! As you progress through the story, you will be able to purchase more upgrades to your bike and gain better weapons.
In the beginning, your weapons will be weak. One weapon you can get early on that you will continue to use throughout the whole game is a sidearm called the SMP9. You can gain this weapon by defeating any four hordes. In my opinion, it’s the best sidearm weapon in the game and provides a great counterpart to your primary, especially during horde situations. The best weapons in the game are found later and will require credits and trust (you can gain ‘trust’ by completing side-missions in that specific region). More specifically, you won’t be able to reach the best primary guns in the game until after the midway point when you reach a place called Wizard Island. Once you are there, you can focus on purchasing the Chicago Chopper.
Skills and boosts are the two things that improve your character of Deacon St. John. I won’t touch on the skills part because that will vary depending on how you want to play. I do however want to touch on the boosts. You will receive these boosts when you come across NERO locations. Finding an injector will provide you with a permanent boost of health, stamina or focus depending on what you choose. There are 30 injectors in total, making 10 injectors the max for each category. My suggestion is to concentrate on stamina first. Stamina plays a huge role in Days Gone, mainly when tackling hordes. Focus is another boost that will be very important in helping you mow down a sea of Freakers. For example, for your first five NERO injectors you find, I would break it down as 3 stamina, 1 focus and 1 health.
Scavenging for supplies is all part of surviving. You will always need ammo, medkits and fuel to move onto the next mission. Early in the game you will find yourself running out of these supplies a lot. Running out of fuel means walking your bike, or exploring the Freaker infested land by foot. Upgrades will help with managing fuel and your inventory as you progress through the story. Before that, you will need to manage your inventory well to stay alive. A few tips to finding these supplies should make your life a lot easier. Ammo can be found in police cars. Medkits are found in ambulances. Fuel can be found on tow trucks, and believe it or not gas stations. You can go right up to the fuel pump for some self-service!
The last thing I wanted to mention is that there are two points in the game where you will advance the story and you won’t be able to go back (it will let you know when). Don’t worry, this is temporary and once the story is complete you will be able to free roam the entire map! Oh, and here’s that tidbit I mentioned earlier: Try to gain level 3 trust at Copeland’s camp and Tucker’s camp before the endgame mission called, “You Can’t Do This Alone.”
Hopefully, this has provided you with a good idea on what to expect with Days Gone and how to begin your own journey on the broken road.
Why Days Gone Should Win Game of the Year
October 8, 2019
It’s that time of the year again where the video game industry begins to ask the monumental question; who will win Game of the Year? As each year passes, the stakes for this prestigious award rises. The winners from the previous three years were God of War, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Overwatch. Each one of these games changed the way we look at games in the future for their respective genres. We look at those games as the pillars for story-telling, action-adventure and first-person shooters. In 2019, what game will become part of that elite club? What game created something original? What game delivered the best experience this year? Here are some of the notable games for 2019 to consider; Resident Evil 2 Remake, Control, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Borderlands 3, Gears 5, Outer Wilds and Days Gone.
Today, I am here to plead my case for Days Gone and why I think it deserves to win Game of the Year for 2019. Days Gone has dominated in sales ranking sixth in the all-time best-selling list for PlayStation 4 exclusives, according to the NPD. That is an extraordinary accomplishment considering the game has only been out for five months. The financial success obviously doesn’t determine the whole picture on why a game should be considered for Game of the Year, but it does show its merit with the gaming society. I want to look past the numbers though and explain why Days Gone rises above the rest in gameplay, narrative, originality and technical aspects.
If you know nothing about Days Gone and you look at the cover, you may see just see another iteration of zombies. However, that is not the case and my point to this article is to show you the innovation behind it all. The Freakers in this game are not dead. The Freakers are a whole new threat that you haven’t seen in video games. The outbreak didn’t just affect humans, but it affected animals as well and there is not just one type of Freaker like there are with zombies in movies and television shows. Each Freaker type has their own characteristics and behavior. For example, infected adolescents are called Newts. Newts have the physical appearance of young teenagers and will only attack you when low on health. They like to watch from rooftops and crawl to traverse. Breakers are another type of Freaker that play the opposite role of Newts. They are enormous and strong and will charge at you on sight with powerful attacks. There are ten types of Freakers making the game feel fresh throughout your whole playthrough as you learn new strategies to defeat each one. Once the virus spread across the world turning animals and humans into cannibalistic creatures, it didn’t stop there. The Freakers are evolving throughout the story and leaves us questions on this dangerous threat for the future of Days Gone. Each Freaker raises the stake of the last one you encountered never creating a dull moment in the world. This is not just another zombie game.
I didn’t even mention the innovative horde mechanic yet. The hordes in Days Gone are one of the most impressive aspects of the game. There are 40 hordes ranging in size spread across the map. The hordes don’t just sit in one spot waiting for you to ambush them though. They migrate from their hibernation nests (usually in a cave) to locations of water, or you will see them just wandering around. As you make your way to the next mission, you may stumble upon a horde crossing the road. You either fight or turn around and ride away. Every time you encounter a horde, it’s an adrenaline rush. With the hordes placed in different environments, it allows you as the player to strategize your attack, place traps and create an exit plan. Battling hordes are a fun and addicting gameplay loop always keeping you on the edge of your seat.
New original enemy types, check. New horde mechanics, check. Now, onto the motorcycle which adds multiple layers to the game including the connection to the narrative and gameplay elements. At the very beginning of the game, you start off with a loaded motorcycle to give you a taste of what you can expect as you move forward. Unfortunately, that motorcycle gets taken away from you quickly, and your left with a basic bike with no upgrades. After realizing the potential of your bike, the bare bones motorcycle just doesn’t match up. It’s slow, the exhaust is loud, the tires have very little traction, fuel tank is small and there are no other accessories to protect it from damage. This is when you realize that the drifter bike is more than just a means of transportation, but a whole other character in the game. As you would upgrade your character in other games with better armor, better weapons and your own personal taste of appearance, is how you approach Deacon’s motorcycle. There are certain spots in the world that your basic bike will not be able to get to because it won’t have the engine power to go off a ramp and clear the gap. These spots are called NERO Research Site locations and are beneficial to you for leveling up Deacon to take on the larger hordes later. There are also countless ways to customize your bike from colors, to decals, special bike skins and accessories. Days Gone makes it a point for you to go out in the world and complete missions to be able to purchase upgrades for your bike. Better yet, each mission you do connects to the overall storyline making your time feel worth it. More on the narrative structure later. The post-apocalyptic Oregon is not a place that you want to walk around. Bridges are collapsed, roads are blocked and Freakers are everywhere. Days Gone did a great job in making the motorcycle feel apart of the world. By the end of the game, it will persuade you to start wanting to ride a motorcycle in real life!
Stories are what moves us, inspires us and change us. Days Gone is a narrative focus game that intertwines multiple storylines to the overall arch. The narrative structure is different than most open-world games. The side missions are not just fetch quests or a checklist to mark off, but separate storylines that connect to each other. Everything you do will advance the narrative in some way immersing you more into the world. The narrative is not laid right out in front of you either. In no way am I saying this is a bad thing, but quite the opposite. There is a lot of world-building at play during some of these storylines and its your job to connect them and learn more about the world around you. The player and Deacon are learning together creating a bond between you and the character. The best stories are layered with emotion and Days Gone checks all the boxes with mystery, hope, love, regret, brotherhood and trust.
The thing that ties it all together between the story, gameplay, and creative decisions is the technical side behind it. Days Gone is one of the best-looking games on the PlayStation 4 due to its dynamic weather and the beauty of nature and destruction. (Take a look for yourself at the gallery of in-game photos here: Photo Mode). The audio beats pair perfectly with the visuals adding to the realistic environment. Throw in the score composed by Nathan Whitehead as you are about to encounter a horde and you will soon realize what makes Days Gone so special. The details of Deacon’s hair moving during the gusts of wind, the snow covering dead bodies on the ground, the mud spraying from the back tire as you drift around the corner are just a few details that show the love and care that was put into the technical side of the game.
Why should Days Gone win Game of the Year? Because it rises above the rest in gameplay, narrative, originality and technical aspects. The gameplay provided me with the most thrilling and fun I’ve had in any video game. The story of Days Gone created an impactful and memorable experience. There has been nothing like Days Gone before. The setting of desolate Oregon, the band of motorcycle riders and the threat of new enemies is original and stands unique among other post-apocalyptic video games. The graphics are second to none with superb lighting, foliage and landscapes. I could sit here all day writing the praises I have for this game, but I wanted to focus on the points that make Days Gone original and unique. Bend Studio achieved an ambitious feat that deserves a lot of recognition. Days Gone is a phenomenal game and is worthy of being crowned Game of the Year.
Remember, whenever you post your photos or videos about Days Gone on social media just add the hashtag #GOTY to give Bend Studio a little boost in exposure for the award season. You can also go vote for Days Gone for the 2019 Golden Joystick Awards right now! Days Gone was nominated for Best Storytelling, Best Audio and PlayStation Game of the Year. Head to the Home page above and follow the link to cast your vote.
Source: NPD via: PushSquare
Theory: Deacon and NERO
September 26, 2019
Are you ready to put your tinfoil hat on? Well, I have a theory about our friend Deacon St. John and what could possibly be his demise down the road. Before that, I dig into NERO’s supervillain plan and begin to think if I am really this crazy. Hope you enjoy!
From the very beginning of the story, we see the connection of Deacon and NERO. From the time Sarah gets on the helicopter, to the revelation of O’Brian at the end of the game. I believe there is something behind the connection of Deacon and NERO than just finding Sarah. Add in the fact that we find out later in the game that Sarah knows the virus came directly from her lab at Cloverdale. If NERO is a government agency and Sarah has security clearance, wouldn’t they want to keep close tabs on the person that may have contributed to the virus? Could it be some huge elaborate plan from the head of NERO to track Deacon in finding Sarah? Is Sarah the key to all of this?
O’Brian has been out of the loop with his own agency as he uses Deacon to gain intel on other researchers. The head of NERO could be using O’Brian and Deacon as puppets to reach Sarah. However, if they already know where Sarah is from her surgery at Silver Lake Emergency Facility, then are they tracking Deacon’s movements to find out more about the Freakers? Deacon could just be another body in their mind doing their dirty work as they gain more information by the day. Using a survivor instead of one of their own soldiers to dive into caves and find locations of hordes is pretty clever if I say so myself. Now you may be thinking, how could NERO possibly know the location of Deacon at all times? By the NERO radio that Deacon has attached to him! Inside the radio could be a GPS tracker following his every move. Deacon has that radio on him all the way to the point where NERO almost picks Sarah and him up at Wizard Island. Coincidence?
All of this brings me to my main point for the end of Deacon St. John. So, NERO knows where Deacon has been traveling. They know where Sarah is. They know about all the NERO research sites he has visited. What if they’re not following him just for information on the Freakers, but using him as an experiment? In a post-apocalyptic world, any type of medicine is crucial to surviving. Nevertheless, NERO leaves injectors behind that seem to be very beneficial. That would be something you would want to have in your possession, correct? Unless, you meticulously leave it there for a reason. NERO tracks Deacon as he goes from research site to research site knowing very well that he is gathering any supplies he can find. Each injector provides Deacon with a boost of stamina, focus or health leaving him the perfect bait to gain any little advantage over hordes of Freakers. What if that injector is filled with the Freaker virus?
“What if that injector is filled with the Freaker virus?”
Let’s assume that Deacon along with the other survivors are immune to the virus, but these injectors are slowly pumping Deacon with it. Over time, will he become an intelligent Freaker type like O’Brian? If infected, this would grant Deacon with enhanced strength and agility, while still containing his human intelligence. Knowing who the character of Deacon St. John is and his code, once he would become aware of the transformation, he would want to die before becoming one of them. Before he gets to the point of death though, NERO’s main goal would be to capture Deacon and use him for their own purpose (whatever that may be). However, NERO would be unsuccessful in capturing Deacon because Boozer would be the one to kill his own brother to spare him.
I’m losing you now, right? Let me bring the ending of this theory full circle with the death of Deacon. Remember during the story when you must find Boozer drunk and wandering the broken road? When Deacon finds him, Boozer is ready to die by the horde in front of him. Deacon reminds him of the time when his old lady was killed, and he found him halfway through a case of whiskey about to drink himself to death. If he was going to drink himself to death, then Deacon would be right there with him because “that’s what brothers do.” Now, you’re beginning to ask yourself why wouldn’t Boozer die along with his brother? Right before Deacon dies, he asks his brother for one last promise – to keep Sarah safe.
Here is some additional evidence I wanted you to see that could relate to my theory. Below, is the dialogue from O’Brian when you meet him at the cemetery in the post-credits scene after he removes his helmet:
“They knew all along, of course, that it was happening.”
“The men above me? That’s why they were so cautious, so secretive.”
“There’s nothing you can do to stop them.”
If this is how Deacon dies, does this occur at the end of Days Gone 3? You can then decide to move the franchise forward in two different ways; move to a whole new location with new characters or continue the story of brotherhood with Boozer keeping his promise to Deacon as you follow the journey of Boozer and Sarah.
Did you keep up with me with all that rambling? As I was writing this theory, I kept branching off with even more possibilities causing even my head to spin. Is this theory far-fetched? Of course it is, but speculating the unlikely scenarios is what makes theorizing so enjoyable. Do you have any theories yourself? Head to the bottom of this page and click the Discord icon to join The Broken Road server where we chat about everything and anything Days Gone and let me know what you think!
What I Would Like To See In Days Gone 2
July 10, 2019
I wanted to talk more about the game itself, specifically Days Gone 2 and beyond. As I’m making my way through the survival run of the story, a few ideas popped into my head that I think could be fascinating features to this franchise. Probably nothing the development team at Bend Studio hasn’t already thought of, but rather my own preferences of what I would like to see. The ideas I discuss below will be related to the story, and not on the technical aspects or other game modes such as, multiplayer.
Being able to pick the colors of your motorcycle, along with adding decals and customizing the appearance of your bike was a great feature in the game. I loved switching the look of my bike every so often, especially with the stunning bike skins you would receive as rewards. I would like to take those same features and apply it to Deacon too. Take a Red Dead Redemption 2 style approach to it to fully customize Deacon any way you want. From the colors of his weapons, to the different types of hats, pants, boots, shirts and so on. Do you want Deacon with long hair or short hair? Beard or no beard? That would give the player the ability to create a unique look for Deacon. For Days Gone, no customization worked in its favor because it served the purpose of the story. It would have made no sense for them to add in this feature because wearing his Mongrels colors (cut) were a key part in the progression of Deacon’s story. The cut was symbolic toward the actions of Deacon and the path he was taking.
How would you acquire these new clothes? In Red Dead Redemption, you can go to multiple stores to buy anything you need by searching the catalogue. In Days Gone, there are no more stores or customer service left in the world. So, there are two ways you could outfit Deacon with different clothes:
- Buy clothes at the camps using credits.
- Since this world is about surviving, you could scavenge clothes from abandon cars or take the clothes off the back of a deceased body.
This world comes for you, right? That means you need to stay on your toes and be prepared to fight at any given notice. Camps may be safe for the most part, but what happens if a horde comes through? A couple guards and barbed wire fence may stall the oncoming attack, but eventually they will break through and that camp will no longer be safe. My suggestion is to have the ability to create defensive strategies and equip your camp with traps, weapons, guards, etc. Look at the concept of upgrading Mother Base on Metal Gear Solid V. When you are out in the world, you gather materials to help you expand your base creating more room to recruit soldiers and build a stronger army. You can also extract weapons you find to better suit your soldiers for any potential attacks. You even can send people out on missions to gather specific supplies that you need. See where I’m going with this?
The same concept could be applied to the camps in Days Gone. Wood is scattered all over Oregon and could be a useful material for Deacon to gather to help create more houses in the camps or larger walls on the perimeter. That hatchet you can equip could come in handy for this mechanic! Another searchable item you could find in the world could be plants. Yes, you find plants in Days Gone already, but this time it could be used to stock up the infirmary to help not just you but the whole camp.
Weapons you find from taking down ambush campers and marauders, could be stored in the armory. The armory would be used to equip your campers with better weapons to protect the camp. This would also apply to extra kerosene, bottles, remote bombs, and other traps you craft to be placed there. Instead of Deacon using all the materials for himself, he is also finding materials to help the camp strive.
Remember riding along the broken road and finding somebody trapped in a car surrounded by Freakers? In the story, you can help that person and send them to a camp and in return you gain trust and camp credits. Instead, that person could now be used as a guard too. As the player, you can equip him with a specific weapon and place him wherever you want in the camp. Same thing with traps, you can use strategy to place them where you think your camp is weak or vulnerable. I know I said I wouldn’t talk about game modes, but this could add an intriguing online mode with players trying to infiltrate your camp to steal materials and recruit more people for their own camp.
Trust is a huge theme in the story and plays into the gameplay part of it as well. The more missions you do, the more bounties you collect and hordes you take out increase your Trust status for the camps. With the added feature of upgrading your camp, another points system could come into play as you do missions throughout the story, Security. Not only will you as a player gain access to more weapons and upgrades with the Trust you earn, but the new Security status could open another tree of upgrades and items to improve your camp.
More Freaker Animals
We are not exactly sure how the virus operates yet as we see some animals are not infected, such as wolves, bears, cougars and dogs. However, there are three infected animal species that we do see during the story. The Rager Bear, Runners and Criers. The Rager Bear is a fierce monstrous bear that is hard to take down, consuming a lot of bullets to defeat it. Runners are wolves that can run as fast as Deacon’s motorcycle. When they get close they will lung to throw you off your bike and attack in packs. Criers are annoying ravens that create nests high up on trees and telephone poles. If you don’t burn out the nests, they will swoop down to attack you. Infected bats were also mentioned in Researcher Field Note 0701. Since we see that the Freaker virus infected these animals, which other animals could it infect?
I did a little research and looked at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website to see what other types of animals inhabit that territory that we could possibly see in future games. I came across an assortment of wildlife including a moose, elk, bighorn sheep, wolverines, badgers, fox and more. Think about riding your motorcycle to your next objective to get intercepted by a large infected moose standing in the middle of the road. That could be just as terrifying as coming across a Rager Bear with their massive size and large antlers. With each infected animal having a nickname in the world of Days Gone, I took the liberty in calling the infected moose Chargers. I chose this name because moose are very territorial and can become aggressive if they feel threatened. If they think you are a threat, they will charge. Adult moose can run up to 35 mph too, so there would be no outrunning it for Deacon.
This is probably going to happen in the next game regardless but doesn’t hurt to add this in too. The largest horde in the game (excluding the Surrounded challenge mode) is about 500 Freakers located at the Old Sawmill. That is a very large horde on screen at one time, and you feel it as they come at you from all directions. Imagine increasing that size to about 1,000 Freakers in one location. If you listen to the constant world building throughout the story between characters and Nero recordings, you know that the hordes can get to this size and more. That gives me anxiety thinking about it!
Those are just a few of my ambitious ideas that I would like to see implemented in Days Gone 2 and beyond. However, I have complete confidence that Bend Studio will impress everyone with the next installment whether these ideas come to fruition or not. Let’s just wait and see what they’re cooking up in Oregon, but for now it can be fun to imagine! What would you like to see added for the sequel? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!
What You May Have Missed
June 12, 2019
In a generation of stellar video games with incredible voice acting, astonishing graphics, large immersive open worlds and layered narrative, we as players are currently living in the golden age of video games. With that, it also brings us to the state of being spoiled with the quality of games, leaving us to miss some moments or details that should be applauded more. Unfortunately, those moments or details go unnoticed or are underrated for the accomplishment that the developers achieved. This is the reason why I wanted to write this little piece today to give those moments and details the proper acknowledgement they deserve in Days Gone. It isn’t to say that you or other players didn’t appreciate these intricacies, it’s more about how they impacted me during my playthrough.
The first thing I would like to highlight is the dynamic real time weather. The weather in this game is quite impressive and something to behold. From bright sunny days, to the peacefulness of fallen snow, to the strong winds that forcefully sway the trees and the pouring rain. Oregon has it all! The strong winds (which is visible in the Cascades region where Copeland’s camp is located) is a weather condition barely used in video games. The only game that comes to mind with remarkable wind features is from The Witcher 3. The wind breathes life and brings energy to the environment as you hear the whooshing sound of the leaves and seeing the trees move in a realistic way.
The snow is beautiful! It will begin as a slight flurry and then continue to accumulate as it covers the environment including vehicles, objects, the clothes on Deacon and dead bodies. When you ride your motorcycle, you can see the snow covering the boots and pants of Deacon as the spinning wheels dig up the snow on the ground. The sun creates picture perfect shots through photo mode as it glimmers through the pine trees and rises just above the snowy mountain tops. With the sun comes superb lighting as it dances across the landscape around you.
The weather doesn’t just serve as an appearance though. If you listen and pay attention, the weather influences the enemies and sounds around you. For example, the rain will dampen the sound of Deacon’s footsteps and create less visibility creating a stealth opportunity into an ambush camp. However, the rain creates a slippery terrain when riding your motorcycle down roads and dirt paths covered in puddles. Of course, nothing can be easy in this world as the rain makes the Freakers stronger (along with the snowy weather) and they will appear more in numbers during the day as it rains. Here is a little experiment for you to do to show just how excellent the audio sound is compared with the weather conditions. After it rains, and the grass is wet have Deacon walk down the road and listen to his footsteps on the cement as they clomp along. Now, walk him onto the grass and hear his footsteps change as his boots sink into the ground creating a sloshing sound. It’s incredible!
The day and night cycle go hand in hand with the weather, creating a survival experience for the player to use strategy with the current condition of the environment. Want to take out a horde? The best time to do that is during the day when the Freakers are hibernating in their nests or cave. They will all be in one spot creating a perfect place to light them up with some molotovs. You will also see them less in number and weaker as they stumble around the wilderness during the day. Want to be brave? Try to attack the hordes at nighttime when the Freakers are stronger and more active as they leave their nests to roam around.
The next thing I would like to praise the people at Bend Studio for is the attention to detail. You might have to look close at a couple of these, but its truly amazing how far they went to create a rich experience. First, look at Deacon’s hands when he pulls up a gun. (You may have to use photo mode to get a good angle). When you aim your weapon, his finger is on the trigger. When he is just holding his weapon without aiming, his finger is off the trigger. This is considered proper trigger discipline. Now, look at Deacon’s hands again when riding the motorcycle during acceleration. You can see his left hand squeezing the clutch to switch gears, along with his foot pressing down on the gear shift. Both details are something that most players probably won’t see but putting small details like this in a game creates that immersive experience you hope for. This next detail is more noticeable than the last two. After Deacon performs a knife blow to a Freaker or another enemy, you can see the blood splatter onto his hand that is gripping the knife. That blood will stay on his hand for a good duration too. The last detail that I noticed was the empty bullet casings flying out of your gun when firing. You can see this in the picture I took below. This is certainly not the only details in this game, but just a few that really caught my eye and gave me a deeper appreciation of the creative process.
This section may contain possible SPOILERS. Please proceed with caution.
Lastly, there are two moments during the story where you get that sense of freedom that motorcycle riders talk about. The first comes on the mission, Ride South to Lost Lake. You have Boozer on the motorcycle with you as Deacon talks about leaving Farewell and the thousands of Freakers devouring the people trying to outrun them. The song, “Soldier’s Eyes” begins to play creating this amazing and beautiful ride through the night sky on the broken road. The second moment begins on your Ride to the Summit once Iron Mike takes you to the Thielsen Pass. The song, “Hell or High Water” starts as you weave around the snowy bends with the hope of finding Sarah on your mind. The lyrics to this song fit perfectly with the story and the emotion that Deacon is feeling. Both moments captured my focus and put me into the shoes of Deacon. The ride with “Hell or High Water” was captivating, emotional and left an imprint on me for one of the greatest moments in video games.
Those are the moments and details that felt most fascinating to me and hopefully they did to you too. The Internet tends to focus on the faults of games and not praise the games that deserve it. So, take a second and go on social media to thank Bend Studio and their team in creating Days Gone as they spent the last five plus years making this game for the players. You can find all their information below:
My Thoughts on Days Gone
June 10, 2019
I know I may be a little late to the party, but I finally finished the story of Days Gone last week. That was one hell of a ride! Once, I completed the story I was determined to receive the Platinum trophy. I am not on of those extreme trophy hunters though, but I do love getting that sweet notification in the top left corner of my screen while playing a game. I say this because I have less than ten total Platinum trophies associated to my account. I only attempt this feat when I am totally invested in a game. For example, off the top of my head my Platinums include God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man and Batman Arkham Knight. All games that really pulled me in to continue to live in those worlds. Most of the time I play through a game’s story and move on to the next one because I play for the stories and the characters. In Days Gone, I received the Platinum trophy this past weekend, but I didn’t want to stop there. So, I finished clearing out the rest of the hordes and was on a mission to find every single collectible available. Even after all that, I wanted to keep playing! Good thing Bend Studio just released some free DLC including a Survival difficulty mode. It’s safe to say that Days Gone has become my favorite video game of all time!
Let’s get on to some of my thoughts by breaking down parts of the game. There are NO SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t bought the game maybe this will help!
Without giving away spoilers, I was captivated by the story from beginning to end. Deacon St. John had a great and satisfying story arc that I found relatable. He was a man who kept fighting to find his wife no matter the odds. Love was a central point to the story. You might say, how was love a theme in Days Gone when the world became an infested dangerous hole and you are constantly surrounded by Freakers, animals and humans all looking to kill you. That is the poetic beauty of this game. Behind the curtain of it all, love, brotherhood and trust were the central components to the story. That’s how you know the writers did an incredible job! Not only do you get the story through cut scenes and by the actions of Deacon but take a moment to listen to the world around you. Look at the environment and listen to the Nero recordings, you can gather a lot of information and world building from it.
What a well casted and written group of characters! Deacon and Boozer showed exactly what brothers should be. They have their ups and downs, but that doesn’t affect their relationship. They have been fighting together even before the outbreak occurred during their time in the MC (motorcycle club). Trust and respect is built into their relationship. Boozer felt like a brother and not just to Deacon, but to me. He is loyal, funny and someone who would have your back for anything. It was a pleasure to see them both working together.
Sarah and Deacon are now my favorite couple in video games and maybe even all of entertainment. Every time they shared a scene, it was heartfelt and honest. There was one moment in particular that made me cheer out loud! Their relationship felt very real. I found myself laughing to Deacon St. John more than I would have thought too.
Iron Mike is a true leader and someone that civilization could be built around. As soon as you meet him, you can tell that he is the man. His strength and vision gives you hope during the dark times of Days Gone.
Rikki was always honest and forthcoming and was a great character to interact with. She is fearless and is a person who will get stuff done. Rikki was one of my favorite characters in the story. I could go on and on listing characters and why I enjoyed each one, but I don’t want to give anything away.
Photo Mode has been a very popular feature with Days Gone due to the advanced settings of providing players with total creativity with colors, transition, bloom, far and near adjusting, etc. I can honestly say I have taken my best photos out of any game in Days Gone. That is due to the incredible artists at Bend Studio creating such a beautiful world in the northwest wilderness. The day and night cycle, along with the weather adds some unique shots that you can take.
Going back to the different camps to trade in bounties and meat, gather more supplies and receive new jobs is a fun and addicting loop. Lost Lake became my favorite camp out of them all due to the characters that you interact with there. It seemed the most civilized, and a place you could call home if you were stuck in this situation. Lost Lake had a good variety of upgrades for your motorcycle and weapons to prepare you for the unforgiving world. Hot Springs was the camp I liked the least due to the environment Tucker created. You work for your keep there, but it was crueler than just that. Each camp had its own identity from appearance, to the leaders, motorcycle upgrades, weapons and how the campers interacted. You can hear some stories just by doing a little eavesdropping or listening to the merchants when you trade in bounties, buy new weapons or fill up your motorcycle with gas.
We are over two years since the world has went to hell. Not much can be left, and what is left people will try and get it. It makes sense that we can only find the bare minimum materials peppered in the world such as rags, kerosene, bottles, bandages, cans, 2x4s, etc. From a story standpoint, I understand why we don’t find “epic or rare” rewards sitting in abandoned cars. This reminded me a lot from The Last of Us. The game gives you just enough to succeed giving you that sense of survival. When you complete certain storylines, you do receive new weapons or crafting recipes making you feel rewarded from the work you just did. The motorcycle skins were great rewards. I would find myself switching the look on my bike a lot through the story.
One of the things I loved about this game was the constant evolution. What I mean by this is, every time I would jump into Oregon I felt like I was experiencing something new each time. For example, I’m riding my motorcycle to the next story objective until suddenly a trip wire takes me off my bike by a group of ambushers. Another time, the road is blocked by a horde walking through. Next instance, I have some wolves chasing me or a mountain lion trying to eat me. “This world comes for you” is a perfect tagline for this game! Things are constantly changing in the game from enemies, to environment, camps and hordes. It creates for fun gameplay when you must strategize with the weapons you should use on which enemy, but also how to keep your supplies lasting just long enough to finish the mission. You can enter a camp guns blazing or go in stealthy. There is an assortment of weapons to choose from to your specific playstyle. I never once felt bored in this world. If anything, I was constantly on the edge of my seat being terrified on what was coming for me next.
You may be aware that since Days Gone has launched, it has had some technical difficulties. I am not going to sit here and tell you its perfect, but some players may experience different issues than other players. The one thing I can say is that the most common issue is frame rate, more specifically in the second half of the game. Did this happen to my game? Yes, it did. However, it did not hinder my experience at all. It only occurred to me when I was at the camps during the later part of the game and nowhere else. Other than that, my playthrough was normal. Bend Studio has stated that, “Our current plan for our team is to slow down the amount of patches we release but to add more fixes, features, and optimizations with each patch.” You can find this on the Days Gone reddit thread HERE.
Well, those are my thoughts for the exhilarating game of Days Gone! Now, its time to jump into Survival mode and to get ready for the challenges to come. If you have played Days Gone, I would love to discuss the game with you. Just leave a comment below. If you haven’t had a chance to play, keep an eye on this space as I will be doing a giveaway for a free copy of Days Gone very soon. Thank you for reading and now go collect those bounties!