I am a survivor. I have always been a survivor. I survived for my daughter Alyssa. I survived as long as I could out here for her. The longer I survived, the longer her memory would remain in me. But now, a part of me knew it was going to end like this…
After years of abuse from my piece of shit husband, I would hide the bruises and the tears from Alyssa each night. Of course, she heard the yelling and screaming, but I stayed strong for her. She was so young and pure. I stayed with him because I thought it would be better for her. I didn’t want her to grow up in a broken home where I would only see her every other holiday. One day, I had enough. He went out to a bar like he normally would, so I told Alyssa we were taking a long trip. I had our bags packed and we left and never looked back. I started a new life with just me and her. That’s all I needed. Unfortunately, my time with her was cut short. The world came to an end and I lost her.
I pushed forward to make her proud. It sounds silly because she’s not even here, but it was the one thing that kept me going. Being able to still remember her laughter or her soft voice made my life worth living. That’s why I made it this far. Now, I became a different person. A person that I wouldn’t want Alyssa to meet. That fact alone makes me despise myself. Each day the memories of her faded. Each day got darker. Each day I would do something worse than the last.
So, here I am. Leaning against this tree struggling to even write down my last words. I got shot in the stomach and my blood is everywhere. Some drifter came into our camp and killed us all. I was the only one that survived. I guess our reputation got around of our ambushes and this time someone ambushed us. Survival of the fittest.
It’s getting dark now and I can hear the Freakers coming from all directions. Ironically, I have only one bullet left. Like I said, a part of me knew it was going to end like this.
For my daughter,
If you haven’t read the first two journal entries from Katie, you can check them out at the links below.
A lot has happened
these past couple of weeks. We lost some people, but I’m still here. The
question I have been asking myself lately is, do I want to be here? Maybe, I’ve
been in this shit too long now. Let’s face it, I could care less about this
group of assholes in this camp. They only help me survive and that’s all I
need. Sure, I’ve met some decent people along the way, but no one I would jump
in front of a bullet for. The only thing I cared about was lost some time ago.
I thought if I kept going I could honor her in some way, but that was just a fantasy.
Honestly, I should have blown out my brains that day and saved myself from all
Enough of my sob
We had to be proactive
today. There is this group of riders that we call the Raider Patrol. They
continue to ride in our area looking for god knows what. They think they’re
like the damn police of the apocalypse I guess. Anyway, one of the guys came up
with an idea to cut them off because not only are they sending Freakers toward
us with their loud motorcycles, but they could have some supplies on them that
we need. We’ve done things like this before when we become desperate and today
was one of those days. The Raiders have been taking the same route each day for
the past few days. Only one rider would travel the road during the day, so we
sent three of us out to make sure the job gets done. A couple of days ago, Big
Ed came across a junky sniper rifle found at an abandoned camp. Who knows what
happened to those people. He cleaned it up the best he could and ensured us it
was functional for our plan today. Long story short, it was.
Big Ed decided to
climb up a tree to get a better vantage point he said. A little unorthodox I
thought, but hey the plan worked. Jim hid in a bush just off the road a little
ways not too far from the tree Big Ed was in. I ducked behind an abandoned car
on the road. The trap was set and behold, that idiot rider came right into our
trap. Big Ed took one shot with his sniper rifle and threw the rider right off
his bike. Jim and I jumped out of our hiding spots and dashed toward him. I was
carrying a wooden baseball bat and Jim had a hatchet. The rider was a little
dazed from being shot in the shoulder, but he got up and fumbled for his weapon
attached to his hip. I met him first and took a nice swing to his chest before
he could pull his gun up. He bent over from what I assume took the wind out of
him. Then I swung at him again, this time hitting him square in the back
sending him to the ground. Jim rushed right up behind me and stuck the hatchet
right in his spine. He ripped the hatchet out of his back and then struck him
again and again until I had to pull him off. I’ve seen this too many times when
a man loses control of his feelings and unleashes all his anger on a helpless
corpse. It’s disgusting.
I understand the
situation of these ambushes we conduct. It’s the survival of the fittest. I
just wish so many people didn’t have to die. Freakers are another thing, we
kill them because we must. People can be talked to, negotiated with, maybe even
helped sometimes. As much as that Raider was annoying me with his motorcycle,
there should always be a better way in getting the things we need to survive. I
know I’m not myself anymore, but each time I see another man or woman die I lose
the good memories. The smile from my daughter’s face, the smell of fresh baked
cookies coming from the oven and the holidays we would share with friends and
family. All that vanishes with each kill and now I see their eyes. The eyes of
the people we have had to kill to survive. The puddles and puddles of blood.
All that for what, a little extra meat or some bandages to last us a couple
more days. That’s what we got today. That’s all we got.
The next few blog posts that you will be reading are part of a new mini-series I am writing titled, “A Look at the Other Side.” This mini-series will be written as journal entries aimed at showing you the life of an ambush camper trying to survive in the harsh wilderness of Days Gone. As you read these entries from a camper’s viewpoint, discover a different side of the ambushers that you didn’t see in the game. Read snippets of their past life, along with their struggle to survive in this post-apocalyptic stage and decide for yourself if the ambush campers truly are the “bad guys.”
635 DAYS GONE
A world filled with
emptiness, and yet it feels so crowded. Everything is different, and nothing is
different. We look after our own, we eat to survive, and we fight to live another
day. Sounds a whole lot like the time before this all happened, at least for me
anyway. Now the world has crumbled, and the government still doesn’t care about
us. Every day we run for our lives, scavenge what we can find and kill just to
do it all over again the next day. We all tell each other the same stories
repeatedly to pass the time. If its not about the worthless government, it’s
the survival, the killing, what supplies we need and so on. So, here I am
writing down my own thoughts to try and keep sane. It’s funny though because I
didn’t imagine myself being this type of person to write in a diary. Well,
journal sounds a little more sophisticated. I suppose that’s what happens when
you’re out doing the same shit every day. I had to spice it up a little!
It all started earlier today when we took a small supply run to Crazy Willie’s and I stumbled upon this dirty notebook and pen sitting on the backseat floor of an abandoned car. I swear I’ve searched this car before, but I must have been looking with a different lens today. I honestly don’t even know why we went to that place again. It’s been searched a thousand times from people all over the area. By us, marauders, rippers, drifters you name it! Not to mention, there are a few Freaker nests there that I don’t care to be around. I asked Clark one day if we should try and burn them to get rid of the Freakers in that area, you know to create safer travel for us. I guess that was a dumb idea because he shot me a look and said, “we can’t spare the supplies.” I wasn’t going to argue though, I am just here trying to get along like everyone else.
It was actually an
easy day today. Its nice to have those days occasionally. We got in and out of
Crazy Willie’s without no one dying, and now I have this awesome journal to
write in. That’s a success in today’s world! I had to take down a couple
Freakers in our path, but nothing I couldn’t handle. A few swings of the ol’
hatchet seems to do the trick. Plus, we found two kerosene cans and some rags
for future use, along with some gas to help us get back. Supplies become scarcer
as the days go by, but hey we have some deer meat being held over the fire
right now to get us by for the next couple of days. Thanks to our good friend
Roger. I don’t know if I would really call him a friend, more of an
acquaintance I guess. He’s a quiet man, but he always lends a helping hand for
the camp. I had a conversation with him once, and he told me he used to be an
avid hunter before all of this. Luckily for us, that is one skill that is
needed now. Well, the cook just called us all over to eat. I better go before
someone takes my ration.
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 one of those extreme trophy hunters, 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 too. 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 Pacific 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 the environment, camps and hordes. It creates for fun gameplay when you must strategize with what 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 perfectly 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!