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.
*UPDATE 10/6/20: Days Gone was added to the PS Now lineup today and will be available until January 5, 2021. You can sign up for a free 7 day trial on PS Now HERE to begin riding the broken road.*
Photo Mode is a key component to any modern video game. It’s
a feature that is used by players to capture their favorite moments, to the
smallest detail. Photo Mode gives the players the tools necessary to look at
the game in a new perspective and create an image that speaks to them. Photo
Mode also helps display all the hard work that the artists achieve when developing
a game that many of us take for granted. Taking photos pauses the action to
examine the lighting, textures, foliage and details making us appreciate the
care invested in a game we love. Days Gone provides one of the best Photo Modes
to date with an abundance of settings to really capture something unique. In
the beautiful, but dangerous world of Days Gone there are limitless
possibilities in taking photos. Open-world games provide you with different
landscapes, wildlife, characters, enemies and special locations. You will find
yourself taking more photos than actually playing the game!
Days Gone is the game that got me started with Virtual Photography. It got me involved in the Virtual Photography community, which I never knew existed before this. Being a part of this community taught me a lot about in-game photography and how I can improve. Participating in weekly and monthly themes helped me take shots out of my comfort zone and use settings in the Photo Mode I normally wouldn’t. I never knew that I would fall in love with this art form so much. Now, here I am with a whole gallery of photos and holding Days Gone specific themes. It has been quite the journey!
First, I want to say that I am in no way a professional at this art form. I am still learning everyday and hoping to continue to improve. In today’s post, I just wanted to share my experience with Photo Mode and provide you with my personal tips to capture Days Gone photos. This will not be a tutorial but will show you a picture of what and how I think. Maybe you will take something good away from it to help with your own photos!
From the Beginning
Before Days Gone, I would take screenshots here and there in games as more of a memento to myself because I never shared them. I never truly understood the Photo Mode feature and all its settings until now. Below, you can see my very first photos I captured that sparked my interest in Virtual Photography, this blog and all my Days Gone content. These were very basic screenshots with no editing whatsoever in Photo Mode. At that time, I had no clue what to do! It’s funny to see this post now because little did I know what would become of it.
Fast forward six months, I now realize what works best for me and what doesn’t in the Days Gone Photo Mode. My favorite types of photos I love to take are with the motorcycle, landscapes and action. I seem to take more of these types of shots more than anything else. Between the motorcycle, landscapes and action I feel there is a large variety there to play with making each capture feel different. The landscapes prove just how beautiful the world of Days Gone is. The motorcycle is such an important piece to the game and its customizations can always provide a different look. The action is a staple to Days Gone with the slogan, “This world comes for you.” This can create extraordinary shots during fights with a horde, a Rager bear, Runners and other enemies.
As I have invested the past six months into Days Gone, my focus with my photos now looks at shots that haven’t been done before. Not only on a personal level, but things I usually don’t see other players sharing. I try to keep the photos fresh and varied to display the long range of photo opportunities that Days Gone can bring to people. From a design on a rug to fighting a bear, I want to capture as much as I can. As long as I continue to enjoy what I am doing (which I do) my creativity continues to expand.
Every now and then I like to look back at my older shots compared to my newer ones to see my progression, but to also see how I can improve. Some of the shots I have taken I am really proud of, and others I wish I did something just a little different. That’s just the perfectionist quality in me. Here you can see my top 5 most popular photos on Twitter, which correlate to some of my personal favorites as well.
I would like to share with you some of my personal tips on
how to approach your shot and follow through with a good photo. Once again, I
should mention that I am not a professional photographer, just someone who
enjoys doing it as a hobby. Most of the tips I mention below I learned from
trial and error. What also helped me was gaining inspiration from other VP
members with their shots from a wide range of games. Learning perspective,
verticals, framing were all things that I learned from being involved in the
So, when should you take photos? I believe it’s best to take photos as you make your way through the story. This way you can capture certain characters and story points that resonate with you the most. However, I find myself most of the time roaming the map looking for particular themes to capture. Whether that is a community held theme or a theme I have in my mind. For example, when the Horizon Zero Dawn bike skin was released I had a certain picture in my head that I knew what I wanted to do. When I think of Horizon, I think of that beautiful world and the cold and snowy environments. Immediately, I rode my bike to the snowy area of the map and found a great spot with snow covered trees and a small pond of water. I wanted this theme to be labeled after the DLC, ‘The Frozen Wilds.’ The photo I captured fit perfectly with the theme I had in mind. When a spark of creativity jumps up, I roll with it to see what will come out of the photo. Sometimes your photo may not match what you were thinking and sometimes you will capture a great photo by accident!
This Photo Mode includes a lot of settings from basic to
advanced, giving you the ability to take a shot and turn it into whatever you
want. At first it might look intimidating but honestly, I usually go through
the same cycle of settings for each photo. My priority once I enter Photo Mode
is composition, focus and coloring. The very first thing I do is focus my shot.
From here, I begin to position the screen and play with the Field of View slider, along with the Aperture to get a sense of what I am
trying to capture. Once I feel that the composition and focus is right, then I
start messing around with the color. At this point, I am still in the Basic
settings menu where I navigate to Contrast
and Brightness. I find the Contrast setting to be beneficial in a
lot of my shots in Days Gone because as I increase the slider (just a notch up
or two) it provides the darker tone needed in a lot of situations. Now, I enter
the advanced settings to add a certain kick to the photo. Whether that includes Bloom, Vibrancy, Temperature or Vignette. Most
of my shots include some sort of combination of these settings.
A couple basic features that is added to every Photo Mode are Frames and Filters. Personally, I don’t apply these that much to my shots especially the Frames. Occasionally, I will include a frame if I think it adds to the photo, but the world is so beautiful I don’t want to obstruct the view. It all depends on personal taste. With Filters, I mainly use three of them; Vintage, Black and White and Noir. I find that the Vintage filter really captures the moody atmosphere. I like to use this filter with hordes and darker areas to give it that apocalypse and desolate feel. A great feature that is included in the Photo Mode is being able to save your own preset. This is something I haven’t really taken advantage of, but I do have one preset saved called ‘black.’ This is a custom preset that provides the all black background. Thanks to @warrior_musa on Twitter for providing everybody with this tip!
The best tips I can give you is to experiment for yourself.
Try out all the settings, take photos that you normally wouldn’t and be creative.
Most of all, have fun doing it! Don’t worry about the numbers game on social
media. If you begin to worry about how many “likes” you’re getting on each
photo, your love for the art will diminish. Whatever art style you enjoy,
continue with it and be confident in sharing it with the world. I hope this
helped some of you out there, particularly the players who don’t know much
about Virtual Photography like I did.
If you would like to see all my photos I have taken over the course of my playthroughs click here: Photo Mode, or go to the Photo Mode tab at the top of the page. Remember, you have until October 31st to enter the second #VPDaysGone theme, Freakshow. Let’s see your scariest Freaker photos! For more information on the themes and how to get involved you can find everything under Themes.
Are you new to Virtual Photography and need help getting
your Days Gone photos noticed? Check out the following graphic to gain support
and enter different themes. The list you see here is what forms the amazing VP
community and if it wasn’t for them, Virtual Photography wouldn’t be as big as
it is. You will also get the privilege to meet other VPs that are always
willing to support and share your photos.
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!
Hello, Days Gone fans and Virtual Photographers! Its time to fuel up your bike because starting today, the first Days Gone Virtual Photography theme begins! This idea is inspired by the other themes held in the virtual photography community, along with the stunning shots I constantly see players capture from Days Gone. A photo mode this good, deserves its own theme. Plus, you already know how much I love Days Gone.
The first theme is… COLORS. This theme is meant to encourage you to really experiment with all the settings in the excellent photo mode from Days Gone to come up with creative colorful shots. The more color the better! Share your photos on Twitter using the hashtag #VPDaysGone during the next two weeks to get involved. Looking forward to seeing all your photos!
Tag your posts using #VPDaysGone
All posts suited to the theme will be retweeted and added to a moment at the end
Last chance to enter your photos for this theme will be in two weeks on Thursday, September 19th at 11:59am EST
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 group of incredible fans from around the world contributed in creating a very special message dedicated to Bend Studio, the creators of Days Gone. From the USA stretching all the way to Australia, we wanted to express our love for Days Gone and share with you our appreciation of your tireless effort in creating such an incredible game. Days Gone impacted us all in different ways, and became a favorite for everyone here. Now, I will go ahead and let their words speak for themselves.
“You asked why I loved Days Gone. Well, here it is: Never has a video game brought so much emotion out of me. Anger, pain, joy, love…so many tears. This game took over, is still taking over my life, no other game has done this. It horrified me to no end. The sounds, the environment, the music, the story and the immersivity. This is my favorite game…EVER.”
“Days Gone became sort of an addiction to me. Not exactly because of one specific area of its gameplay, world, or characters, but an overall combination of them all. Exploring the wilderness, a place filled with so much beauty and yet so much danger, just invoked a complete sense of contrast. I loved it. I cared about the characters, and I can’t wait to see what Bend has in store for the series.”
“I will never forget the feeling I had watching the reveal trailer for the first time. The music, the emotion and the beauty of the world had me hooked from that moment.
Since the first Day Gone, I have been following Bend Studio’s journey down the Broken Road with every piece of content they showed us, and I would analyze every frame just wanting to know each detail. I would share my excitement in every video about it that I would upload.
Bend Studio have done such an incredible job of bringing the world of Days Gone to life. The characters feel like living, breathing people. The world of Days Gone feels vibrant and absolutely terrifying. They told us that “this world comes for you” and they delivered. The richly developed story and the pacing of this game is perfection. I have said many times during my let’s play how easy it is to get wrapped up in this world and forget you’re playing a game. To me, that is all I need to know if a game will become one of my all-time favorites. To be fair, I am still playing Days Gone. I am intentionally taking my time with it and enjoying every beautiful and horrifying moment.
To be honest, I didn’t know if this game could ever live up to the level of hype that I had for it. Once I was actually able to play for myself, I can say without hesitation that Days Gone has become one of my most beloved games of all time.
Bend Studio brought their beautiful “backyard” of Bend, Oregon to us all and I’m so grateful that they did. I’m so thankful for every person who has worked so hard on this stunning game.
For me Days Gone, the story of Deacon St. John and the Broken Road created by Bend Studio is iconic and my Game of the Year.”
“There’s something magical about the singular moment you realize a game resonates with you on a personal level. That the story you are playing, and the world you’re journeying into, are becoming part of your own memories. By the end of Days Gone I knew the names of every character, as well as I knew the landscape and the intricate roads of post-apocalyptic eastern Oregon. And I cared about each and every one of them: our best friend Boozer, the determined Sarah, the wise Iron Mike, the genuine Rikki, the selfless Addy, the stern Copeland, the tragic Lisa…
In this day and age, with so many superheroes crowding the skies of fiction, it’s refreshing to see grounded characters taking the lead. Is Deacon St. John a hero? Is he even a good guy? Sometimes he reveals himself as a ruthless avenger of death, falling upon those who live to prey on the weak, with remorseless cruelty. Other times, he is ready to put his life on the line for little more than a filled tank and a few “scraps”. The world of Days Gone is populated with authentic characters, not without their faults and contradictions, people forced to confront their own demons, as much as they face the monsters living on the outside.
As I completed the game’s journey, I felt I had gone through not just a simple story, but an entire saga. I admired the slow start of the narrative, as our main character roamed the landscape seemingly without purpose or destiny. Deacon’s sense of detachment slowly fades away, as events unfold and mysteries are revealed. He becomes increasingly involved with the world around him, and someone close reminds him that, in such uncertain world, it is harder to belong than to survive. Light a candle in the dark, Rikki tells a reluctant Deacon – a lesson he will learn in the end, as the light he brought to those around him comes back to brighten his own path and maybe keep him from falling into darkness.
Days Gone will definitely stand among my personal favorite gaming experiences. Riding through the zombie apocalypse on a bike has never been so fun, and I can’t wait to see what comes next from the talented Bend Studio crew.”
“The year was 2016 when the ad appeared on E3, my hype was high. The game in question is DAYS GONE a survival, action and adventure game with narrative, the kind of game I enjoy. It was Friday April 26, when the game was launched worldwide, and there I was waiting for the store to open the doors😁😁. I had to pick it up on the first day, and on that same day I read some analysis especially the negative one from IGN, but the analysis did not diminish my hype. I will not lie, it diminished a bit 😁😁, but when I started playing I immediately fell in love with the game. The gameplay, the story, scenery, beautiful music and the whole set. Of course, it had some flaws and bugs, but that did not ruin my experience. The game was getting better and better with the updates. I was sure a team like Bend Studio, that took care of Resistance, Uncharted Golden Abyss and Syphon filter would not make a bad game, even more being an exclusive on PlayStation. Anyway, I just have to thank them for this wonderful game, the whole team that created a single AAA player that went into my top 10. Thanks Jeff Ross, Eric Jensen, Sam Witwer, John Garvin and Bend Studio.”
“April 2019- I own an Xbox and was playing Red Dead 2 but was needing something else. Someone else playing it on the PS4 suggested to get the up and coming Days Gone. So, April 28th I placed my order for a PS4 Pro and Days Gone. On 5/1 my life was changed.
I am not a writer, or a reviewer just someone trying to put my experience into words the best I can. Another small side note, the first game I bought for my original Playstation was Syphon Filter and bought the 2nd and 3rd when they came out on that platform.
I simply just loved this game, where do I even start? Right from the beginning I was attached to the characters. I mean I just let my wife go when the worlds ending to save her life. Immediately I feel a connection to Deacon, Sarah, Boozer, and even O’Brian. The further the story goes the deeper the connection went for me. I liked that at each camp, they really tried to have unique people that you might relate with, or you might be like that guys crazy. Along with the previously mentioned, I really dug Rikki and Captain Kouri.
Getting into the open world is what really drove it home for me. I knew nothing of the game beforehand. I about lost my mind when I realized it was made in my backyard! I moved to Oregon in 1993 when I was 8, I have been living in the suburbs of Portland since then. They could have chosen L.A., New York or some other large city, or just some other state in general but they chose Southern Oregon. I myself have only been in that area a handful of times. Once I stayed at Moraine Lake to climb South Sister Mountain, which is also the 3rd tallest peak in the state. That experience was almost felt in the game with the attention to detail they put into the environment. Maybe we see the Pacific Coast Highway in the next Days Gone or maybe a DLC?
The plants, the trees, the water all was very realistic and very well done. The weather you experience in the game is for real. It’s not something the developers just threw in, “you don’t like the weather, wait a minute” is what some of us folks say here. It was funny to hear them joke about how much it rains here all the time.
The animals were also spectacular. The deer, bear, wolf, cougar, and crow were all done very well. What I really appreciated was the randomness that you could encounter them. You could have set up a bunch of traps, or just been trying to be stealthy when a pack of wolves would run up on you or even a bear! With that said, you would also have the very well randomly timed encounters with the Rager, Runner, Breaker, Reacher, Screamer or Criers. I was also impressed at the randomness they would fight each other. I loved riding up on a Breaker fighting a Rager. Watching a horde devour a bear or a pack of deer was always fun to watch.
The combat/movement did take me a minute to get used to, but it also felt very familiar. After I realized it was a possible spin off from Syphon Filter the memories hit and the controls made more sense. I really like that the aiming wasn’t just lock on and shoot like some games. I liked that you really had to try to be accurate. I think ALOT of people just expect when you shoot a gun in games that it’s going to be easy, but I think they really took into account of how someone in real life would be able to shoot a gun.
Photo Mode- I’m just going to leave it at that. 😉
There is much, much more that I could touch on and keep going on and on about what and why I love this game so much. I just want to again from the bottom of my heart thank you for such a wonderful gaming experience and bringing the wonderful state of Oregon to life in such a beautiful way that all of you at Bend Studio did. I’m really looking forward to what your studio will be bringing into this world next. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”
“From the moment I started playing Days Gone I was sucked into the world. It oozed atmosphere and I felt immediately connected to the characters and invested in their story, which only deepened as the game progressed. I wish I could list in detail everything I love about this game, but we’d be here forever haha. So, I’ll just say one thing that became clear while journeying with these characters through this incredibly detailed, immersive and beautiful world, is how much love and care has been poured into every aspect of this amazing game. Thank you to all the talented, hardworking and dedicated people at Bend Studio for bringing us such a fun and memorable experience. Days Gone has become one of my all-time favorite games. Respect! I’ll leave you all with one of my favorite captures from my journey.”
“When I started Days Gone I knew nothing about it, but I quickly became immersed in its world and surviving in it felt believable and terrifying. Bend Studio created a game that by the end became a masterpiece to me! Thank you Bend Studio!”
“From the first minute I saw Days Gone at E3 2016, I knew this game was something really special. The setting, the main character, that FEELING – it all captured my attention immediately, and my heart. There was something new and unique to it, something that no one could deliver. It was to me that perfect mix of a post-apocalyptic setting with a strong third-person-character. A biker, that wasn’t really done before. And of course, the Hordes. I never saw anything comparable before and after. And I knew, if Bend Studio can keep their promise, I will love this game no matter what. And oh boy, you delivered so much. It’s hard to put my admiration for this game into words, but it is my first ever platinum-game. I think this speaks for itself. It is the most underrated game of the decade. I never understood people saying they couldn’t get what kind of game it was and that it was a mash-up of many other games. OF COURSE it was, but every game is. That’s like saying Horizon: Zero Dawn is just a mash-up of Tomb Raider and Dinosaurs. To me that’s no critique point at all. Days Gone mixed the adventure-genre so perfectly with a post-apocalyptic open-world and a crafting system, to me there is nothing like it on the market. With just one screenshot you can clearly say “that’s Days Gone”. And nothing gives me more chills then facing a horde of 300+ Freakers. Till date Bend Studio doesn’t get enough credit for what they pulled off with this. Not just graphics wise, but also in terms of tech and atmosphere. I have been playing videogames for 30 years now, but I never had feelings like I had with Days Gone. That’s freaking awesome. All that’s left for me is to thank you Bend Studio, from the bottom of my heart for this amazing game and your courage to create something new. Keep going, I can’t wait for Days Gone 2. If you would announce it today, I would pre-order immediately. Thank you.”
“Since I first heard about Days Gone I was interested. I finally had the chance to view the trailer and was intrigued by beauty of the open road and photo mode. Then came release day! My first 20 minutes into the game I was hooked! Had everything I was looking for in an open world game, action, drama, terror, love, friendship and more. The beauty of the world around me was jaw dropping and the storyline kept me interested.
As I progressed further through the game, I was happy to realize how huge it was and how many different creatures roamed. I felt a multitude of emotions from loss, disappointments and trust issues. Also, many happy and inspiring moments from the storyline! At the end of the day I’m very happy with this game and glad it’s a part of my library.
Thank you all very much for all the time Bend Studio crew invested in the making of a masterpiece. Excited for your future dlcs and other projects! You have a fan for life! Well done! 💪😉👍”
“From the moment the game started up, to the incredible ride and frightening experience with Boozer, building the bike back up, trying to find middle ground and peace, going through hordes and hordes for a love thought lost, Deacon’s amazing resolve. This game, this story shared, I consider a masterpiece. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this game is worth a million ten! The beauty of emotions shown by the incredible cast, gameplay, graphics and the mechanics. No matter how many compliments I give of the incredible experience I have, it will never amount to the way it made me feel, the feeling, so indescribable, literally brought out all my emotions!!! That is a feat!!! I am personally not a fan of zombie survival games or genre, but this one, since the first trailer dropped, I felt such a connection to this game I had to play it! PSX 2017 made me want to play further, getting to “ride” the bike, hangout with the rage bear and the amazing actors portraying the Freakers!!! And then don’t get me started on those Syphon Filter references!!! So glad I got to play and enjoy this game!!! Thank you so much, again and again for all your incredible work, developing, imagining, and creating such a beautiful experience into this gorgeous game!!”
“I was on board for this game from the moment I saw that first announcement trailer, becoming even more keen when I heard of the photo mode options – in a big, busy field of good photo mode games I’m glad to say it hasn’t disappointed in the slightest and indeed, has added to the canon of photo mode. I love the implementation of game mechanics in a fresh manner, such as tracking hints prefaced by controller vibration. I am only on the second region so far, unfortunately being late with being able to get the game – but today I met Rikki and loved how the hint of a third area was introduced by her entering the game in a kind of reverse fourth wall situation. Like with Techland’s three zombie games, I just know I’ll be notching the hours up in a similar fashion with Days Gone – an excellent game, thank you very much.”
“I found out about Days Gone in 2017, few months before E3. I’m a huge fan of zombies (now also freakers), so I was beyond excited. It was literally my dream game. 3rd person, open-world and zombies. I’ve watched every video, I’ve read every piece of info and I was hoping for a release date. Unfortunately, we had to wait until 2018 to get one. I pre-ordered the Special Edition and was counting down the days. Nothing would stop me from getting it, even mixed reviews! Days Gone, together with Dying Light are probably the most underrated games of this generation. Both deserve better. I still remember my first few minutes with the game. I was really excited. I will never forget when I was running out of fuel and I left my bike on the road and I saw a power plant. I decided to get down there and look for fuel. Suddenly the weather changed – it started raining, ‘Freakshow’ started playing in the background, goosebumps all over my body and I was so unsure and so afraid to look for the fuel because I thought freakers were close! I was also really low on ammo.
Or my first horde… That was intense! Hordes are outstanding. Something new, exciting and fresh. The whole world is beautiful and dangerous. I always had to be aware of my surroundings. It’s extremely immersive and relaxing. I can just play this game to chill, drive on my bike, hunt and kill freakers. The atmosphere is mind-blowing. Very dark. You feel lonely but you’re never alone. I loved to explore and see all the abandoned buildings, cars, trucks etc. Everything was left in a hurry and you see that. You can only imagine how hard and awful it was. It’s like a combination of The Last of Us and The Evil Within 2 but in an open-world. I love how the weather changes and how it affects the bike and freakers. Simply amazing. Huge attention to details. And when the danger is near… The music starts playing and you know that freakers are close. Soundtrack and sound design are just top notch. Songs perfectly fit the game. Sounds of the wind, total silence or screams somewhere nearby makes the atmosphere even better.
I have to compliment the main story. Some people complained that it was too long, but I have to disagree. Perfect length. When the game is great, I don’t want it to end. I can get to know characters better (they were very memorable), I could better understand Deacon, his actions and motivations. Raw but with emotions. Finally, a character that wasn’t nice from the very beginning. He wasn’t fake. His attitude made him more believable. Also, I was really impressed by the bike. Driving model? Best ever! The handling, the way it sounds, weight… Very realistic. I can’t imagine Days Gone without the bike. I loved customizations too! So many cool skins and upgrades to get! I just wish we could change clothes for Deacon. That would make the game even more immersive. Maybe in the sequel? It’s one of the best games of 2019 (if not the best, I will see at the end of the year haha). Most fun game of 2019 that made me love open-world games again (after groundbreaking RDR2 I thought it would be impossible). So, I’m thankful for that. Bend Studio did a great job. Amazing secret ending at the end gave me hope, that in the next few years we will see Days Gone 2. I just hope they’ll add more cities to explore! But seriously… I can’t wait for the sequel!”
“Days Gone. What a game. I went into this experience with my expectations low and came away with my mind blown. To come from a small team, Bend Studio really went the extra mile on this game and their love, passion and dedication is seen all throughout my 80+ hours through Farewell, Oregon.
From the first time I saw a Horde and the sheer mixture of excitement and terror I got, to the way Deacon grew over the story to a biker boy who only cared about his circle to a man who saved not only his wife, but himself and the town he called home. Thank you for this experience. Thank you for adding a photo mode so I could capture special moments and thank you for adding in free content after the fact.”
“Confession: I almost did not buy this game after reading some of the early previews, saying how cutscenes would account for a third of the main story and such. I feared the game would offer little action here and there, and not much more than that. Boy, was I wrong! Days Gone turned out to be one of my all-time favorite games!
Checks all the boxes that are important to me in a video game: single-player, action, weapon and enemy variety, open-world sandbox, visuals, side missions, characters, and replayability. Most of all, it’s just plain damn fun! We’re free to roam about the Oregon countryside on a kick-ass bike, fight off hordes and animals, and have the ability to try crazy and creative things with what’s been given to us. And to top it all off, Days Gone’s Photo Mode is exceptional, with its advanced controls and options not found in other current popular games.
THANK YOU Bend Studio team for giving us a fun, memorable game, and the terrific follow-on support with patches and DLCs!! Days Gone is one hell of a game!”
“Days Gone is a game that far exceeded my expectations. The story had me hooked, helped by its engaging characters and immersive music. The combat and riding your bike in the beautiful open world is so satisfying.
One stand out moment for me was my first encounter with a Screamer. I could hear that haunting hum, from taking shelter inside a house. As I looked to see where this tune was coming from. I saw her and discovered my new favorite enemy. So wonderfully designed!
Thank you Bend Studio for all these things and an outstanding photo mode to boot. All wrapped up in a game I just didn’t want to turn off and I will continue to enjoy.”
“Thank you to Bend Studio for the incredible new franchise (I hope!) that is Days Gone. The beautifully dangerous open world, the memorable characters and gripping story will forever be one of my favorites of this gen. I truly hope we see more of Deacon St. John and what Bend has to offer.”
“Days Gone became more than just a game for me, it became an experience that went beyond the game itself. After anticipating this game to release, I was unable to play it due to my third child being born at the time. A few weeks go by and as I’m awake at 3 o’clock in the morning on a daily basis and my son has passed out on my chest, I would boot up Days Gone and play it in small chunks while he slept. This game was with me in life and provided an escape for me in death. Not too long ago my dog was diagnosed with cancer and just recently passed. During the last couple nights of her life, she would lay by my side as I played. Days Gone provided me with a lot of memories outside of the game creating a deeper connection with it.
It also motivated me to share my in-game photos on Twitter from the amazing Photo Mode and got me involved in the Virtual Photography community. Through this community I have met some awesome people (some of them you see above), and it’s a great place to share the beauty of art and video games. Not only that, but it inspired me to create this blog to share my passion for the game through writing. I love to write, and this gives me the ability to be creative and form stories inside a brand-new original world by picking up the world-building pieces that the team at Bend Studio crafted.
So, what draws me in so much? To me, the story, world and characters always comes first. I placed myself in Deacon’s shoes and connected with this character on multiple levels. How would I deal with regret and loss? What kind of person would I become to get my wife back no matter the cost? Deacon is such a relatable character because he isn’t a god and he doesn’t have superpowers, but a man who served in the military and lived within a brotherhood. After the world went to hell and Sarah was placed on that helicopter, he had one mission and as little as the odds were he kept fighting. To never give up is an admirable trait, and that resonated with me from my previous trials I have faced in my own life.
I would be amiss to not even mention the other spectacular characters that surrounded Deacon, who helped mold the person he became by the end of the story. The standouts for me were Boozer, Sarah, Rikki, Iron Mike and Captain Kouri. Each character played a critical role in Deacon’s story, and each one proved to be unique. I was excited every time I saw these characters on screen. I loved hearing conversations between them giving me a background of who they are and what they have experienced. I never felt so connected to a group of characters in any medium before, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them.
As I’ve said multiple times, Days Gone has become my favorite game of ALL-TIME! Between the story, characters, world, gameplay and music, it grabbed me and never let go creating a beautiful, thrilling and captivating journey on the broken road. What makes this game even more special to me is all the interaction I have received on Twitter from the people at Bend Studio. It makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Once again, thank you for all your hard work and commitment in creating Days Gone! I never thought I could be so invested in a game, but you have captured my heart and created a huge fan for life. I truly look forward to the future of this franchise! In the mean time I will continue taking photos, playing the challenges, going through the story repeatedly and writing more about Days Gone. THANK YOU!”
Taking a break from the journal entries of “A Look at the Other Side” for now, 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
Buy clothes at the camps using credits.
Since this world is about surviving, you could scavenge clothes from abandoned 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
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 crows 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!
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.
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 curves 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.