After playing through The Last of Us Part II and liking but not loving it I decided to check out Sony's other post apocalyptic zombie game, Days Gone. This title came out last year in April, made zero splash, and has long since been forgotten, but I picked it up around release and never got around to playing it. No time like the pandemic present. I knew it wouldn't measure up to TLOU II but I'd heard that there had been significant patches and improvements since launch and I was looking forward to a solid if unspectacular open world game. After putting in a chunk of time I can say that the game is mostly close to what I expected, but it's also weirder. I don't mean in terms of plot or characters (the game is clearly heavily influenced by The Last Of Us and I am kind of shocked that Sony intended to release these close together before TLOU II's delays) but that it's just got a level of jank on both the design and tech level I don't expect from a Sony game. Here are some issues I've encountered in just a short time with the game.
- A "Freaker" spawn point where there was a freaker kneeling on the ground eating something and as soon as I killed it another spawned out of nowhere in the same place. I killed that one and a new one spawned. I repeated about five times to make sure and then moved on. I can't remember the last time a game just spawned enemies in front of me that wasn't part of them "teleporting in" or some other behavior.
- A random survivor who had dialog that he was trapped in his car even though he was outside his car. After I killed the freakers attacking him I did not get the dialog prompt you usually get to send him to one of the camps for a reward.
- A mission where you get back to your bike only to have a bear waiting for you. You're supposed to kill the bear as a boss fight (he has a health bar and everything) and I started fighting him but then he ran away. When I tried to leave the game said I had to kill the bear before I could get back on my bike. I felt bad for him because he was just a bear, not a zombie or anything, so if he didn't want to fight why should I? But I tried to pursue him only to be told I was leaving the mission area. Instead I took pot shots at him from the edge of the mission area until he teleported back in bounds and I could finish the fight.
- Hyper aggressive wild life including wolves that attack you while you're on your motorcycle, which isn't a bug but is not anything like real animal behavior. Also the wolves take like 5 shots to put down, which is totally insane. They don't even flinch if you shoot them in the head while they're charging you. It's wild.
- This fella:
The game is just full of weirdness that kind of adds to its vibe as a janky B game but is really surprising from a Sony first party effort, which I've come to expect a lot of polish from. Maybe not Nintendo levels of polish, but more than this.
Also, and this is a design choice rather than a bug, the bikes in this game hold zero gas. Like none. You literally can have half a tank of gas and have a destination that's like 1.2 kilometers away and the game won't let you fast travel there because you don't have enough gas. How were these bikes ever allowed to be sold to the public? What were they used for? Real motorbikes get like 100 miles on a tank of gas at the very minimum, and up to 200. These bikes can barely make it a mile. Why would I want a vehicle that can't travel a mile before needing refueling? You can improve this with upgrades, but still.
In general this game starts off really annoying. Your guns do zero damage, it takes forever to use melee weapons, you are constantly getting harassed and ambushed on your bike, which has zero range etc... It gets a little better as you earn upgrades and such but it's just an insane game that does stuff I haven't seen in a long time. It has forced stealth sections that just flat out tell you that the enemies are invincible to your weapons, and they're not super powered zombies they're just guys in hazmat suits. But they're gun and axe proof. Where did they find those suits?
This game is...not quite bad but definitely not good either. It's interesting though. It steals a lot of ideas from The Last Of Us and a few other games, and has a few good ideas of its own (like the way side missions give you upgrades, and how you have to clear out zombie nests that are blocking fast travel routes) but it also has a lot of bad ideas, like random snipers that spawn on the side of the road and shoot your bike, causing you to crash! Who thought that was a fun mechanic?
I'll probably update this with more examples as I play further.