It’s been a long time coming, but Sony Bend Studios’ open-world survival-zombie game, Days Gone, is finally here; but does the ambitious PS4 exclusive warrant a purchase? We rounded up what the critics are saying to get a glimpse into whether Days Gone is an unlikely hero or a shambling mess.
The scores range from great to mediocre, with many critics praising the game’s combat while identifying problems with pacing, repetitive missions, and the story.
Here’s what they have to say:
“Deacon also has a policy where he doesn’t kill unarmed women, which does not affect the story in any way and goes completely unexamined. There’s no introspection here; Deacon is selfish, and it’s simply boring that the game is uncritical of him.”
“Days Gone feels bloated, like a movie that goes on for an hour longer than it needs to or should’ve. It’s messy and confused, but peppered with genuinely thrilling encounters with rampaging hordes of zombies and occasionally breathless firefights. There’s a good game in here somewhere, but it’s buried in a meandering storyline, repetitive missions, and just too much obligatory stuff to do without an eye on the smaller details that could have given it much more character. Some fine tuning and editing could have removed the tedium and celebrated what makes this game unique and interesting, but Days Gone rides strictly down the middle of the dusty road and never finds its rhythm.”
PlayStation Lifestyle: 9/10
“Days Gone checks all the boxes of a proverbial PlayStation exclusive, but never feels like it’s stepping on anyone else’s toes. Despite the games, film, and TV that you can easily draw comparisons too, Days Gone handles it all in such a way that it has its own unique identity. The more I played it, the more I loved it, until finally finishing the long journey and not wanting the adventure to end. Sam Witwer is brilliant as Deacon St. John, and his journey of survival, humanity, and self-discovery through a deadly world via motorcycle is a memorable one that shouldn’t be missed.”
Attack of the Fanboy: 8/10
“Days Gone is by no means perfect, but if you’re willing to put up with some shortcomings the reward is one of the best open-world zombie apocalypse games to date.”
Game Informer: 7.75/10
“Days Gone has good gameplay foundations. The scarcity of supplies and ever-present threat of zombies put me on edge as much as it gave me options to escape by the skin of my teeth. But the inability to fully deliver on either the story or open world fronts makes it a title of both possibilities and limitations.”
“The zombie apocalypse is well-trodden territory and the open-world spin of Days Gone can only differentiate it so much. There’s a strong narrative focus, but Deacon St. John doesn’t carry that weight as deftly as he could. There are highlights and fun tools available within, but the game doesn’t push those forward initially, leaving the players to deal with some tedium first. Days Gone is a great foundation for something better though, so hopefully Bend gets the chance to improve upon it.”
“Days Gone ups the open world survival ante but doesn’t have enough cash to pay for the rest of the rounds of betting, making it one of the weirdest AAA releases in recent memory. If enough people buy it, its stronger moments will likely be immortalized in YouTube videos for years to come. Yet, most people will probably remember it as the open world zombie game that didn’t bring much mechanically to the table. With some tweaks to the pacing, it could have reconciled its warm, frank look at humanity and been something special.”
Variety: No Score
“There is a living, breathing undercurrent of ambition undeniable in the scale and intricacy of developer Bend Studio’s creation. And you can tell the effort here is to apply to a naturally tense open-world survival structure the kind of high-impact narrative one would expect from a linearly-funneled action game. But the result is one of the best examples of why that can’t work, and of the damage such an effort can have on otherwise solid foundations. With the game’s pacing ground to dust in service of open world largess, expansiveness, and narrative potential, the core of Days Gone is buried too deep for even a zombified resurrection.
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