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Read This Before Buying Days Gone

In April 2018, Sony hit the jackpot when it released the Santa Monica Studio-developed God of War, a reboot/sequel to the popular button-mashing action series. For the Sony brand, this PlayStation 4 exclusive was one of the year's best sellers and also generated a lot of praise during awards season, winning the coveted Game of the Year honor at The Game Awards. Now, almost exactly one year later, the powerhouse company hopes to have another exclusive hit on its hands.


Days Gone, a new, single-player survival-action IP, is scheduled to release on April 26, 2019. Revealed back at E3 2016, the SIE Sony Bend title has gone through a rigorous development cycle, including a short delay that pushed it back two months from its original February release date. Now, with the worldwide release imminent, it's time to get an understanding of what this game has to offer. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about Days Gone before buying it.

Sony Bend is back

Sony Bend, now officially known as SIE Bend Studio, hasn't released a video game since 2011's Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a PlayStation Vita (RIP) game that was a launch title for the handheld in Japan and released just two months later in the United States. Outside of some work on the 2012 Uncharted card game, Fight for Fortune, Bend went quiet. While many speculated about what the first-party developer was working on, it took a vague recruitment post in 2015 to essentially confirm that Bend was making an Unreal Engine 4-based PS4 exclusive.


Now, four years later, the world is just a short wait away from seeing that ambitious exclusive in action. The studio famous for creating Syphon Filter has built this new IP from the ground up, utilizing its experience in the action-adventure genre to create something big, beautiful, and unique. And, if that 2015 recruitment post is accurate, Days Gone will "push the PS4 somewhere it's never been before."

What is Days Gone?

Set in a post-apocalyptic version of the Pacific Northwest, Days Gone is an open-world, third-person survival horror game centered around protagonist Deacon St. John. St. John, a bounty hunter and drifter, navigates the world as it deals with the fallout from the global pandemic that took his significant other from him. While much of his character motivation has been kept under wraps, it's known that he was once an outlaw and now travels in search of something to live for.


Throughout the game, you'll control Deacon as he fights off hordes of freakers — zombie-like humans infected by a virus — and traverses the beautiful Pacific Northwest on his motorcycle. Along the way, you'll upgrade Deacon as well as his bike, craft weapon mods, and manage resources in order to survive the dangerous world. Speaking of the world, Days Gone offers a huge map full of interactive environments, side quests, and outposts with shopping and trading options. This is a full-fledged open-world experience that could take you upwards of 30 hours to finish.

An exclusive experience

Much like 2018's God of War, Days Gone was designed as an exclusive PlayStation 4 experience. Don't expect to find this popping up on Steam or the Microsoft Store. And according to studio director Chris Reese, it'll perform even better on a PS4 Pro. Though it will still only run at 30 frames per second on the Pro, it will provide fantastic visuals even if you don't play it on a 4K TV.


Outside of the visuals, Bend designed this game as a completely single-player experience. The entire game centers around your experience as Deacon St. John. During your travels across the Pacific Northwest, you'll encounter other human characters, wild animals, and numerous freakers. However, Days Gone is, at its core, a one-person game. You won't find any cooperative gameplay options or multiplayer modes. It's just you and your motorcycle against the world.

A beautiful, ugly world

This isn't your typical survival horror game. Unlike something like the recently released Resident Evil 2 remake, Days Gone doesn't confine you to dark, creepy areas infested with zombies. You'll navigate picturesque terrain, traveling through forested areas, as well as dank caves, lava fields, and frozen tundras. You'll happen upon small towns, mountains, steep cliffs, and river basins. On its surface, the game's world looks like it's perfect for sightseeing. However, there won't be time for that, because survival is all that matters. And you'll have to deal with freakers, bandits, and wild animals throughout your travels just to stay alive.


Throughout the varied open world, you'll happen upon interactive environments that can help you fight off the gigantic hordes of freakers. For example, in the E3 2016 gameplay trailer, the devs showed off a lumber yard sequence, where Deacon can interact with conveyor belts and mechanical doors, as well as blow up barrels and piles of timber, to slow down the oncoming masses of enemies.

Your mode of transportation

As a former outlaw and biker, Deacon's one-and-only mode of transportation — besides his feet — is his motorcycle. You'll utilize this bike to travel across the open world, upgrading it along the way with the help of encampments and outposts. As a "character" of its own, your bike needs to be handled with care and upgraded throughout the game. If you damage your bike on the road, you can do field repair to get it back into riding shape or buy more durable parts from outposts and traders. You'll have access to unique features, speed upgrades, and increased gas mileage.


You see, this bike doesn't run on batteries. During your travels, you'll have to periodically make pit stops to gas up the bike and keep the engine running. This is where things can get tricky, as filling the gas tank isn't an instant process. You'll have to find gas, usually at fuel stations, but you often won't be alone. Whether it's bandits looking for that same gas or a horde of freakers surrounding the area, you'll likely have to deal with some sticky situations just to get enough fuel for the next leg of your journey.

Threats galore

If you remember The Last of Us — a game that people incorrectly compared Days Gone to in its early days — you weren't just up against those cannibalistic, mutated creatures. You also had to deal with human enemies, desperate people trying to survive and thrive in a post-apocalyptic world. In Days Gone, you'll have similar diversity in the foes you come up against. Sure, Sony has mostly shown off the freakers, those infected humans that run and hunt in giant packs. However, you'll also run into other enemies along your lengthy journey.


One huge enemy that Bend Studio highlighted was the infected bear. Black bears are often found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and Days Gone take that fact and makes it a thousand times more frightening by turning a bear into a menacing "zombified" version of itself called a Rager. You'll also find Runners: giant wolves that mutated after the virus. They often travel in packs and can actually keep pace with Deacon's bike.

Finally, you'll find multiple human enemies that serve as threats to Deacon. You'll encounter Rippers, fearless cultists that revere the infection and the freakers that came about because of it. They'll stop at nothing to kill those that threaten them. Finally, there are good old-fashioned bad guys who will kill you just to survive this brutal world; they're called Marauders.


Is that Starkiller?

If you've checked out any media surrounding Days Gone and thought that Deacon St. John sounded familiar, you're not alone. If you've been playing high-profile video games for a long time, you likely have played another game that featured a voice similar to that of the game's protagonist: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.


Yes, the actor playing St. John is none other than Sam Witwer, who's famous for playing Starkiller in both The Force Unleashed and its sequel. Over the years, Witwer has also voiced Darth Maul in multiple Star Wars games, the TV show Star Wars: Rebels, and even Solo: A Star Wars Story. Witwer has made a name for himself through his video game roles, but he's also carved out a live-action acting career, most notably as Agent Liberty in the Supergirl TV series.

Now, Witwer's back in the video game world, playing Deacon in what should be his biggest video game role. Sure, he played the lead in both TFU games, but presumably he'll get to flex his acting muscles much more in Days Gone, considering there's an estimated six hours of cutscenes.


What are the hands-on previews saying?

Recently, the Days Gone embargo lifted and publications started to release their impressions based on about four-to-five hours' worth of hands-on gameplay. For the most part, it looks as though critics were encouraged by those first few hours. TechRadar made a point of highlighting the game's high production value as well as its fantastic motion capture and voice acting.


Kotaku, somewhat hilariously, pointed out just how much of a AAA game Days Gone really is. Open world, upgrade system, skill wheel, crafting, side missions — the game has it all. Yet, with the jokes came a lot of positivity surrounding the game. That said, the site's Jason Schreier did express his dislike of the shooting, stating that the aiming felt "very weird and soft and imprecise."

IGN's Jon Ryan wrote about his first few hours with the game, expressing his enjoyment but ultimately wondering if the gameplay could hold his attention for 30-plus hours. He mentioned that the game didn't add anything revolutionary to the open-world genre, but still provided a lot of impressive moments early on.


The different editions

Like most AAA titles these days, Days Gone has multiple different editions available for preorder. First off, preordering any editions from any retailers comes with in-game rewards, including an early unlock of the Drifter Crossbow, the first Nitrous Upgrade, the first Gas Tank Upgrade, and the first Shroud upgrade.


The Standard Edition of the game is just that: the game's standard release. It comes with the game and the aforementioned preorder bonuses.

The Digital Deluxe Edition comes with the game, as well as a digital art book published by Dark Horse Comics, a digital soundtrack, a PS4 dynamic theme, an early unlock of the Monkey Wrench skill, and three skins for your bike. This version is digital-only, and you can preorder it through select retailers and the PlayStation Store.

Finally, there's the $140 Collector's Edition. This comes with the game, a statue featuring Deacon and his bike, a steelbook case, six collector's pins, a physical art book, physical soundtrack, a sew-on patch, and four decals. It also comes with the same PS4 dynamic theme, skill unlock, and three bike skins from the Digital Deluxe version.