I’ve already had my fill of zombie games. During E3 2016, tidbits of Days Gone were shown. It was short on info and heavy on the undead. I dismissed it.
Lo and behold, Days Gone makes a more substantial appearance – with actual gameplay – during E3 2017. I’m still bored of zombies – called freakers here – but I’m listening.
The gameplay trailer shows some of the different elements that the game offers. A few of them involve QTE’s…which I hate with a passion. There weren’t that many, though, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. What I did see were a lot of different gameplay systems. And the freakers were only a part of it.
The freakers are actually not the main threat for Deacon St. John, the game’s protagonist. It’s actually the world itself. Days Gone has a lot of stealth elements, and the world actually impacts Deacon’s ability to skulk around. There are traps strewn about that trigger dynamic events. One of them is shown during the trailer when he gets snagged by a clothesline trap that led to a QTE-heavy sequence. If there are any freakers around when they happen, I figure things will get tense. Fortunately, the dynamic events can be avoided if spotted and dodged.
The actual elements themselves also help or hinder stealthiness. In snow, the zomb…err, freakers will have their visibility reduced. They’ll also be stronger, so players need to be sure not to alert them. In rain, Sounds are muffled, allowing Deacon to do his Solid Snake impression with more ease.
The weather changes are dynamic as well. SIE Bend Studio, the developers of Days Gone, showed off a different demo to the one shown on stage. In that demo, there was a blanket of snow on the ground. The wolves that distracted Deacon were not present because of the cold, and he was able to spot the ambush, flank the party, and dust them off. That adds a level of strategy to the open world that will keep players on their toes.
The freakers, however, are the most constant threat. I may be tired of the undead, but I’m thoroughly unsettled by these. Instead of the typical shamblers you see in older Resident Evil games, these rush at you like the ones in 28 Days Later. And they are always in packs. During the gameplay trailer onstage, Deacon sneaks up on an enemy encampment and uses an explosive to attract a horde of freakers that were nearby. Watching them swarm the camp and annihilate everything on the ground level was pretty cool…and unnerving.
The goal of wiping out the camp’s grunts was to reach the upper level, where Deacon saved someone who knows how to repair his bike. That bike, a customized chopper, is his primary way of getting around. If it takes too much punishment, it’ll be out of commission, forcing Deacon to find a way to get it fixed. I’m sure we can expect that the chopper can be extensively customized.
Oh, and there’s an infected bear at the end of the trailer. Because of course there is!
I’m still bored to death of zombie games. Days Gone, though, has enough going for it that I may forgive the 4,792nd reimagining of the undead apocalypse and give it a try. I just need to know when it comes out. Days Gone currently has no release date.