PAX 2018: Hands-On Days Gone Preview

October 31, 2018

The lines for Days Gone at PAX 2018 were massive as Sony had presented it perfectly with temporary fences, a fire in a barrel, and full-size freakers (zombies) hanging upside down. It was a must-play game at PAX 2018, and the Sony reps were nice enough to let us sneak in on Saturday for a demo.

There were two options at the start, a story-driven experience or fighting a horde of freakers. For our Days Gone preview we decided to go for the story-driven experience so that we could check out the mechanics of the game and see whether we think the game is going to be a top seller or not.

Days Gone preview

The Days Gone preview started off slowly, giving us limited weaponry and gameplay options. We were looking for a part to fix a car and there was a garage ahead, but of course between us and the spare part were freakers. The melee weapon system involved some accurate timing. The basic freakers were slow-moving until they got close and then they would lunge at you, meaning if there were several in the area you could quickly become overrun. It looks like there will be many different types of freakers as you work your way through the game, as well as humans, wildlife, and probably other things to kill.

One type of freaker that appeared in our Days Gone preview was the Newt. These have been showcased at E3 and other events beforehand, so they were nothing new, but it was a new experience for us as Newts are freakers which were infected when they were children. They are small, and you have to get past the fact that you’re shooting or whacking a child with a baseball bat if you want to enjoy Days Gone. It was a bit of a moral dilemma but it’s important to remember that they are freakers/zombies and not actual children. The Newts are opportunistic and will typically only attack you if you’re in combat or have low health.

Progressing through the demo, we noticed there were many items to pick up. Crafting is going to play a large role in Days Gone, and it will definitely cause you to think outside of the box and explore every location for resources. There wasn’t even a simple health pack to pick up, even that had to be crafted with three different items. We assume this was an early stage of the game though, and that as you build up your character you will have better access to items and weapons.

Days Gone preview

Cut-scenes in the Days Gone preview were incredibly polished. For a game which has been in development since 2015 and experienced a delay or two (we still think it was originally planned to release in 2018), it was pretty clear that the cut-scenes are already finished and ready for launch. What was also clear was that the in-game animations still needed some work. After finding the car part in the garage and clearing out, we noticed the game getting a bit jittery and when a motorbike rode off after a cut-scene it staggered across the road awkwardly.

From our hands-on Days Gone preview, it is becoming clear that the game has hit some development hurdles. We love a good zombie game here at Rocket Chainsaw, and we’re still waiting for an open-world game that feels like The Walking Dead universe. Days Gone is shaping up to be just that, so hopefully some fine tuning from Bend Studio at Sony Interactive will ensure it to be one of the biggest games of 2019.

Days Gone preview

Rocket Chainsaw has been following Days Gone since its reveal, and you can read more about here, here and here.

Days Gone is launching exclusively on PlayStation 4 on April 26, 2019. For more information head to the official Days Gone website here.