Hands-On: Days Gone

Hands-On: Days Gone

*PS Nation was invited to an event in Santa Monica, California by Sony for a hands-on preview of Days Gone. Travel was paid for by the studio. The game was played on PS4 Pro and a 4K HDR display.

I got some hands-on time with the post-apocalyptic Days Gone from SIE Bend Studio last week in Santa Monica. I was dropped into the world about an hour into the game, well past all the tutorials unfortunately. I decided to take the time to see just how bad things could be for the protagonist Deacon if I went out into the world with little to no ammo and no training.

I was able to wander around the camp and get a sense of what’s involved in the base camp between missions. You can talk to the various people in the camp where you’ll be able to resupply, upgrade things, and move the story forward.

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You’ll probably want to add some personalized touches to your ride and this is where you’ll be doing that. Nearly everything was unavailable to me dues to lack of money and trust level but from what I could see, there appears to be a ton of color and parts options available. I also wandered past a kitchen, an armory of sorts, and a place to collect bounties.

You’ll need money to buy things but to get higher level items you’ll also need to earn a higher trust level. This is a world where people are on edge and they appear to be scrounging for everything they have. You can earn trust by helping out the community and one way to do that is by killing freakers and bringing back their ears as proof.

Because the ears are crucial you’ll need to be careful with how you kill them. Headshots are safer but they’re more likely to destroy the whole head, including those precious ears. You’ll be better served going in for a stealth kill, though it’s a lot more risky.

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There are other survivors out there in the world with their own communities so of course, conflict is inevitable. I had the opportunity to help out the community by checking out some nearby trouble, but with a big open world available to me, how could I resist a little wandering?

The bike handles really well, even at this stage of development so I felt good enough about my command of things to wander out into the world at night. Yes, I knew that the freakers tend to be a little stronger at night but I figured I’d be able to mostly avoid them.

The mini map is useful can be used to guide your towards missions and waypoints but as I got away from camp I was somewhat alarmed by how quickly I was running out of gas. Seriously, if this is the way the final game goes, your base model bike seems to have a gas tank the size of a weed whacker. This may be one of the first things you’ll want to upgrade.

As I rode up a hill, a freaker came out of the woods and charged me but I was able to blow past him. I got to a road and two more popped up. As I revved the engine and moved out of range, one lept at me and knocked me off my bike. This, I was not expecting.

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I tried to hit them with my baseball bat but they were on me too quickly. I tried to put some distance between us but they were too fast. I tried to get on top of a car to get a quick breather but they pulled me right off. I was eventually able to run around a car and back to my bike with just enough time to get on and get away. You do not want to mess with freakers at night, at least early in the game.

Finding gas, and healing up, became a priority but the abandoned cars in the road likely won’t have what you’re looking for. They’ve been out there too long not to have been picked clean. I had to find gas up in the area of my mission.

Sneaking up on a well armed group of enemies isn’t easy, especially without the aid of a few tutorials under your belt, so I tried to slip in unnoticed and take people out quietly. It didn’t go so well, but when you’re spotted and on the run, jumping into a dumpster can help in shaking off most pursuers. It’s then a matter of slipping out again and trying to take them down as quietly as possible.

You can of course set traps, and if they’re something that will cause a lot of commotion, like a bear trap, you’ll be able to pull a lot of enemies into a particular area, away from your objective, making it much easier to complete a mission.

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This is a big open world so there are many ways to approach a situation. The game seems geared towards letting players decide what works best for them. Shooting enemies can work pretty well, but the guns you have early on are pretty noisy. A crossbow can help, but good old fashioned stealth is usually your best bet.

The hand to hand combat works well and feels pretty good but I’m more interested in seeing how tight it all is by the time the game is ready for launch. The full story is still a mystery but I expect we’ll be hearing more about that next month at E3.

Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by SIE Bend Studio, Days Gone is currently in development for PlayStation 4 with a 2019 release date to be determined.

* All screens used in this preview were provided by the publisher.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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