There’s no denying that Days Gone doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by some of Sony’s previous first-party blockbusters.
From Spider-Man and God of War to Nioh, Horizon Zero Dawn and the excellent Bloodborne, the PS4 has been blessed with some truly exceptional releases.
Days Gone isn’t as consistently outstanding as the aforementioned games, but it does have moments of brilliance.
Remember the zombie hordes that blew everybody away during the game’s E3 reveal back in 2016?
While not quite as polished and plentiful as they were made out to be, these horde battles are still spectacular.
Randomly stumbling upon a horde of zombies when you’re off exploring for fuel or scrap is wildly exhilarating.
You’re constantly playing for time and space, turning back to fire off a few well-placed shots, or letting rip with a molotov or two. They’re a real spectacle and incredibly intense.
And while there are human threats and animal dangers, it’s the threat of being stranded out in the wilderness that elevates Days Gone to another level.
As a biker, lead character Deacon St. John navigates the sprawling – and quite often stunning – map on the back of his trusty motorcycle.
But your motorbike isn’t as reliable as you’d like, and you’re going to have to find fuel and perform repairs if it’s to get you from A to B.
While not as deep as dedicated survival games like Ark Survival Evolved, Days Gone’s scavenging and survival elements do make the game world feel more alive, more authentic and more dangerous.
The possibility of breaking down or running out of fuel forces you to take extra care when you’re driving, and to explore areas you would previously ignore.
With some interesting story missions, impressive set-pieces, surprising random events and engaging survival mechanics, Days Gone is rarely boring.
My biggest problem with Days Gone is that it all feels just a bit sloppy.
The storytelling isn’t anywhere as smooth as it is in other first-party releases like God of War, Uncharted and The Last of Us, despite the obvious influences of the latter.
Instead of the smooth cinematic transitions and subtle character interactions we’ve become accustomed to, cutscenes feel like they’ve been clumsily crowbarred into the game.
The significance of your actions aren’t always clear and some of the characters aren’t fleshed out, which makes it harder to care one way or another.
This sense of sloppiness is further highlighted by a few more bugs than we would have expected to encounter from a first-party Sony game – although post-release updates have certainly helped here.
If you’ve ever craved a decent Walking Dead action game, then while Days Gone may not have the license, it does feel about as close as you’ll ever get.