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Days Gone – “That’ll do”

"That'll do, everything was that'll do"- (Jeremy Clarkson-Top Gear Bolivia Special)

I have to start with the honest statement that I've never had any real motivation to play this game, I didn't realise it was in development until it released, and I only played it because I was looking for something to play, so put all the games I had access to into a random generator and out came the open world zombie adventure, " Days Gone".

The story is nothing new. A zombie outbreak, a few struggling communities, and a one-tone protagonist searching for his lost-loved one. Indeed, Deacon St John is a main hero who struggles to connect with the audience, he spends his days doing jobs for people he complains about, and killing zombies and bandits. The main driving force behind the character is the search for his wife, who Deacon thought perished in the initial outbreak, and to me we go through the cycle of Deacon finding hope, to having those hopes squashed and going into a state of grief too many times. The lack of character development for our protagonist is felt throughout the game, and while you could argue that this represents the the depression of the world set, we actually find ourselves more invested in the initial secondary character Boozer, who goes through an actually interesting story of losing his arm, going through the depression of not being able to ride or fight, and having to find a new role in the world.

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Gameplay wise it's pretty standard, the inspiration from other open world story-driven games such as Red Dead and The Witcher are quite easy to see and the fight or flight gun-play adds nothing new to the industry. There's even a Red Dead style Focus system that Deacon just sort of has as a gift without explanation. But the main feature to talk about is the motorcycle gameplay. You take your ride everywhere you go, refuelling it manually with gas cans you find in the world, you upgrade it to use less fuel or to take harder hits, and the off-roading especially feels very satisfying. My problem is with it is the same problem I find with most of the game. They added a solid feature but just didn't develop it enough, there's only one bike to ride and thus it feels too similar after a while, and outside of a few chance encounters with dogs and a couple of quests involving motorcycle chases, it feels very A to B. I never thought i'd be upset about the lack of a motorcycle race. Finally if you were like me, the one thing you did know about this game was its Horde system, that frightened streamers and reviewers alike. Unfortunately what I found was no real motivation to take on one of these hordes, they pop up in a few cutscenes or in the background of some missions, but the only time I really took one on was when they accidentally turned up in the middle of a rescue mission, and in the situation, they were more of a passing nuisance than an awe-inspiring chance encounter.

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One thing I found loving in this game was its music. Nathan Whitehead does a stunning job of adding a maturity to this game, they lifted the many flashback scenes. And the added Acoustic singers to key travelling moments gave me Goosebumps. If there's one thing I am taking from this game is it's soundtrack.

So all in all everything felt "That'll do" from the developers, they add some solid foundations but just don't develop them enough to justify sticking around for what feels like an incredibly long main story. I can't ever see myself playing this game again, however I would like to see where a sequel could go both in story and gameplay.

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