More PlayStation games on PC is always a good thing. Now this one I’ve heard mixed views on, but given that I never got the chance to play the original, I went in with a fresh mindset.
I am going to start with what is likely to be what most people are looking for: the quality of the PC port. I have been unable to get my hands on an RTX 3080, so I’m still rocking that GTX 1070 Ti. Given that, I went into Days Gone fully expecting to not run it that well, but was surprised when I had the opposite experience. Running at 1440p and placing everything at medium settings (which actually still looks good), I was able to play through the game hovering around 70-80 fps and rarely dropping below 60.
Whether I be indoors gunning down enemies, going off of ramps in the open-world with trees everywhere, or even tracking a horde of 100+ zombies, the framerate remained rock-solid through all of this. It was a complete change of pace compared to the recent AAA games I’ve played – most recently The Medium, whose awful performance has scarred me to this day.
Along with this solid performance comes a mountain of settings you can change – including FOV (which I set to 90), render scale, quality sliders, draw distance, motion blur, and even HDR settings if you have a display for it. The game supports uncapped framerates as well – which I was able to test by lowering my render scale until the fps cut off at the 155 allowed by my monitor.
Controls are completely rebindable on keyboard and mouse, but I felt no need to change them. The defaults are fine and I had no issues playing through the game entirely with mouse and keyboard. In fact, it might actually be a bit too easy this way because if you have at least somewhat decent aim, you can make pretty much every gun a one-shot kill if you land a headshot – even with a pistol from afar (granted, this was on normal difficulty).
Controller is still an option though and includes its own settings – such as aim snapping. I also got a chuckle out of seeing not just DualShock support, but Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Switch Pro controller settings – a bit of an odd sight for a Sony-published game, but a welcome one nonetheless.
Overall, I was impressed with the PC port. Not just for running well at 1440p on my aging graphics card, but for offering a relatively bug-free and polished experience. Solid controls, solid framerate, solid visuals – it’s much better than the subpar ports we usually get. I should note though, I said “relatively bug-free” because I did run into a single crash during my time with the game. I didn’t lose any progress, but any crash at all is worth mentioning.
Of course, the good port would be wasted if the base game itself was bad, but yet again I was surprised there. Maybe it’s because I went into the game with low expectations given its mixed reception on PS4, but I actually enjoyed it. Not just the gameplay, but the story, the atmosphere, all of that.
You get what is effectively an open-world Last of Us – and I know the comparisons are inevitable so I’m just going to get that out of the way from the start. You drive around on your motorcycle, completing missions and jobs for various camps, and dispatch of both zombies and enemy gangs in a very unforgiving world – one where you are constantly running out of ammo and fuel.
Combat, for the most part, is pretty fun. There’s a decent variety of weapons to use and the general feel of aiming, swapping, and shooting is all solid. As mentioned previously, it is even better on PC because you can really put that CSGO aim to work with the mouse aiming and easy headshots. Melee combat is more of a mixed bag. It’s basically “spam left click and occasionally dodge” with attacks being magnetic towards enemies – like in the Batman Arkham games. It gets better once you add upgrades, but I ended up sticking with guns for the most part – the crossbow being my personal favorite because you can craft ammo for it on the go.
Enemy variety is also a bit of a mixed bag. For the most party, it’s the same type of zombie and human enemy thrown at you repeatedly. Only later do you get armored enemies, different zombie types, and the like – but still not quite enough to really give the game the variety it needs there. It’s only when hordes start becoming more common that it gets more exciting, as you literally have 100+ zombies on-screen and they will absolutely shred you if you are not prepared. Messing with these hordes and setting up traps and explosives to deal with them was easily one of my favorite things to do and I’m glad they became such a central part to the game later on.
Driving is a good chunk of the experience too and, just like the combat, it is also fun, but not without its issues. The actual feel to the motorcycle is great. Turning, accelerating, going off of ramps – it’s all pretty intuitive and I managed to get through the game without ever outright crashing (although I may have launched myself off a cliff a couple times accidentally). It can get pretty hectic at times, with zombies and wolves chasing you and trying to throw you off or when you’re tasked with gunning down another biker while going max speed – which only goes up as the game goes on and you get more bike upgrades.
That said, there is a major drawback to the driving: fuel. Just like ammo, you will constantly need to scavenge for gas, but Days Gone goes a bit extreme with its requirements. Like, you will literally expend an entire tank of gas going a mere 2 kilometers (a little over a mile in American units). You do get tank upgrades as you progress, but even then, the constant need to refuel is very annoying and easily one of my least favorite things about the game.
That leads me to exploration and the overall design of the map. This area of the game is neither good, nor outright bad. Like, the random events, burning of nests, and clearing of enemy camps is fun and all, but there isn’t enough of it. It’s not like Fallout or Elder Scrolls where there’s side quests and locations everywhere, it’s more of a “oh, an enemy camp to quickly clear before moving on” kinda thing. Even when you do find an abandoned town to explore, it’s mostly the same crafting materials you found in the last – nothing to really differentiate them. I just wish the game world were more dense with actual content and didn’t encourage me to fast travel everywhere.
And that finally brings me to the story – a web of twists and turns that makes an otherwise okay experience into a good one. Sure, it may be a bit too long for its own good, but I enjoyed it. Characters that actually have depth and make reasonable decisions, acting that doesn’t come across as forced, and an overall writing style that keeps you playing – it is anything but predictable and boring. I went into the game expecting some edgy biker dude gunning down zombies, but quickly grew to like the main character here – faults and all. He’s logical, resourceful, calm, yet ruthless when he needs to be – the perfect combination to carry a gritty story like this.
The story does all of this while maintaining a good gameplay balance too. It may be a story-driven game, but it didn’t feel like I was being forced out of the gameplay to make story progress and you’re even given warnings when passing points of no return. Overall, it’s a bit slow to get going, but once it does – the story becomes really interesting, even if it is a bit ridiculous at times.
Days Gone is both a solid PC port and a solid game. Fun gameplay and good storytelling all while running at a steady framerate with little in the way of bugs or technical issues. Sure, the base game may have some issues (particularly in the way of exploration and world design), but it’s a fun experience all things considered and I do not regret my time with it.
Quote: Days Gone is both a solid PC port and a solid game. Fun gameplay and good storytelling all while running at a steady framerate with little in the way of bugs or technical issues.
You can buy Days Gone on Steam here. It retails for $50 USD and of course is also available on PS4 with performance upgrades available for PS5.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.