Evaluating the Post-Apocalyptic Open World of Days Gone

days-gone poster

Fact Details
Title Days Gone
Genre Action-adventure, Survival horror
Developer Bend Studio
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Release Date April 26, 2019 (PS4), May 18th 2021 (PC)
Setting Post-apocalyptic Oregon, USA
Playable Character Deacon St. John
Gameplay Features
  • Open-world exploration
  • Survival elements (gathering resources, crafting)
  • Dynamic weather and day-night cycle
  • Combat against human enemies and zombie-like creatures (Freakers)
  • Motorcycle riding and customization

Developed by Bend Studio as a Playstation exclusive, Days Gone drops you into the rugged Pacific Northwest two years after a global pandemic turned millions into feral creatures called Freakers. Armed with your drifter bike and an arsenal of weapons, you embark on a perilous quest for survival and meaning.

In this review, we will evaluate the successes and shortcomings of Days Gone's ambitious open world, narratively-driven take on the zombie apocalypse genre. From horde combat to crafting and customization, we have analyzed the varied gameplay systems that bring the dangers of the Broken Road to life. While technical issues hamper the experience at times, your journey through the remnants of society proves to be one worth taking for fans of the post-apocalypse.

days-gone deacon runs from a horde

Deacon St.John running from a Horde

Overview of Days Gone's Post-Apocalyptic Open World

Vast Open World

The post-apocalyptic open world of Days Gone is set in the forests and small towns of Oregon. You have the freedom to explore the expansive open world on your drifter bike. The world is filled with dynamic weather effects, wildlife, and changing environments.

Realistic Survival Elements

To survive in the harsh open world, you have to scavenge for resources and supplies. You need to manage your hunger, thirst, stamina, health, and bike fuel levels. Resources are scarce, so you have to loot abandoned buildings, vehicles, and camps. The day-night cycle also impacts the world by affecting zombie and animal behavior.

Diverse Activities and Challenges

The open world offers diverse activities and challenges outside of the main story missions. You can hunt animals, clear out zombie nests, take on ambush camps, explore caves, find collectibles, and more. There are also dynamic random encounters with survivors, enemies, and zombies throughout the world. Completing side activities rewards you with resources, credits, and trust for camps.

Transport and Stealth

Your drifter bike is your primary mode of transport for traversing the open world. You can upgrade your bike to improve speed, durability, and fuel efficiency. When moving on foot, you have to employ stealth to avoid detection from zombies and human enemies. You can sneak up on enemies to perform silent takedowns and loot their corpses. Overall, the open world provides an engaging survival experience in a post-apocalyptic Oregon.

Days_Gone zombie horde

A Horde Of The Freakers

Evaluating Days Gone's Story, Characters and Missions

Compelling Yet Familiar Post-Apocalyptic Story

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world in the Pacific Northwest, two years after a global pandemic. You play as Deacon St. John, a bounty hunter and former motorcycle club member trying to survive with other human encampments. While the setting is a familiar post-apocalyptic trope, the story of human struggle and relationships keeps you engaged. However, the predictable plot twists and cliche characters prevent the story from reaching its full potential.

Memorable Missions and Side Quests

The main story missions are entertaining, taking you to diverse locations across the map. However, the side missions are repetitive, requiring you to clear ambush camps, loot buildings or escort survivors. While the horde confrontations provide intense action, the lack of mission variety impacts replay value. The open world activities like hunting, crafting and scavenging supplement the missions but become tedious over long play sessions.

Flawed Yet Complex Characters

Deacon is a likable protagonist, showcasing a range of emotions in his quest for truth and justice. However, his frequent sullen outbursts reduce his appeal at times. Other characters like Boozer, Rikki and Lisa add depth but remain underdeveloped. The antagonists are generic, lacking clear motives for their actions. Overall, the characters show promise but need stronger development and backstories to become truly memorable.

With a captivating yet familiar story, entertaining missions and complex characters, Days Gone provides an enjoyable open world experience despite some flaws. Expanding mission variety, strengthening character development and adding unpredictable plot elements could elevate this into a post-apocalyptic epic.

days-gone deacon shoots wolf

Deacon Shoots at a Freaker Wolf

The Highs and Lows of Days Gone's Gameplay Mechanics

You will find that the gameplay mechanics in Days Gone fluctuate between compelling and tedious. On the positive side, the open world environment is gorgeous and expansive, with plenty to explore on Deacon's motorcycle. The crafting system allows you to create useful items to aid your survival, including Molotov cocktails, proximity mines, and bandages. Stealth and combat controls are also generally smooth and intuitive.

The Low's

However, the mission design leaves much to be desired, relying too heavily on repetitive "go here, kill zombies, return" objectives. The horde encounters, while thrilling in theory, often descend into frustrating trial-and-error attempts. Additionally, the human enemy AI is lackluster, with foes frequently getting stuck in the environment or ignoring you even when you are in plain sight.

The High's

The game's saving grace lies in its story, which starts slow but builds to a dramatic and moving conclusion. If you can push past the repetitive aspects of the gameplay, Days Gone's narrative and characters prove worth the investment. The open world also holds many surprises and secrets for those willing to venture off the beaten path. However, more mission variety and improved enemy AI would have helped the gameplay reach its full potential. Overall, Days Gone provides a solid open world experience for zombie fans seeking a sprawling post-apocalyptic adventure.


Ultimately, Days Gone provides an expansive open world survival experience set in a detailed post-apocalyptic vision of the Pacific Northwest. While some may find aspects of the gameplay or storytelling lacking in depth, the sheer scope of the world and the number of hours one can lose roaming the broken roads on Deacon's drifter bike make it worth exploring for fans of the genre. If you're looking for a massive zombie sandbox playground to get lost in, Days Gone delivers an engaging world filled with threats, secrets, and stories to discover. Approaching it with an open mind for its flaws, you're bound to find memorable adventures in the Farewell Wilderness.


Rating 7

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