Days Gone

De­vel­oper Bend Stu­dio Pub­lisher SIE For­mat PS4 Re­lease TBA

EDGE - - DISPATCHES PERSPECTIVE -

The ma­jor­ity of hu­man­ity has been re­duced to preda­tory mon­sters known as Freak­ers

Days Gone’s set­ting may feel like an un­com­fort­ably fa­mil­iar blend of The Walk­ing Dead, The Last Of Us and Sons Of Anar­chy, but on first show­ing Bend Stu­dio’s first new IP since

Syphon Fil­ter man­ages to carve out a fleshy space all of its own. Set in the Pa­cific North­west that serves as Bend’s back­yard, play­ers are cast as Dea­con St John, a for­mer biker gang road cap­tain who now finds him­self scav­eng­ing and col­lect­ing boun­ties in a world raked by an as-yet-un­ex­plained pan­demic.

While the ori­gin of the dis­ease re­mains a mys­tery for now, its ef­fects are hor­ri­fy­ingly clear. The ma­jor­ity of hu­man­ity has been re­duced to preda­tory mon­sters known as Freak­ers, gnarled in­di­vid­u­als who move con­sid­er­ably more quickly than you de­spite their poor health, and are of­ten en­coun­tered in groups hun­dreds strong (they’re not zom­bies – a fact the team is forced to point out sev­eral times to the rather un­re­cep­tive group of jour­nal­ists in our be­hind-closed-doors pre­sen­ta­tion). You can try to run into the wilder­ness if you want, but you’ll be quickly caught out in the open. This sets up the core of Days Gone’s crowd-man­age­ment com­bat, in which you must try to im­pede the re­lent­less on­slaught of a swarm­ing mass of killers.

They move like a vis­cous fluid across the land­scape, forc­ing their way through win­dows and door­ways and tum­bling over each other as your bul­lets cut the head off a writhing beast that con­tin­u­ally re­plen­ishes it­self. This isn’t sim­ply an AI kit­ing sim­u­la­tor, how­ever, and St John can use the en­vi­ron­ment and a se­lec­tion of jury-rigged tools to in­crease the dis­tance be­tween him­self and a par­tic­u­larly nasty evis­cer­a­tion. Doors can be slammed shut and bolted, a hinged con­veyor belt line pro­vides a con­ve­nient (if tem­po­rary) block­ade, while an ex­plo­sive pack placed on a pile of logs at one point dur­ing the demo buries dozens of Freak­ers un­der heavy tim­ber. The respite lasts sec­onds be­fore they be­gin scram­bling over the top, but it’s enough head­room to plan the next move. The pan­icked scram­ble is punc­tu­ated by other en­vi­ron­men­tal kills, such as the mo­ment St John forces the head of a Freaker un­for­tu­nate enough to break through a door first into a static cir­cu­lar saw blade.

Your great­est ally is your cus­tomised mo­tor­bike, which func­tions as a mo­bile in­ven­tory as well as a rugged mode of trans­port ca­pa­ble of squeez­ing through nar­row gaps and, cru­cially, out­run­ning the horde. The ma­chine can be dam­aged, how­ever, and a ‘check en­gine’ light on your HUD will let you know if a spot of main­te­nance is in or­der. You’ll also have to worry about fuel, es­pe­cially given all the Molo­tov cock­tails you’ll be craft­ing.

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