Fighting a freaker horde in Days Gone certainly is something else

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Days-Gone-E3

I’m still feeling divisive over Days Gone. It should be another fantastic first-party Sony exclusive and I genuinely believe that its heart is in the right place: It has a terrific cast of actors, its setup is neat and its world is dangerously crazy. In a post-apocalypse where the only thing that you can trust is your wits and your wheels, Days Gone is slowly starting to grow on me.

I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be a niche title however, especially in light of the ludicrously high bar that Sony has set for itself with Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War. What Days Gone does have going for it, are its Freakers. Disgusting remnants of humanity with a taste for flesh, Freakers are rabid dogs who need to be put down whenever they get a whiff of your scent.

Days Gone (2)

One or two Freakers are easy enough… but several hundred all at the same time? That’s exactly the kind of threat that I experienced at E3 when I decided to play Days Gone. According to Sony Bend, I’d be fighting a moderate size horde of the infected human vermin, and I certainly had the tools for the job: A decent shotgun, plenty of ammo in a light machine gun and a few explosives.

I’d need more than those tools to do the job however, as I quickly discovered that even a machine gun on full auto is no match for the horde. On a replay, I decided to become more tactical. Plenty of opportunities were present to funnel the undead herd into chokepoints, explosive barrels were scattered across the landscape and I knew I’d need to be savvy with how I used those manmade advantages to my benefit.

Days Gone (4)

It’s easier said than done though.

In action, outrunning Freakers and keeping them corralled into one manageable group of flailing teeth on two legs is challenging stuff, as you’ve got to watch your front and your rear. Credit to Sony Bend in this area, as Deacon St John can keep running while the camera is moved behind him, a small but cunning gameplay choice that makes a massive difference to the pace of a fight.

Days Gone (5)

In the end, I was mauled beyond recognition by the horde, but my white knuckles, sweaty palms and mom’s spaghetti on my shirt seemed to indicate that I’d gotten a considerable amount of enjoyment out of the experience. Like I said, Days Gone is starting to grow on me. It’s starting to define itself, although the real challenge lies in it communicating to fans why they should give it a chance in a market that is already drowning in open-world adventures.

Still, it’s a hell of an improvement from last year’s showing, and a sign that Days Gone does show some promise for those fans who desire a sandbox that is actively attempting to murder them.

Quick thoughts

Days Gone (3)

  • I was genuinely surprised to see Freakers cannibalise one another
  • I also ran into some Rippers in a stealthier playthrough, and buddy those guys are nuts
  • Sam Witwer’s performance is amazingly captured by the Days Gone team
  • Plenty of facial ticks, motions and great acting shines through the motion capture
  • I will never not be amazed at how several hundred Freakers can coordinate their mad rush to eat your face off, so fluidly
  • You need really really quick thinking and reflexes to survive a horde
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Last Updated: June 14, 2018

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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