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If you've seen one post-apocalyptic wasteland, you've seen them all. When they're caused by zombies or zombie-like creatures, it really sucks. Luckily, we live in a world where we don't have to worry about zombies — probably. But if we did, it might be a little something like what we see in Days Gone, the latest PlayStation 4 exclusive to grace the console. It's an open-world adventure rife with humor, grit, and likable characters who find themselves dealing with a pretty suck-tactic approximation of zombies.
You jump into the boots of Deacon St. John, an outlaw-turned-survivalist who's just trying to find his wife amid the carnage of the undead. Initially, he assumes she passed away after an encounter with one of the cannibalistic, zombie-like Freakers, but later comes to believe that she may still be alive out there. Between him and wherever Sarah may be are tons of the goons, formerly human monsters that feast on any living creature to survive. Transformed into these beings by way of a virus, they aren't any better than zombies, because they still do the same amount of damage.
The game picks up two years after most of humanity succumbed to the Freaker pandemic, with Deacon and his best pal Boozer trying to stay alive as long as they can. They hit the ol' dusty trail on their motorcycles, eking out food and gas where they can, and trying to make some sort of living for themselves. The world doesn't have time for biker gangs anymore, but they're still quite mired in the old ways of living. Deacon is more interested in finding his wife, of course.It's up to you to take on the mantle of Deacon and explore the vast expanse of rural Oregon while avoiding the various Freakers on your tail, all in the name of trying to figure out if Sarah's still out there somewhere, although you're also encouraged to help out the survivors you run into along the way. Like every zombie game ever, there are plenty of different types of enemies that want you dead, too — living, dead, or otherwise.
The basic Freakers are bad enough because they can swarm you in moments, but then you have to worry about Screamers, which can call other Freakers to their aid, as well as the tank Breakers, which take forever to kill. Ammo and supplies are sparse, and you're just a man, so while there's a wide range of weapons to chose from like shotguns, crossbows, and even Molotov cocktails, you can craft additional items from materials found throughout the game world, too — so make sure to scavenge whenever you can.
While combat is satisfying (and there's plenty of it), there's more to do than fight off the bloodthirsty Freakers who want nothing more than to eat you for breakfast, dinner, and lunch. There's a wide world open to the player that you can traverse with your trusty bike, and it seems like everyone wants your help or wants to help you (at least when they're not trying to eat you). You'll learn more about Deacon and his friend Boozer along the way, as well as Sarah, and that's all part of what makes the journey so exciting. This unwinding narrative is chock full of mystery and deftly handled character growth that you'll want to stick around for.
Aside from the main story, there's plenty off the beaten path to explore. You've got tons of side missions at your disposal to complete, meaning that the gameplay stretches to around 30 hours. With the whole of the world stretching out before you, you'll be playing Days Gone for... well, days.
If you're in the market for a new PlayStation 4 title to keep you content until the inevitable deluge of hotly hyped major titles coming out later this year, Days Gone is another worthy gem to add to your library. From Deacon's character development to the believable spin on the zombie apocalypse, you'll find a lot to love here — especially if you're a fan of biker culture, which this game delivers in droves — just like the ridiculous amounts of Freakers in-game.
Days Gone is available to buy now for PlayStation 4.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.