Days Gone on Steam is a very competent port with lots of options to tailor to your PC. It’s a great game but still suffers from pacing issues, especially early on.
It’s actually really great to see Sony willing to put more games on PC and this one in particular because I had never finished the PlayStation 4 release. I had tried numerous times, but each time ended up putting the controller down in the hopes I would come back to it again later. I wanted to finish it – and was even planning on picking it up on the PlayStation 5 (hoping those load times would be a little better) – but it made more sense just to start fresh on PC.
Another zombie apocalypse
Days Gone has a familiar setup. A strange virus has overtaken the world, turning people into what the game calls “Freaks.” For all intents and purposes, they’re zombies. Players take control of Deacon St. John on a journey to uncover the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, find out the fate of his wife, and keep his best friend Boozer alive.
Deacon St. John is a big softy. From the outside, he’s a gruff, bearded member of a biker gang. In reality, though, it’s very apparent that he cares deeply for the people around him and is willing to do anything to help those he loves.
There are still pacing issues
One of the reasons I had difficulty getting into Days Gone on PS4 was due to some serious pacing issues early on in the game. This is a long adventure, with the main story clocking in at around 40 hours if you’re taking your time and enjoying the game as it progresses. Really, it just takes a while to get going. All of that is still present here, as the narrative remains untouched from the original release. It still really didn’t start to click with me until around the 10-hour mark.
Even past that point, a lot of the side-missions in the world feel really repetitive. Players will spend a lot of time zooming back and forth across the map with their trusty motorcycle which will continually get better as you earn more camp credits and gain trust with different camps throughout the campaign. That trust also unlocks new weapons and merchant options, which can vary from camp to camp. You’ll do a ton of the same activities as you progress, but it’s the main narrative that’ll keep you going.
An SSD helps a lot
However, the quicker SSD load times on PC really help alleviate the feeling of waiting between deaths and cutscenes. Load times on PS4 were atrocious around launch, and I had heard that Sony’s Bend Studio released a patch for it at some point, but I never bothered jumping back in after that had released.
While this release follows Horizon Zero Dawn‘s PC launch last year, Days Gone marks an important step forward for Sony’s PC releases. To date, we’ve seen two big-budget PlayStation 4 exclusives make their way from console to PC: Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding.
Horizon Zero Dawn was a bit of a mess at launch for PC, but Days Gone gets a lot right. There are a lot of settings to tweak to make the experience run well on a lot of varying PC setups, and it doesn’t require a super high-end system to run beautifully. I tried a few different settings for varying results, but overall the experience was really fluid.
The game runs well on PC
For clarity, before I jump into a few of the technical bits: my PC runs a 3700X, a GeForce RTX 2080 Super (can’t find a 3080 anywhere!), an ROG Strix B450-F motherboard, and 32 GB of RAM. Days Gone actually doesn’t require a terribly advanced PC to run well. Even with my two-year-old GPU, I was able to get 120 fps with almost every setting on high for most of my experience.
It did fluctuate between 110-125 for most of the time on my 144hz monitor, but when I eventually switched over to my LG CX, I actually got better performance than I did on my monitor. I think it has to do with LG’s variable refresh rate on their CX series OLEDs, but my game had steadier framerates on my TV. A majority of the time I was running at 1440p, but on the OLED, it ran at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second at all times. The RTX 2080 Super doesn’t have HDMI 2.1, so I couldn’t get full 120fps on my television, but it still looked and ran incredibly well at 60 frames per second.
It’s a little disappointing that the PC release doesn’t have Ray Tracing options or DLSS support. DLSS would have been a nice inclusion, but the game’s system requirements help alleviate it a little bit. Since the game runs so well, it might not even need it, but it would be a nice option for those with lower-end GPUs. I’m also not sure how much work would be needed to bring ray tracing options to the game, but it would have looked even more beautiful with them. I likely would have turned them off as it generally halves performance on my 2080, but the puddles splashing as Deacon drives over them on his bike or the lightning strikes would have brought some additional authenticity to the world.
A few minor technical issues
I did run into a couple of weird issues where large geometric shapes would fill the sky or enemies would just disappear from my screen if I was riding my bike towards them. There were minor issues though. Other than that the only other thing I ever experienced was the loss of visual on my game if I was going back and forth from my desktop to the game. A quick close of the game and reopening would remedy that problem, but it was still an issue nonetheless. That isn’t to say that the PC release is not a beautiful game. It absolutely is. The environments are stunning, most of the character models look really nice, and the weather effects are out of this world. My big gripe is much like other big open-world games: the NPCs look bad, and the animations for them are bad. But that might just be me nitpicking.
I’m avoiding talking about the core gameplay for two reasons: it is a slow burn with a lot of content along the way and I hate spoiling things. Since it’s been out for almost two years now on console, I don’t want to ruin things for those just getting the opportunity to jump in. Days Gone is a weird edge case that was generally found underwhelming by most critics. Yet it still retains a lot of love from fans who clamor for a sequel on PS5. There’s a lot to do here, and while pacing may still remain an issue, Days Gone is a wonderfully crafted game that may not have been great at launch, but along the way, Sony Bend found a release that most players can relate to and enjoy.
Game Freaks 365 received a review copy.