Ever since Days Gone was revealed at E3 2016, Gamers have been asking “Why did Sony approve another zombie game when they have The Last of Us?”. From what I played, certain elements are very similar. Then at the same time many are completely different. In the end, I think Sony can support both series. Read on to find out all about my experience with Days Gone.

The E3 2018 demo consisted of two different stages. “You have a death wish”, where our anti-hero Deacon St. John has to retrieve a key motorcycle component. The second stage? Clearing out a Freaker Horde. Yeaaaah. The first stage that I had to play was against the Freaker Horde. After seeing how the Horde reacted back during the E3 2016 gameplay trailer, I needed to see for myself if it was all smoke and mirrors or the real deal.

Brah. That Horde is NO JOKE. I was tasked with clearing out a group of 300 freakers at a lumber yard before my pals arrived. Deacon checks out the situation and warns his pals, telling them he’s got this. The demo certainly gave me every opportunity to succeed, buuuut of course I failed the first two attempts.

First time I tossed a couple molotov cocktails into the Horde, which only ticked them off. Soon they were coming right at me like a (extremely huge) pack of rabid wolves. The coolest part about it? The rush of adrenaline that took over once I realized the world of hurt those 300 bastards were about to put on me. The music grew louder and louder as they moved closer, ready to tear me apart limb from limb. It was epic. It was exhilarating. This is what Days Gone is all about. I tried to run. Yeah, that didn’t work. I was slaughtered.

Second time? Tossed another cocktail into the pile, however this time I decided to get on my motorcycle and outrun the freaks, hoping to find a better position to strategize my attack. BRAH. HELLO. There was piles of logs everywhere. Tire tracks. Trenches. Fuel trucks (wait a minute..) and storage containers. They were on me in no time. DEAD.

Third time I had this figured out. Tossed two cocktails in. As they came out, I blew up a gas can that was chillin’ by a pile of logs, as they rolled and crushed some of the Freakers. I ran away, placing a bomb or two as I did, their numbers continued to twiddle. Getting closer! I try to hide behind a fence to slow down the (much) smaller crowd of baddies, but that didn’t help much. These freaks are insane, pushing each other over, climbing over one another to get to me. I had them follow me into a pit and before I knew it (thanks to my trusty machine gun), I was the Winner. I KILLED 300 Freakers on my own. Sure, it took me three tries but by God, I did it. There was a great satisfaction in doing so. THIS was the Days Gone experience I was looking for.

As the Horde demo came to an end, so started the “Death Wish” demo. Boozer called me crazy as he distracted a small group of Freakers from my location. I have to break into a mechanic shop to “borrow” a fuel pump for my chopper. Only problem is that the area is majorly swamped by not only Freakers but also Newts, the kid-sized enemies of the game. Thankfully they’re scared of me — at full health. I try my best to sneak around the high grass avoiding Freakers. This put me in stealth mode, which helped me avoid a few of the crazies, but I messed up a couple times and had to fight back. After these injuries, the Newts started to come at me, no longer afraid of their prey. Nice touch!

I disposed of them with my trusty baseball but lost it during the altercations as it deteriorated, then broke. I was told in the main game that you can update and modify your melee weapons. I made my way into a nearby house to search for supplies to craft healing items. Found some toilet paper (for bandages, Brah!) and various other items for the crafting system in the game. Similar to The Last of Us, you’ll be able to craft items on the fly by scavenging around the environment. After healing up, I used my focus ability to find the mechanic shop. Focus helps point out the location of important items or enemies. The building was boarded up, so I did my best Nathan Drake and made my way to the roof, killed a couple Newts, and made my way inside. After obtaining the fuel pump, Boozer alerts me that he’s ran into trouble. This is where The Rippers joined the party.

See the Rippers worship the Freakers. They even go as far to scaring their own bodies to show their devotion to them. The game switches to a cutscene of three Reapers burning Boozer with a propane torch, as they mock him for “worshipping a dead man”. Yikes.

I haul ass over to rescue him, fighting off a couple Freakers along the way. I slowly make my up to the end of an 18-wheeler. On the other side is my comrade. I slowly move out, zooming in as I HEADSHOT the leader, his dead body drops to the ground. The other two respond with pistols of their own. I show them who’s boss. The demo ends as Deacon and the injured Boozer make haste as more Freakers show up. We ride off as the screen fades to black.

So how was my time with Days Gone?? The game looked great running on a PS4 Pro. It took advantage of HDR as the sun’s rays bathed the lumber yard during the Horde demo. The game ran smooth as butter even when there was 300 Freakers coming at me. While the game doesn’t look as impressive as say God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn, neither of those games offer both a huge open-world or a Horde of characters that can hit up to 500 on the screen at once.

While the second demo’s gameplay did remind me of The Last of Us at times, the Horde demo made me a believer in the game. It was so drastically different than any other zombie-type game that I had ever played. Another thing the demo lacked was some hands-on with the motorcycle gameplay or the ability to explore the huge open-world of Oregon. While I did take on Freakers, a Freak Horde, Newts, and Rippers, the Infected animals were absent. So there’s also that to look forward to when the game releases.

I really think when it comes down to it, Bend Studio is going to give gamers something interesting and unique with Days Gone. I can’t wait to get these hands-on it again early next year.

Look for Days Gone when it releases on February 22, 2019.

If you would like to see some gameplay footage of the Horde demo, here’s some off-screen gameplay we filmed at E3 2018!