Two years after its release, Days Gone from Bend Studio has made its way to PC, brigning with it some of the most impressive graphics settings and optimization tools with the game. Now, we’re experiencing the game as if we’d never experienced it all for our review.
+One of the best scores in the current generation of games led by Nathan Whitehead
+Combat feels satisfying and as if every weapon has an impact
+Limited supplies make for a true survivalist type experience
+Multiple story arcs add depth to the game
+Absolutely mind-blowing options settings on PC
-Limited supplies can lead to a difficult time clearing out nests and enemy bases
It’s been nearly two years since I’ve jumped into the world of Days Gone, riding across a large swathe of the American Northwest, exploring rugged landscapes, sweeping deserts, swam through rivers, snuck through sketchy worn out raider camps, and buildings that serve as relics to a world now lost.
When Sony offered us the chance to explore the PC version of Days Gone, I had to reset my expectations for the game, set my previous experiences aside, and take on this adventure as if I’d never taken it once before with our review for Days Gone on PlayStation 4.
To reacquaint you with the title, you take on the role of Deacon St. John, a young Oregonian biker who has lost everything in the apocalypse that saw zombie-like cannibals called freaks to take over the world in a mysterious outbreak and his wife had gone missing during the events. For Deacon, the world is all about the road, the truth behind everything that has happened, and surviving with his friend Boozer while taking on random jobs for survival camps run by people such as Copeland.
For Deacon though, his bike is his life, it’s everything he has left once Sarah was gone, but for us, our adventure is something a bit different: We’re not going to be re-reviewing the story, but rather, the technical aspects of the game as our review for the PlayStation 4 version (linked above) had done that rather well. We’ll touch on this lightly though for those of you whow ould rather have the tl;dr version.
Let’s very briefly talk about that story
The story of Days Gone is interesting, admirable even, from an artistic approach. It’s not told just in how St. John, played by Sam Witwer (Star Wars: Force Unleashed, Being Human) interacts with those around him or the story missions he completes, but rather, it’s also told with how Bend Studios built the world around him.
The story itself is formatted in such a way that the gameplay loop is innocent enough and that each story intertwines with one another. Your mission searching for the truth behind Sarah doesn’t span just through one single quest, but rather, several, and it involves multiple quests that involve Boozer, Copeland’s camp, and your progression through the world around you.
You’ll find that clearing Freaker nests, investigating missing persons or those needing to be rescued, and even helping others will drive your story forward, opening up story arcs for further exploration when the time comes for you to experience it. This even includes you having to find hidden elements in the world around you by clearing camps of raiders and cultist-like zealots as you find them.
While this seems simple, the structure is interesting, and it really forces you to really dive into everything you’d normally not do before. It’s awesome, to be quite honest, and it was one of the biggest pros to this game that we’ve seen. It’s still this way too. It’s a very satisfying loop that makes the game feel rather big compared to what one might expect.
Days Goen on PC has some of the best optimization options possible
Now, if you were expecting a change in gameplay loop or additions to what the game has to offer, you’ll not find anything different from the PlayStation 4 version of the game. It’s the same, you’ll find that resources are still scarce, combat remains much the same, but what you will notice is just how smooth the game actually plays.
This is because the PC version of the game has some very specific PC offerings that no other game truly has when it comes to being ported from a console. Days Gone has quite a bit to offer actually in the means of graphics, clear down to the point we wrote an entire piece about it, and why the game seems to be absolutely one of the most optimized titles on the market.
How did they pull it off? Well, it’s all in the graphics settings. These are some of the best we’ve ever experienced and we honestly can’t really think of any other game that has really done it the way Bend Studio has, unless you, of course, look at id Software, but we’re comparing apples and oranges here.
The impressive part isn’t just the settings themselves, but the system requirements being what they are. As you can see below, our system isn’t a cutting-edge system, and it actually leaves a lot to be desired when comparing to major outlets such as PCGamesN. We’re only powered by an MSI RTX 1060 6GB Game Ready GPU and an Intel i7-7700K.
Motherboard: MSI Z270 M7 Game Ready Plus
GPU: MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Game Ready Plus
CPU: Intel I7-7700K 3.6GHz OCed to 4.2GHz
Cooling Unit: Cooler Master GTS V8
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB
HDD/SDs: 525GB Crucial SSD | Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM HDD
Case: Thermal V31 RGB Limited Edition Tempered Glass
The impressive part? The game still looks like a PlayStation 4/PlayStation 4 Pro title. Bend Studio has ensured that no matter how low you take the graphics, you’ll get the best experience you can, and that is something that is to be admired. It’s satisfying as it doesn’t wall off potential fans of a game that fans have been clamoring for a sequel for.
We often find our PC running the game around 50-60 FPS, sometimes slightly less, but it’s nothing that will take away from the overall experience. Just expect some minor framerate drops around heavily shadowed and particle effect-filled areas (namely burning nests or in Copeland’s camp at night).
Now, if you are wanting to pay attention to your performance and how to get the most out of your game, you are going to want to check into your resolution first, but after that, watch your Shadow and Render Scales. THOSE are where you’ll take the biggest hits. For comfort purposes and being happy with the presentation, we kept our Render Scale at the defaulted 100.
The game itself ran smooth enough that it didn’t hinder our experience and it has left us comfortable in talking about the game after having put over 80 hours into the original release of Days Gone on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Combine the two together and we are well over 100 hours of gameplay time as we truly do enjoy what Bend Studio has to offer.
Going from DualShock 4 to mouse and keyboard or Xbox Controllers isn’t that bad in Days Gone on PC
Now, one of the things we are all wondering: Does Days Gone translate well to mouse and keyboard and Xbox controllers? Well, for us, that was an important question even though PC does support DualShock and DualSense controllers. We wanted to ensure that we could get a broader experience with what we can use in order to enjoy the game. The answer?
It translates really well and handles incredibly good regardless of being on an Xbox controller and a mouse and keyboard. The really interesting part was how seamless you can switch between controller and mouse and keyboard, allowing to switch it up if you need and play how you wish.
The only thing you don’t get on an Xbox Controller or with a mouse and keyboard is the trigger sensitive that a DualShock 4 has, giving you a bit more sense of depth when using weapons such as St. John’s bows and arrows. You’ll find that it’s not bad at all and it’s not exactly a feature you’ll notice unless you’ve played the game on PlayStation 4.
But when it comes to everything elese including sound design, etc? It’s the same with a few fixes having been applied due to the voice sync bug that used to hit the PlayStation 4 version from time to time.
When you look at the PC version of Days Gone, you’re going to be deciding what the selling point for you is. Is it going to be the story, the features, the quality of the game, or the fact that you can play it on almost any PC possible thanks to how well optimized the game is going to be? For us, it’s all of the above. Bend Studio and publisher Sony ensured that this would be exactly what PC players would want if they purchased a game that has been brought over to the PC community.
Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4
Versions Reviewed: PC
Developer: Bend Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: Available Now
The best part of it? Bend Studio is setting the par for console games coming to PC and it’s something that we truly admire as folks who have spent much of our reviewing on consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo platforms. Truth be told? We couldn’t recommend this more than we already do.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game that was provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.