‘Days Gone’ Makes Smart Use of Unreal Engine 4 on PS4

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Despite hitting creative highs on the original PlayStation under the name Eidetic, Bend Studio has spent much of its time under Sony’s roof working on portable spinoffs for existing franchises. After forgoing the entirety of the PS3 generation, they were finally given the green light for a brand new home console release: Days Gone. This ambitious open world zombie biker game is finally on store shelves, and the critical reactions are all over the road.

At our sister site IGN, Lucy O’Brien gave Days GoneSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce an Okay rating of 6.5/10. She found moments of legitimate excitement and awe while escaping a horde of sprinting zombies, but the overall experience is fairly disappointing. The game is too large and unwieldy – not nearly focused enough to offer consistently enjoyable gameplay. Considering that the game takes around 60 hours to complete, many folks will have a hard time sticking around to see the story through.

Based on 88 reviews, Days Gone is sitting at an average review score of 72/100 on Metacritic. Towards the top, you have very high scores like a 9/10 at GameSpew and an 8.8/10 at Video Chums. For the folks who came away very positive on the game, it seems that the open road and detailed PNW environment really sell the feeling of immersion in a world overrun by zombies. If that particular fantasy resonates with you, many of the flaws can be overlooked.

And the low-end? AJ Moser gave the game a 2/5 at The Daily Dot, and his criticism seems to be aimed mostly at the execution. Moser makes clear that there are numerous interesting and novel aspects to this game, but it just doesn’t cohere into a game that’s worth dumping 60 hours into. And over at GameSpot, Kallie Plagge gave the game a ho-hum 5/10. She definitely enjoyed taking out “freaker” hordes, but she just couldn’t get over the lackluster character work.

Digital Foundry has analyzed the game on both the vanilla and Pro models, and they were thoroughly impressed with the underlying tech. Specifically, John Linneman calls out the physically based materials and the screen-space-driven shadows as particularly attractive aspects of this release. All told, Bend Studio did a solid job using UE4 wisely on console hardware.

The standard PS4 renders at a native 1920×1080 while the Pro reaches for 3840×2160 thanks to checkerboarding. It’s not quite as seamless as the reconstruction systems used on the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn or Ratchet & Clank, but it’s definitely a looker on both HD and 4K sets.

Performance, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. While the game holds up well at its 30fps target most of the time on both models, DF has discovered some weak points in the game. Streaming issues can cause drops on base hardware during some motorcycle chases, and some wonkiness can be seen during certain moments of transition. However, the bouncy frame-pacing noticed in pre-release builds is nowhere to be found. So while it’s messier than we’d like, these occasional quirks aren’t impactful enough to spoil your experience.

[Image Credit: Bend Studio]

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