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Has Days Gone come to an end?

I finished the main story of Days Gone in the very early morning hours of this morning after having stayed awake all night playing the game to avoid the serious levels of stress that I have been feeling lately and I have to say that I am not at all dissapointed by this game.

The game was not quite your usual run-n-gun zombie shooter type of a video game.Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of run-n-gun happening, especially if like me you are unfortunate enough to be trying to outrun a hoard on your bike when you hit a stray tree and crash your ride. There is serious levels of running, downing a makeshift energy drink, then running some more all while shooting what you can when you can and, if you have to, swinging your supped up Loiusville Slugger at as many heads as you can until your staminia will let you run some more. It’s not easy to outrun a hoard that is intent on making you their afternoon snack, but I have managed it more than a few times for various “oh shit, RUN!” situations.

The story is over, for now, but I am hoping that I can pre-order Days Gone 2 when it is made. I know, I know, no proof yet that there will be a second game, but man do I hope there is. This game was exactly what I’ve thought for years that video games should be- an interactive action adventure movie.

Back in the day (yeah, I’m old) the Resident Evil game caught my attention with an introduction that was video footage. Other games merged movies and games to various levels of success, but they all seemed to run into various issues. Mostly it was the technology was not advanced enough to blend video footage with gameplay. Hard to take a 32-bit character and make them look realistic enough to blend film footage with player controlled gameplay.

With todays advances in the computer field and home entertainment hitting its stride, however, I can see a future where we are sitting watching a movie and can pick up the controller and make our own decisions on what the hero will be doing. There would, of course, still be a directorial control on the overall story, but imagine if you would the possibilities.

We had novels in the 1980’s that were Choose Your Own Adventure books, paperback novels that had a brief scene that ended in several choices. You picked a choice on what to do, then turned to the page indicated to continue on your adventure. I recall some adventures ending in a rather gruesome death, and keeping track of where I had come from with a finger while I “peeked through each door before me before deciding which to open”. I was adicted to choose your own adventure novels when I was in my teens.

AsI got older I got more into video games and found games like Final Fantasy and the open exploration gave me a freedom that other games like Centipede and Asteroids just … lacked. I wanted to have what I did matter in my games. I wanted to experience the story, not just play a mindless shooter.

Advance the years a bit more (not too far, I’m not that old… well, I am, but – just take it easy on the exact number of years we’re talking, okay?), advance the time a bit and we started getting games like Dragon Age. I can not easily express how much I fell in love with Dragon Age when I first played it. The ability not only to shape the game’s outcome but to shape how the other characters reacted to my character. It was, and still is, an amazing experience for me.

I can see a future where games are loosly guided movies that can be played out to one of several endings. Games like Dishonored have already brought us to that level of entertainment, and as I said Dragon Age and Mass Effect have given us not just multiple endings, but actual real world changes on how our companions in the game react to our decisions. 3D and advances in the power of computers used for home gaming has given us films like Final Fantasy’s Kings Glave, and some breathtaking cutscenes, but we are advancing more and more toward a level of realism in games that will one day, (and I hope I live to enjoy it), games that look like a live action movie or TV show, but where the player can control the story.

Imagine tuning in to your favorite series one day and taking control of your favorite characer for a few hours. I’m not talking about something like the 2009 movie Gamer, where game players controlled real people. No, I am talking realistic 3D characters in a game, but one with an underlaying story to it that we can opt to simply sit back and enjoy watching for a couple of hours, or we can take control of characters to try our own hand at the fight scenes and driving around.

Days Gone did a wonderful job in blending a movie with a video game, and I am only sad that I had not been able to pre-order this wonderful game like I had planned back when I had first heard about it.

My hope for Days Gone is that we get a worthy sequel or a continuing experience in the game world. Games such as Final Fantasy XIV have shown that it is possible to just keep adding new areas and expanding on a base game with releases of content and a new area added every year or so. To be able to play through Days Gone and open up an option to drive out to Nevada and see what’s going on in Reno, then head back to Oregon… and what about California? There was a lot of talk about that area in the game. Portland had something serious happen to it, serious enough rumors were the place had been nuked, but the characters in Days Gone note that they would have seen the cloud if that had happened. Something happened, and I would love to go see what.

Hell, I would love to just keep drifting around enjoying the game. I’ve intentionally left a few remote maurauder groups just so I don’t wipe them out and stop having random encounters with the groups.

This has gone on longer than I had planned it to, so I will wrap it up with just saying that no, Days Gone has not come to an end. I have watched the movie embedded within the game, but I am hopeful that there will be much more to the movie soon and will be pre-ordering Days Gone 2 as soon as I am able to. Until then, I’ll be drifting and doing hit and run attacks on hoards as I try to make this small part of Oregon safer for the few humans left in it.

In closing, my wish list for Days Gone:

  • I want more NPC interactivity – I want my choices to have an impact on how the NPCs react toward my character.
  • I want a customizable community where I can rebuild things like I did in Fallout 4, build defenses against the hoards and raiders with real environmental control over clearing out junk and building new structures.
  • I want a crafting station where I can opt to stash junk and materials to actually have Deacon make his gear rather than just “poof he has a baseball bat with a saw blade in it.” It would also be cool to have Boozer messing around at a work station creating things rather than just “they’re in the box” pickups of things I never see him working on. Maybe I drop off items and tell Boozer what I want and come back later on to pick up the items? I know that sounds tedious to most of you, but I would kind of like the emersion option, so let player make the choice of slow build by Boozer or “instant weapon” that we have now?
  • Abilty for Decon to sit in a chair when I want, not just in cutscenes. I’d like to have had Decon sit in a chair by Boozer at a few points, but such things are not an option. Maybe it’s my childhood of playing with dolls, but I like to sit my characters in a chair when I am going afk, or have them sit down to eat when I leave the game to grab food for myself.
  • And speaking of food – I know this will be unpopular with a lot of people, but I would like the food to matter. Resource management for food and safe water and reliable electricity would make for so much more to do in the game. Allow those who despise that sort of thing to shut it off maybe, but I’d kind of like to have to stop and make sure that Decon’s had food and something to drink so his health is not impacted. Keep camps supplied to avoid them being attacked. Red Dead Redemption 2 did a good job with the “must eat and dress properly” mechanics, and The Division 2 did a good job on managing resources for checkpoints.

I know I am asking for a lot in one game, hopefully Bend Studio can find a way to let us add various elements to the base game, mods made by Bend Studio sort of thing? Just something that would allow for the base game to be reshaped a bit for survival, resource management, custom settlements, and NPC interactions.

What do you think? What did you think of Days Gone and what would you like to see in a sequal or expansions? Where do you think video games are headed in the future? Please, leave comments with your thoughts and opinions (no spoilers please) and as always, enjoy the game whatever game you’re playing.

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