Written by Andrew Loeschner.
If any of you read our best and worst of E3 then you know that Days Gone was my favorite game showcased at the expo. The combination of all the things I typically love from Sony exclusives, set in one of my favorite genres. . . It’s like a dream come true for me. But while it will almost definitely be a good game, here’s how it can be a great one.
Make us care about Deacon
Deacon is set to be a badass protagonist, but is he one we’ll actually love and care about? For now we don’t really know much about him except that he used to be part of a motorcycle club, is currently a bounty hunter, and was in a relationship with a woman at some point who presumably died during the outbreak. That said, at face value, Deacon isn’t exactly impressive or significantly different from any other six-foot, Caucasian, brown-haired, brown-eyed protagonist in every action game since action games became a thing. And most of the gameplay we saw was just that. Gameplay. Which means that we still don’t exactly get to see what he’s like as a person.
Deliver a compelling story
If there’s one thing that often flounders in the zombie apocalypse genre, it’s usually story. The reason is because the zombie apocalypse only allows for so many plausible story options. Finding a cure to the virus always feels like a cop-out, and other than that there’s no other ending that’s truly an ending. The best that can be done is find a good place to live, but still with the uncertainty of such a dangerous world. But with all that said, we know next to nothing about Days Gone‘s story. I believe it has the potential to really tell a personal story regarding Deacon and if we care about Deacon as a character, that alone would be compelling enough.
More gameplay options
I love The Last of Us to a fault, and everyone on the WTMG team will tell you that. But the one thing I will say is that The Last of Us doesn’t exactly provide a hundred ways to get through a scenario. There are options for sure, but only so many. If Days Gone can provide a wealth of options for each situation it’ll already have an edge on the zombie game it’s always compared to.
Fill the world with things to do
Days Gone boasts an open world, but how impressive it is will mostly be based on what there is to do in it. Hopefully we’ll have meaningful side quests and interesting stories to explore. There’s a lot of potential for a beautiful and fascinating world. Hopefully we’ll have incentive to explore, while at the same time reason to be cautious as we do so.
Encourage us to be smart
The gameplay from the 2016 E3 demo showed Deacon running away from a horde of zombies, using the environment to get away before ending up seemingly trapped. It was a nice showcase of slowly being forced into a corner. Hopefully the game will force us to be smart as we play, instead of allowing us to shoot our way through everything. With so many games out there where simply shooting everything is enough to get by, it’s always a refreshing change of pace to play a game where our wits are as important as our guns.
Make the zombies truly terrifying
One thing that The Last of Us really nailed was making the zombie interactions intense. Especially in the harder game modes. If Days Gone can follow suit it will fill out a really important mark on the checklist of what makes a great zombie game.
Give us reasons to keep playing
A game can give a good narrative, but then the question becomes: why should we come back when it’s over? I don’t know how Days Gone plans to do it, but I sincerely hope that there’ll be enough in the game that when I complete the story I have reason to come back to it over and over again.
Use the bike correctly
Deacon is a biker, so the motorcycle is a distinct part of his character, but like most things in life, it’s best in moderation. It’s understandable to make us use the bike as part of the story. But a balance needs to be maintained. Use the bike enough to reinforce that it’s important to his character, but don’t force us to use it so much that it gets annoying. Looking at you Batman Arkham Knight.
Make the game fun
I can’t emphasize this enough. In all the stories, mechanics, characters, and franchises companies are trying to push in the gaming industry, sometimes the most important factor is lost in the shuffle. The fun factor. Here at Way Too Many Games, we believe that video GAMES should be fun over everything else. Even if you’re like me and think story is super important as well, it should all take second place after simply truly being enjoyable.
Make Days Gone unique
Days Gone looks like a mashup of a lot of other games and styles. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! But if it gets lost in comparison and can’t stand out on its own then it’s failed to establish itself as its own game. Hopefully, when we finally get our hands on it, Days Gone will be a unique adventure that leaves us wanting more and leaves us with its own very distinct mark.