Days Gone is A Flawed But Good Game That’s Getting A Bad Rap

This game is NOWHERE NEAR as bad as the reviews are saying.

Is it flawed, certainly. Does meet the DIAMOND standard set by Best Titles in the platform? Absolutely not. Are there major gameplay mechanics that just feel a bit off, yeah… most of them feel like they’re not quite done cooking.

But at its core, this is an enjoyable game that is leaps and bounds better than nearly every other exclusive we’ve seen from any other platform THIS YEAR (SO FAR). It’s got great voice acting, an engaging story, and when everything is working well, it’s beautiful to look at, listen to, and experience.

It only starts to falter if you try to hold it to the standard of what we know is possible on the PS4 because of games like God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn.

But if that’s the ruler you’re measuring this game with, you’re not giving the game a chance. Each game should be measured upon its own merits, and not the merits of other games.

And when I see IGN giving this game a 6.5… which is equal to what The Order 1886 got, half a point less than the 7.0 they gave Sea of Theives, and a FULL POINT less than what they gave Knack 2 and STATE OF DECAY 2!!! (7.5), You have to wonder what they’re grading?

Let’s be honest, had this been an XBOX, or Switch exclusive, EVERY SINGLE SCORE would be 8 or better. But because Sony has set the bar so high with their exclusives anything that isn’t light years beyond what everyone else is doing is a complete failure.

I feel like it’s getting dinged for what isn’t there, rather than getting credit for what is.

And again, Days Gone is not perfect, I’d struggle to call it “great”, but it’s significantly above average, and deserves FAR BETTER than a 6.5.

Just saying

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I’m sure it’s a perfectly enjoyable game and maybe at a discount it might be worth picking up, but if I’m being perfectly honest all the previews, trailers and just overall premise hasn’t appealed to me at all so I’ll probably give it a miss.

I will say though that review scores are so subjective and I read reviews based on the writer less so than seeing the score. I look at games like No Man’s Sky and even Sea of Thieves post-launch and they’re such vastly different games now in-part due to the support from the devs and post-launch content, etc.

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Even if this game wasn’t being released in an environment where these formal design principles and aesthetic choices have been done to death already, this would still be bikey Mcgunface does Sons of Anarchy with zombies. The premise alone is some video-game madlibs ass shit.

It’s probably fine. If people enjoy it, that’s awesome. But I’m not surprised that it’s getting the drubbing we’ve seen from critics. We have had almost a decade of games structured like this, and if you’ve played all of them, it must be really enervating to try and find something to like in 60 hours of dreary, mean-spirited paste.

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The voice-acting is hilarious. He switches frequently between whispering or muttering angrily and shouting at the top of his lungs.

I also think this game deserves all the criticism it can get since it makes you play as a dude with a neck tattoo.

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I wouldn’t call a 6.5 a bad score, eh

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Not having played the game yet, but I do wonder if some of these open world time sinks rate poorly with reviewers who have deadlines to hit and are likely mainlining most of the content, and hence may be less kind to repetitive game play they’ve been scrambling to finish. Whereas your typical gaming civvie can just mosey around, burning freaker nests at their leisure.

That said, from the footage I’ve seen, Days Gone does seem decidedly middle of the road in most aspects.

In short, the thing about this is the game is being reviewed in an ecosystem alongside those games and every other game that has existed. If you’re not at least to a degree writing a review in the context of other similar games from its genre you essentially create a floor for what a game that’s out there for mass consumption can be reviewed at.

To that point … This!

If you look at IGN’s review rubric it states that a 6.0-6.9 means the game is “Okay” which they state means.

These recommendations come with a boatload of “ifs.” There’s a good game in here somewhere, but in order to find it you’ll have to know where to look, and perhaps turn a blind eye to some significant drawbacks.

Which I feel like is similar to the description of the game in your post.

Also this is a criticism I see a lot and find kind of bizarre because there’s a long history of this type of game reviewing well, including Breath of the Wild very recently which is a massive open world that provides almost no explicit guidance for what you’re supposed to do and was widely praised by critics. (And also like for what it’s worth it was also attached to brand new hardware.)

Lastly, I want to state that overall I feel the practice of review scores is a net negative for games criticism. Attaching a numeric value to something does create a hierarchy where you can say “Well, that game got a 6.5 so there’s no point in playing that.”

Worst of all, this practice stops people from actually engaging with the content of the review, which will usually be the best way to get the sense of how a reviewer actually feels about the game.

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This isn’t an original take, but I think review scores would be mostly fine if they would just be switched to the four star system most movie reviews use. Too much of the problem with the current system I think boils down to how easy it is to convert x out of ten into the (american at least) grading system, where a 75 genuinely is a bad score, and where the points are literally points being lost due to objective mistakes from a total that always starts full. The star system eliminates that subconscious comparison and makes it both possible to use the whole scale and easier for people to see lower scores as still being potentially positive.

All that said, I don’t know that this game deserves any sort of defense based on what I’m hearing. Good performances and ok gameplay buried beneath a meanspirited, poorly written, thematically inconsistent, glacially paced story and mechanics that can be found done much better even in this specific combination elsewhere, does not to me sound like a “flawed but good game”. I don’t think it’s just being held to an unreasonable sony-exclusive standard, I think it’s being held to the standard of most modern AAA games, and one it sets up for itself with its obvious influences.

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I know it’s not a new take too but it’s still the best take on review scores in video games. Like everything is works fine with

1 - It sucks
2 - It’s not amazing but if you’re a fan of the genre/actor/director/whatever check it out
3 - It’s good
4 - It fuckin’ owns

Like nothing more than that is needed when there’s an actual full review to go with it.

Regarding Days Gone itself, I am among the haters but I will say I’m surprised as the flack it’s getting on a technical level. Like looking at gameplay if you go inside any of the houses/buildings/structures you pass by through the game they’re extremely over designed. That’s a lot of extra work because most of them you’ll probably drive by and see for maybe two seconds. But it’s also required to take into account how any one of those might be one you have to duck into suddenly to make a stand against the horde of zombies.

I don’t know, I feel like this game is more a victim of being a AAA game that’s $59.99 and getting Sony hype than anything. It still doesn’t seem particularly interesting to me though.

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My beef with a 4-star system is that it doesn’t do as good of a job of letting you know when something is excellent versus when it’s just the minimum that’s acceptable for something to be worth your time.

In theory it would make people less likely to be Mad At Game Reviews™ but ultimately you wind up with just massive swaths of things with the same review score and I don’t know how much it makes people actually engage with the content of a review.

Eurogamer uses four tiers for their reviews and I think it’s a very good system. Just casually plugging Eurogamer I guess.

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fwiw, OP, you have at least played the game, which automatically makes your opinion more valid than the opinion of those who have not played the game. It is pretty frustrating how often the games community likes to weigh in on shit they have not actually played, and a bit shocking how those people also tend to be the loudest and have the most to say. A dissenting view of “I actually enjoy this game in spite of itself” is worth hearing.

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