It’s been a few years since Sony Bend’s last game – Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PS Vita – and now they’ve moved on to a bigger, more ambitious project: a post-apocalyptic open-world game called Days Gone.

You’ll be playing as this man: Deacon St. John

When it was first showed off at E3, nobody knew of Days Gone. Curious audience members murmured “The Last of Us 2?” at the reveal. Hell, even when the game was first trademarked by Sony, some presumed it was a sequel to The Last of Us. Given its fine polish, rural atmosphere and post-apocalyptic setting, such comparisons were inevitable – but when it gets into the thick of it, Days Gone distances itself very far from Naughty Dog’s PS3 swan song.

Where The Last of Us creates tension through small but strong crowds of zombies and a limited player arsenal, Days Gone achieves it by having millions of them bolt towards you at once. From what’s been seen, weapons and ammunition don’t appear to be as scarce as other survival games. Instead, the real fear stems from the fact that not even a military armada will best the sheer amount of zombies in this game.

My mistake – they’re not zombies, they’re actually ‘freakers’ according to Sony Bend. In the world of Days Gone, a global pandemic killed the vast majority of mankind, and a large proportion of those left became freakers, which are basically like 28 Days Later zombies… which also aren’t zombies either, but you get the point. You play as Deacon St. John, a bounty hunter who is simply too cool to live in wilderness camps like any sane individual. Instead, you live life on the road, and must fend for yourself.

Isolation and self-viability are strong tenets in Days Gone it seems, as the game will offer a myriad of survival elements and very few folks around to help you. Deacon can scavenge for crafting parts, as well as utilise the environment to navigate safely. Stealth appears to have a strong presence in the game, but the real fun begins when that approach goes horribly, awfully wrong. When Deacon drops the ball, he’ll find himself in a tense state of evasion as he sprints away from one of the biggest crowds of zombies I’ve ever seen in a video game.

The car-engine silencer is tacky, but you’re going to bloody need it

The horde is the real star of the game, and it’s certainly what everyone seemed to take away from E3. It’s easily the most impressive (and terrifying) depiction of an enemy wave I’ve ever seen, but naturally it comes with a bit of a caveat. The E3 demo was a pre-release build, so hopefully technical issues will be ironed out as the game’s development continues, but the framerate suffers quite drastically whenever Days Gone‘s brilliant zombie hordes arrive. It tends to stick around 25fps during their appearances, sometimes stooping further below that. For an action game that relies on tension, quickness and heat-of-the-moment gameplay, framerate problems can be a real buzzkiller.

But let’s not jump to conclusions. The game has no release date, so Sony Bend presumably have a lot of time to sort these things out. From what we have seen of Days Gone, it looks like a fun 28 Days Later-esque romp, and the varied stealth approaches & open world should hopefully make for tense, dynamic encounters.

Days Gone is a PS4 exclusive made by Sony Bend, and there’s no word on a release date yet. For all things video games, stick around at XO.TV.

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Rumour has it that Mike has never been seen without a pen in one hand and a controller in the other. Writing and games are his passions, so it’s no surprise that he’s the News Editor of the Video Game section. Mike doesn’t pick favourites, but he’ll always have a soft spot for Bloodborne, Undertale and Super Smash Bros – just don’t turn items on.