For a game born from a PlayStation first-party to reach new platforms is cause for celebration, although making a console game feel natural on PC is quite a challenge. Does Days Gone get it? No bragging, but yes, it has.
Now you can play Days Gone on PC, and also in decent conditions. I know that does not sound very exciting, but I think that is what best defines this launch: it is well known that PlayStation keeps its Exclusive IPs like gold on cloth, so the mere fact of having the title of Bend Studio in the Steam library is already cause for celebration in and of itself. Is this version a technical highlight? Does it radically change what is seen on the console? Well no, and to be honest, I didn’t expect otherwise.
“The PC version of Days Gone features an unlocked frame rate per second, improved graphics (effects, greater distance of drawing for the vegetation and level of detail) support for ultra panoramic monitors, support for mouse for the wheel of arms, the menus and the map; keyboard support for character movement and actions, support for controls other than DualShock and all the contents of the PS4 version of the title “were the exact promises of those responsible, which leaves us with a bittersweet feeling: okay, but it would have been nice to have something more.
It’s been two years since we first got on board Deacon St. John’s motorcycle to face off with zombies and survivors. Since then, the latest technological advances have whetted our appetite a bit: the “dream team” of ray tracing more DLSS is absent – the first, completely discarded; and the second, only temporarily – despite Death Stranding already embracing Nvidia supersampling last summer. So no, this port has not been loaded with ambitions: it has come to do things well, without more, and in that sense, it has more than delivered.
Days Gone in 2021: How are you feeling today?
Definitely, Bend Studio cannot boast of having signed the best received exclusive of PlayStation 4. At the time of this writing, the console version of Days Gone has an average rating of 71 points in Metacritic by specialized critics. And according to its director, that score is everything to Sony. At the time, our colleague Álvaro Castellano shared a mixed opinion, too: a game capable of generating very good moments, but that was quite long in those moments. 30 hours duration. I didn’t have a chance to play it in 2019, but my current opinion after trying the PC version goes that way as well.
I believe that the control and the possibilities of motorcycle they are not attractive enough to justify long and constant trips from point A to point B that are solved with one or more cutscenes of little emotional value. But I do see clearly that there is a certain romanticism in a sepia and gray world where a biker hero fights with his friend against huge hordes of zombies, or in using the photo mode when you go on your vehicle, when you can capture that jacket in the best poses. Crowds of ghouls are awesome and exciting, they put you on edge, and it’s different from what many other zombie games do.
For me, Days Gone is a game that shines when it stops feeling like “another sandbox”, which happens very occasionally. Is it enough to recommend it? Well, I half see it. Exploring on foot loses a bit of charm as you add tens or hundreds of examined cars and bushes, but the occasions when you throw a Molotov cocktail at a undead nest that stampede against you are worth it. Personally, I’m not a fan of the genre, but I think from a playable perspective there were more interesting PS4 exclusives like Spider-Man or Ghost of Tsushima that I would have liked to play. The appeal of this game, rather, lies in its graphics, its story and its setting.
In any case, I would say that the PC version is up to the task and that, although it is without fanfare, it has managed to find the basic things that we expect the players of this platform. Since it has been developed in a modified version of the Unreal Engine 4, it was clear that it could fit 21: 9 or 32: 9 monitors without complications. It is possible to configure several important parameters to different degrees, configure the keymap, and there are no major glitches preventing easy window switching and the like.
From PS4 to PC, the technical section of Days Gone
It is possible to convert it into a true potato mode to adapt it to any equipmentThe first thing I did with Days Gone as soon as it was installed was not play games, but enter the configuration tab with the illusion of a child who is going to open Christmas presents. I understand that doing that can be a bit disappointing at first, because there are no such basic things as a testing tool to use built into the menu – the PC version of Horizon: Zero Dawn did – but this is less of a problem when you realize that there is actually a small FPS metric docked in the upper right corner of the interface menu which counts, without graphs, the current frames and the average.
By itself, that functionality is not a big deal because for that we have the Steam counter among many other applications that do the same. But it does become more interesting if we take into account that the configuration menu is semi-transparent, which means that you can see at all times how each change you make in the parameters looks directly on the game; and that in addition to that you can modify anything on the fly, without having to apply changes or leave the main menu. That flexibility It’s most unusual for a port like this, but it’s more than welcome: it makes it a lot easier to see what each setting does and how it impacts the frame count.
As I said, it was the first impression I had with this version of Days Gone, but it is true that the same contrast between modesty and good work extends everywhere. For example, the game does a great job on the screen of key mapping because it basically lets you assign every imaginable action and some quick-access extras. But of course, if you play with keyboard and mouse, unless you have a Wooting Two you need to alternate between walking and running animations with different keys. The first one feels very slow, and switching to sprinting is very noticeable. Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Escape from Tarkov allow you to regulate your walking speed, and this would have done you good. I know they are rare exceptions. But they miss each other.
What if you play with command? Well, one of the promises of the game is to support controllers other than the DualShock, so I have tried playing with an Xbox One, which works as expected, and also with the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. The latter has a very typical problem: Steam recognizes it and the game does too, but reverses the placement of the buttons (A by B, X by Y) with respect to the Microsoft peripheral. Luckily, Valve’s platform allows you to change that from the overlay interface, but it would have been nice to be able to do it from the game. In any case, there is also a problem that derives from the original design of Days Gone – and of all the sandbox in first person of the style – which is the response time of the character. If you press W, Deacon starts walking immediately. The command feels logical and responsive. Pushing the joystick forward, Deacon starts to walk after a slow, pompous animation of turning around that, I suspect, feels more natural on PS4 hardware than on a high-end PC. I have not done metrics, but it is well known that we are talking about a very long response time that feels weird, almost alien, in this format. But like I say, the movement keys greatly smooth out that problem, so it’s a trifle. On the other hand, we have the key to everything! graphics!
Sony Bend has come up with a few more parameters than they promote, including field of view (from absurdly claustrophobic levels to a hundred degrees), low, medium, high and very high settings for lighting, geometry, draw distance for vegetation, shadows, clouds and fog, texture filters and quality of texture reproduction. You can also manually set a cap for the FPS rate ranging from 30 to 300. Some of these settings are above what is seen on PlayStation, so that the shadows feel more consistent, the contrast of lights and shadows is more Dramatic and also the drawing distance is greater: more models of the vegetation appear in the distance. Don’t expect something dramatically superior to what we knew, but a small plus worthy of being grateful.
There is no built-in benchmark, but there is a useful measurement tool attached to the menu Similarly, if you need to lower the graphics a lot to be able to play on a less affluent team, the game has enough flexibility to get real “potato mode“In fact, you can do it to your liking: you can remove the natural shadows from the stage, lower the resolution scale to 10% (it is better not to do that) or sacrifice the distance of drawing. Whatever you want. Here, let’s talk about optimization. I remember when I was working on the review of Horizon: Zero Dawn for PC I got a lot of complaints because the performance left a lot to be desired on some cards. In my experience with Days Gone, the game is not only easy to scale, but also very stable and quite generous in terms of frames. We are talking about more than 160 FPS in areas of the open world that in Horizon do not pass, to this day with all its patches, from 120 FPS to 1080p with the maximum possible settings in our test equipment. In the same qualities and 4K resolution, it remains at a constant 80 FPS compared to the 60 FPS of the Guerrilla game. But what I personally appreciate the most is not a high rate, but a stable one, and in that sense it also delivers. Fortunately, the zombie hordes that I have faced so far have a very slight impact on the card and processor. For reference, the PC used during the review has an RTX 3080 FE card, an i9 10900K processor, and 64 GB of RAM. The video driver version is 466.27.