This is my top 10 tips for surviving Days Gone, the new post-apocalyptic zombie (sorry, ‘Freaker’) game from Bend Studios. There’s been criticism of the game in some quarters on account of game-play glitches, but when I played on a regular PS4 I can honestly say I had no problems at all - technically it’s been as smooth as silk. Some have also complained that it’s a little too much like to existing games. I agree that there are strong similarities to classics such as Mad Max, The Last of Us and Dying Light, but I don’t care. I love all those titles, and this one feels fresh to me. I really enjoy playing as Deacon, Enforcer of the Mongrels MC, as he rides his drifter through the Freaker-infested badlands of Oregon.
Although the game offers frequent Tutorials and Survival Hints, the following are some additional snippets of Days Gone info that you will find useful.
Ammo advice (i.e. don't run out)
Guns and ammo are plentiful, but so are enemies and you'll soon run low on bullets. One thing that really confused me when I started playing was the ammo count that appears on the screen when you equip a gun. If you see a number there, that’s the number of rounds you have in reserve outside your weapon. When that number turns to zero, your reserve is empty, but you still have bullets in your magazine, these rounds are represented graphically under the gun image. For some reason this really threw me. ‘How can I have no bullets and still be firing?’ When you’re really down to nothing, the display turns red. In the early game your ammo capacity is low, so always stock up when you can. A guaranteed ammo drop is the trunk of any police car. You'll also find ammo on dead enemies, lying around camps, and occasionally in the stash box of your base in the O'Leary Mountain Safehouse. This base also provides you with a crossbow (it’s in your gun locker) that you can craft ammo for (see Hunting below).
Gas (or petrol, if you’re speaking the Queen's English) is plentiful, but at the same time it’s never around when you need it. Take every opportunity to fill up your tank as even a short journey will burn through your fuel In the early game. Most significant locations have a red gas can or two lying around, and these have an infinite amount of fuel in them. To top up your tank, just pick up the can, stand by your bike and press 'circle'. Gas stations are also - perhaps unsurprisingly - great sources of gas, but here you don’t even have to look for it. Ride your bike up next to a pump and press 'circle' again. Deacon will reach over and do the filling for you. However, some gas sources aren’t so obvious. In your base at the O'Leary Mountain Safehouse, there’s a couple of large fuel ‘Petro’ containers resting on a small wooden platform. This is a home-made fill-up stop that dispenses fuel just like a regular station pump.
NERO stands for ‘National Emergency Response Organization’ and NERO checkpoints and bases are scattered all over the map. Getting into these places often involves starting a generator, but before you do, make sure any loudspeakers installed round the facility have been disabled (get close to one and the game will tell you what to do). I was lucky and figured this out early on, but if you don’t disable all the speakers, firing up the generator will set them squawking and attract all kinds of undesirables. Aside from the experience and loot to be gained at these facilities, getting into a NERO building is the key to boosting your health and stamina (see below).
I have skills, they're multiplying...
There are three Skill Trees: Melee Combat, Ranged Combat and Survival, Ranged. These contain a whole host of valuable goodies, however, two skills you should takes early on are 'Focused Shot' (in Ranged) and 'Field Repairs' (in Melee). Focused Shot helps you aim ranged weapons by slowing down time. This gives you a better opportunities to pick your targets and more time to squeeze off a head-shot. Field Repairs allows you to repair damaged or broken melee weapons using scrap. Although you'll find melee weapons all over the place, they break very quickly and being able to fix one will get you out of a jam or two. Note that your default melee weapon is a boot knife that never breaks, but it’s pretty puny. You earn Skill Points by exploring, completing quests and killing enemies. However, the number of points you earn from a kill varies with the manner of death. You earn most points for a stealth take-down or a head-shot; you earn least points for a messy melee encounter or shootout.
Health and Stamina
You increase health and stamina by getting into NERO bases. Each base contains a cold box that has an injector inside it. Using the injector you can choose to permanently boost your Health, Stamina or Focus. For example, your first Health shot will boost it from 100 to 125. If you refer back to the Skills tip above, choosing Focus will increase the amount of time Focused Shot is in operation. The more focus you have, the more time that skill gives you.
The animals in the game (wolves, bears and deer and the like) can be killed for meat that can then be sold to survivor settlements. You can then use the (not-very-much) cash they give you to buy stuff, like weapons or improvements to your bike. You'll also find herbs, mushrooms and trees scattered round the place. Gather all you can and sell these too. These plants become valuable craft items later in the game, but you need money now and the merchants are really stingy. Harvesting saplings gives you the wood you need you to craft crossbow bolts.
Quick save - you never know what's round the corner
These are useful if you’re entering unfamiliar territory or you know you’re in for a fight, but you can only quick-save if you’re near a bed or near your bike. As the game progresses you unlock safe houses, each of which contains a bed and your personal gun locker. To quick-save, stand by your bed (or bike) and look for the quick-save icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen (it prompts you to press 'triangle'). It’s a useful habit to get into to.
Day or Night?
There’s a day-night cycle in the game and you can choose to pass time by sleeping in a bed (see Quick-Saves, above) which wakes you up at 7am (if you went to sleep at night) or at 6pm (if you went to sleep in the daytime). There are advantages and disadvantages to both day and night. At night there are more Freakers wandering about and they’re stronger than usual. Visibility is also low but that can be an advantage if you’re the one doing the sneaking around. In the daytime there are less Freakers in the open and they’re weaker, but if you’re burning their nests (clearing nests is a big feature of the game) more will emerge to hunt you down once the flames start licking the woodwork; conversely, at night Freaker nests are often empty. I prefer adventuring in the daytime. I find there are fewer nasty surprises.
The game is littered with useful crafting items, but in the early game you’re limited to just a handful, such as rags, kerosene, metal parts, bottles and antiseptic, which are enough to make things like bandages and Molotov cocktails. Tantalisingly there are many more junk items you can’t pick up till you can actually use them. For example, there a boxes of nails at many locations, but you can’t pick them up till you earn the recipe for spiked melee weapons. Keep a mental note of locations with a good quantity of ‘unavailable’ scrap, you can always come back for it later.
Craft, craft and craft again
The amount of crafting material you can carry is very limited so make sure you’re constantly turning scrap into useful items. One rag + one bottle + one kerosene will make one Molotov cocktail and you can carry three of the latter, so that’s nine craft items compressed down to three objects. Regularly stop to craft items such as bandages and Molotovs to make the very best of your carrying capacity.
That's it. Hope you found that useful. If you'd like to see more, why not check out my YouTube channel.