Zombie epic Days Gone has come and gone but people are still left trying to figure out what, exactly, the game was all about.
There were zombies – sometimes in unexpected places – and there was a postapocalyptic storyline that would have felt right at home in The Walking Dead.
Graphically, the game wasn’t outstanding but it definitely looked like a triple-A title. Gameplay wise, it was good enough and there were some genuine moments of fun to be had in Days Gone.
But overall, the feeling of many is that the game is lacklustre at best.
Of course, that didn’t stop it from making a ton of money, and that brings up an even better question. Does a game need to be extremely high-quality to make a ton of money and generate enough interest for a sequel?
The answer is “no” but, more often than not, devs and publishers are typically punished by the gaming public for releasing a bad title – not rewarded. What makes Days Gone different? Is it the zombie angle?
That might have a lot to do with it. Zombies are perennially popular and that might be a selling point by itself. Then, too, people love survival horror and the type that Days Gone promises can only be had really in the State of Decay series – an Xbox exclusive.
Aside from all of the reasons why it should or should not have made money, Days Gone offers us optimism for the future of the industry. Why?
Because the perception is, by and large, that if your game is not well received critically then it cannot succeed in this marketplace. That is just not true. It hasn’t been true for a while but it has become a “truism” among the fandom and gaming press alike for different reasons. Gamers tend to follow word of mouth advice on a game, which can include reviews, more than any other segment. Game reviewers naturally like to think that what they do is important so you can see how this cycle reinforces itself – often to the dismay and even ruin of developers and publishers.
Days Gone not only defied this system, it continues to do so and will likely become a better game down the line due to patches and even DLC because people like the game. They gave it a chance.
Too often, game critics fail to even try to do that. In fact, so many have poorly veiled agendas that it calls into question the validity of a game review in the age of online consoles and game updates.
Certainly, this was a valuable service in the era of fixed cartridges that, if shipped broken, were always broken or even on discs.
But, when a bad review kills a game right out of the gates, it doesn’t allow us to take advantage of the opportunities afforded the modern gaming public by online patches and updates. That’s a shame and it is something that needs to stop, one way or the other.
Truly bad games will always fail, but mediocre games have to be given the chance to rise to greatness. The MMORPG world is full of examples (Final Fantasy XIV, The Elder Scrolls Online), and now the consoles are getting their own examples of this phenomenon as well.