This past Friday saw the release of PlayStation exclusive Days Gone by developers Bend Studio, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d have heard the mixed reviews that the game has received since the embargo lifted on the eve of it’s launch.
Right now Days Gone sits at a 72% on Metacritic, which in all fairness isn’t too shabby! But given that it’s a PlayStation exclusive, it’s being held to a much higher standard by the majority of people, and that’s maybe understandable when you compare it to other PlayStation exclusives… God of War is at 94%, Spider-Man at 87%, The Last of Us at 95% and Uncharted 4 at 93%… So yeah, there’s no doubt that when you stand Days Gone next to its predecessors, it can be seen as a dud.
But I’m here to ask if this is really a big problem for Sony? If you look at it from the point of view that Sony have advertised this HARD and the reviews have been mostly people being disappointed, then yes, its not a good look for them but let’s be honest here… Days Gone is still going to make a boat ton of cash! Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of gamers that read and watch reviews who will now decide that Days Gone can be skipped or bought at a later date (For the record I’m one of the latter) – That doesn’t mean that your average Joe who just wants a PS4 game to play once the kids have gone to bed will care one bit what the reviews say. All he sees is a PlayStation exclusive title that is being advertised alongside the likes of God of War and Spider-Man, and hey, those were good so I’ll just buy this Days Gone game!
Now this could open up a whole new can of worms about how important and influential reviews are in the gaming industry today, but my point is that Days Gone – even though it’s a disappointment – will likely still sell well enough to be counted as a success for lads over at Sony, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. First off, 72% on Metacritic isn’t that bad at all, hell, Until Dawn and Detroit: Become Human are both sat at 79% & 78% respectively, and are both in my top five PS4 exclusives to date! Personally, I hope that Days Gone makes enough money to at least justify a sequel, because from what I’ve seen of the game there seems to be a good idea there. I think comparisons can be made to Assassin’s Creed in this instance; the first game in that franchise was hyped beyond belief, but when the game dropped it was good, but not a game changer, but still it made it’s money and a sequel was born; that sequel was Assassins Creed 2 and still stands as one of my (And many others!) favourite games of all time. So yeah, you never know; maybe there will be a sequel and it surpasses all expectations, and we look back at Days Gone and think yeah, that started it all. Just if there is to be a sequel… Maybe ditch the zombies.
I think in closing, Sony will be disappointed with the reception Days Gone has received but I don’t think this is a shock to them; they would have predicted this possibly happening, especially when you consider that the review embargo wasn’t lifted until the day before release – Always a bad sign! And let us not forget, SIE Bend Studio haven’t exactly got a big history when it comes to console releases, in fact you have to go as far back as the Syphon Filter days on PS2 since they last gave it a go, since then focusing a lot of their efforts onto handheld releases such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Which was fantastic by the way)… So with that in mind, it would be unfair of Sony to hold them to the same standards as a SIE Santa Monica or Naughty Dog, and it’s also unfair of us to do the same. Maybe Days Gone just came along at a bad time, at the height of Sony’s success with exclusives, or maybe it just suffered from being overhyped… Either way, I truly don’t believe that it’s the disaster that some people want you to think it is and I can only hope that Sony feel the same way.
UPDATE! As is sometimes the way when writing an article like this, news has just come in as I’ve finished what I have to say… That news is that Days Gone has officially landed top of the video games charts across all formats with the biggest launch to date so far this year!
…So there we have it, clearly Days Gone will in no way be considered a dud as far as Sony are concerned as this news officially makes it more successful (On launch anyway) than Devil May Cry 5 and Kingdom Hearts 3 from earlier this year; both of which have had much better reviews than Days Gone. So what can we take away from this? Maybe that reviews really don’t matter as much as we think they do, especially when it comes to sales at least. This news makes me happy though, as I said I wanted to see the game do well as potential for a greater sequel may well be there. Will Days Gone continue to be a big success as the weeks go on..? We shall see, but there is no doubt in this writer’s mind now that any of the negativity surrounding the game will bother Sony one bit.