Days Gone and Death Stranding are proof that 2019 was a divisive year for PlayStation 4 exclusives. The two blockbuster releases divided opinion between professional critics and fans playing the game, and in the case of the former, led to more of a positive backlash than one might expect. Sony Bend's first project on home consoles since Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow has always been considered a good experience here on Push Square, even going as far as winning the readers' Game of the Year 2019 vote. However, in the months since, it feels like the experience has resonated with so many more players that it becomes hard to ignore. One year later, can Days Gone be considered a genuinely great game? Thanks to impressive post-launch support and a large amount of free DLC, we think the answer is yes.
What a video game does after it hits the market is now just as important as the build-up to release, with redemption arcs for the likes of Destiny and No Man's Sky turning those experiences into something worthwhile down the road. Days Gone is no different. Sony Bend already had a good game on its hands, but that wasn't quite as easy to see when bugs and glitches were clouding our vision. Indeed, numerous minor issues plagued Days Gone right from the outset, causing side quests to break as well as audio issues and clipping. It was never anything truly game-breaking, but it was enough to detract from the overall undertaking.
And it was here where Sony Bend excelled. The studio quickly sought to crush as many bugs as it possibly could -- something it continues to do a year later. Hell, the developer even reduced the game's overall file size a few months ago to make the game a quicker download for newcomers. The flaws which reviews discussed at the time are now a thing of the past, making for an experience which runs just as smoothly as Deacon St. John's trusty motorbike. Once you've upgraded it, of course.
However, in this day and age, you need more than that. Downloadable content is always the talk of the town when it comes to the question of what's next, and Days Gone most certainly delivered. 12 different challenges were added to the game to give players who finished the story something else to do while New Game Plus and extra difficulty modes convinced users into a second playthrough. The aforementioned Death Stranding even became part of the universe, as a BB-themed bike was included in a certain update. Sure, none of this is a huge expansion which adds hours upon hours of new content, but the defining factor was that all of this DLC was completely free. Sony Bend never asked you to hand over a penny to gain access and start enjoying its plethora of bonus tasks.
The studio could have quite easily hacked together a cheap season pass in order to profit off its post-launch support, but it never did. This is how things should be done -- giving back to the players that have stuck by your game through thick and thin. As such, Days Gone became known as a game which emulates Crazy Taxi. How cool is that? In choosing to give back to its community, the Oregon-based company built up a fanbase eager for more.
A year later, we consider ourselves a part of that positive community. Days Gone is a much better game now than it was 12 months ago, but its fascinating in-game narrative has always stayed the same. The biker-led world of Oregon tells such an interesting post-apocalyptic story, filled with branches that could be explored in a sequel. And we sincerely hope that happens. With an even bigger budget, more time, and the better hardware that the PlayStation 5 will bring, Days Gone 2 could be something truly special. The franchise's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves moment? We reckon so.
How do you feel about Days Gone a year after its release? Do you love it more than ever or has your opinion soured somewhat? Place your vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.