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Think of this game as The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, The Last of Us and World War Z combined into one game. Get the picture?

"Rivers do not drink their own water. Trees do not eat their own fruit. Clouds do not swallow their own rain. What great ones have is always for the benefit of others."

Days Gone is an open-world action-adventure survival horror video game released on 26 April 2019 by SIE Bend Studio for the Play Station 4, with a PC port released two years later on May 17, 2021. It is the first intellectual property created by SIE Bend Studio since Syphon Filter in 1999 and the first home console game developed by the studio since Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow in 2010. Unreal Engine 4 was used for the game development.

The game takes place in Oregon, two years after a global pandemic which killed almost all of humanity, and transformed millions of others into "Freakers", mindless zombie-like creatures that are quickly evolving. The player controls the game's protagonist, Deacon St. John (Sam Witwer), a drifter and former bounty hunter who prefers to live a dangerous life on the road over living in wilderness encampments.

As the game is set in an open-world environment, players are allowed to use multiple ways to complete objectives, such as utilizing stealth for silent takedowns or taking the aggressive approach by using long- and short-range weapons. A dynamic weather system and day-night cycle are also featured in the game, which affects gameplay by altering the Drifter Bike's handling characteristics and making "Freakers" weak and slow during the daytime but fast and aggressive during the night. Vehicles such as motorbikes can be used to explore the game's world. Players can craft new items to improve combat efficiency.


Days Gone contains tropes such as:

  • After the End: Set 2 years after a major apocalypse caused by the virus.
  • A.K.A.-47: Most if not all of the guns in the game are based on real weapons. Some use their real life names, like the M14 and RPD, but...
    • The SAF is based on the AKM assault rifle.
    • The US556 is based on the M4A1 Block II carbine.
    • The Chicago Chopper is based on the Thompson submachine gun, with the name being a reference to the weapon being referred to as the "Chicago Typewriter" when used in gang-related crimes.
    • The Rock Chuck is ostensibly based on the AAC Honey Badger but with an MLOK handguard similar to its successor, the Q Honey Badger.
    • The .22 Repeater is a Ruger 10/22 with a 25-round magazine that suspiciously only holds five rounds in-game.
    • The Stinger is a CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 with the rails on the handguard absent.
    • The PDW is the FN Five-seveN.
    • The IMI Desert Eagle makes an appearance as the Eliminator.
    • The SWAT 10 commonly seen carried by NERO soldiers is an HK MP5A2 with an added rail system.
    • The Accuracy International AS50 makes an appearance as the .50 BFG
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: Deacon and Boozer are explicitly one-percenter outlaw bikers. The same goes for Ripper leader Carlos, who turns out to be a former member of their gang who turned mad partially due to his gang booting him out and removing his tattoos with a blowtorch.
  • Analogy Backfire: In one of his Radio Free Oregon segments, Copeland brags about how he and his fellow survivalists were prepared for the apocalypse by comparing it to "The Grasshopper and the Ants". Deacon, who happened to come across a survivalist shelter that had been raided and taken over by marauders, has this to say:
    Deacon: Last I checked, the "grasshoppers" all armed themselves to the teeth, came in, killed all your fucking ants, and took everything you owned. So — if you're gonna tell parables, why don't ya just get ’em right.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Whenever you undertake a mission that prominently involves your motorcycle, such as one where you have to drive somewhere with one of Deacon's friends, the game temporarily makes your bike immune to damage and gives you infinite gasoline. You can't repair or refuel it until after the mission's over, which has confused a few people. It also stops random hostile enemies from spawning.
    • When you are low on fuel, fuel icons will appear on your mini map notifying you to gas canisters nearby. note 
    • Anytime you are near nests, there is bound to be crafting materials nearby to make a Molotov.
    • Anytime you are in a mission where there is going to be several firefights, the ammo canisters are more plentiful.
    • No matter what difficulty level you are playing on, the Freakers in the Hordes health bars remain the same as if you were playing on Easy Modenote , thus preventing Hordes from becoming bullet sponges.
  • Ape Shall Not Kill Ape: Averted; the Freakers will chow down on each other under the right circumstances. The first time you encounter a Breaker, it rips a regular Swarmer's arms off and proceeds to eat it alive. Other Swarmers are seen eating a still-living Newt. And if NERO are actually intelligent Freakers, as possibly hinted at by The Stinger, then they have no qualms about experimenting on the primal strains of Freakers, who in turn attack their scientists and soldiers just as savagely as they would regular humans.
    • In fact, you will often see Freakers attack other types of Freakers. If they are not part of the same group, they will most likely be fighting one another. Bleachers and Swarmers seem to coexist well, though, likely due to the former being an evolutionary form of the latter.
  • Apocalypse How: A Planetary Societal Collapse as the majority of humans either died or mutated into "Freakers", reducing humanity to scattered communities of make-shift camps.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • There are many collectibles that give background on what happened in the last two years.
    • You can listen in onto the chatter from other survivors around Camps, they usually talk about where they were the day all this happened.
  • Arc Words: "It was a long time ago," usually said about the immediate moments before, during and after the outbreak.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • The best way to take down any normal Freaker is a headshot, so the Freakers will bob-and-weave to make it more difficult to land a shot.
    • Marauders will flank you or throw explosives if you stay in one cover too long.
  • Artistic License – Biology: When Deacon retrieves a live sample for Sarah to inject her solution in, she says every cell within the subject was destroyed. Also when the two are handling a live subject of a virus known to infect human beings through blood and saliva in a lab setting, no PPE is used at all: no gloves, no mask, no goggles. Sarah somehow has a biochemistry PhD yet would fail in basic lab safety inspection.
    • In fact this is what caused the outbreak to begin with. One of Sarah's coworkers realized what the government was doing and got evidence to prove it. Unfortunately he did not use proper PPE in getting the sample and accidentally infected himself without realizing it. Sarah even makes a comment that she often scolded him for not following proper safety precautions on multiple occasions.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The game takes place in the Cascade Range of central Oregon and its large open world features a number of real-life landmarks like lakes, mountains and towns. These places' positions relative to each other are complete fiction, however. Most obviously, the higher peaks of the Oregon Cascades are dotted all over the map, when in reality they exist more or less in a single-file north-south line.
    • In addition, the western half of the map appears more arid and desert-like, when in fact the reverse is true—the entire map appears to be west of the Three Sisters, the highest mountains in the region, and Oregon's high desert only begins on the eastern slopes of those mountains, well outside the playable area in the other direction.
    • Another egregious example is the inclusion of Lost Lake, which sits smack in the middle of the game's map despite actually being located about a hundred miles north on the slopes of Mt. Hood.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Militia have Heavies with flame throwers. They are just as much of a bullet sponge as other heavies, but one shot to their tanks on their backs will cause them to explode and instantly kill them.
  • Badass Longcoat: Captain Kouri of the Deschutes County Militia wears one, specifically a duster.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Deacon tries to infiltrate the Militia as a recruit, during the induction ceremony the Colonel singles out one recruit and speaks disapprovingly her prison tattoos (including facial markings indicating the number of murders she's committed), then orders her to be sent to the work camp as a laborer. The Colonel moves on to Deacon and take a long look at his many tattoos... and reveals he immediately recognized them as military tattoos, engaging in some friendly banter about his service and warmly welcoming him to the Militia.
  • Bandit Mook: While they don't do so during regular gameplay, during story missions Newts will often steal key items from you, forcing you to track them down to get it back.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are just about one of the nastiest things you can encounter out there in the world. And then later on you encounter zombie bears.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Later in the game you go pick up some equipment with Sarah at a nearby college that was used as a NERO Camp at the start of the outbreak before being overrun. When you break inside the science building you come across a room filled with dead bodies with no wounds. It turns out that they committed a mass suicide by drinking punch filled with hemlock rather than deal with the Freakers.
  • Big Bad: The game has two villains of both the first and second half of the game's story:
    • Carlos/Jessie Williamson is the villain of the story's first half. He is the enigmatic but violent leader of the Rippers and an ex-member of Mongrels. He is revealed to be the nemesis of Deacon and Boozer, after his Mongrel tattoo was burnt off via a blowtorch. However, in terms of the villainy scale, he is only a Disc-One Final Boss.
    • Colonel Garret is the villain of the story's second half, and unlike Carlos, he is later revealed to be the story's true Big Bad, after he begins Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, following the death of Arturo Jiminez, the Militia's only doctor. Because of this, he begins his extermination campaign of targeting rival human camps with his militia army.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Colonel Garret and the Militia end up becoming the greatest immediate threat to the rest of the Oregon survivors, while Skizzo serves as a personal antagonist to Deacon for the whole of the story. Skizzo ends up conning his way into becoming The Dragon to the Colonel, but it's pretty clear he's only out for his own self-interest and hurting Deacon.
  • Black Helicopter: NERO personnel travel in black helicopters. And they don't just appear during story missions, either. Often they can be seen just flying around during free roam and will usually flee over the mountains if followed. Sometimes, it even seems like they're actively watching Deacon...
  • Book Ends: The same place you start the playable portion of the game is also where the story ends: when you complete every other chapter of the story, you get a new mission that takes you back to the Pioneer Cemetery. Also with a cut scene ending with Deacon watching O'Brian flying off in a Helicopter, like he did the night society collapsed and thought he lost Sarah.
  • Bring It: This is Deacon's response when he's taking on Marauder/Ripper encampments, alongside various other angry mutterings.
  • Bullet Time: One of the first abilities that can be unlocked is the ability to slow down time while aiming.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Skizzo dissuades Colonel Garrett from punishing Sarah for her treachery by pointing out that her skills as a scientist would be put to use in making hemlock to poison the wells of survivor camps.
  • Central Theme: Beginning again. Various characters discuss the new reality they found themselves in, with many reacting almost allergic to the past: conspiracy nut Copeland prefers the apocalypse to "deep state rule", Rikki prefers not to dwell on her past for fear of getting stuck in it. Deacon starts the game with the plan to begin anew north of Oregon, but it's quickly clear he's afraid of forging a new life anywhere because he never got over the death of his wife and on some level hopes he never does. Most darkly, Colonel Garrett hopes to reset the world by committing genocide.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Colonel Garrett mentions that Sarah makes tea to help with his digestion. Later on she ends up killing him by poisoning his tea with hemlock.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Deacon's wife Sarah died in the early days of the outbreak when the refugee camp she was sent to was overrun by Freakers. Deacon searched the camp but Never Found the Body. Turns out Sarah is still alive, having been transferred to a different camp due to being a government scientist, eventually ending up in the hands of the Militia and eventually joining them.
  • Chokepoint Geography: If you are having difficulty with the Hordes, your best bet to make it a lot easier is to find one of these nearby where you can liter it with bombs and traps and focus your fire on a large group at once. For the Sawmill Horde, there is a tunnel not too far off from the barn the Freakers sleep in, turning what could be a frantic run for your life battle into a shooting gallery.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: At the end of the game, despite spending the last third finding Sarah and rescuing her, she just vanishes entirely from the game with only some NPC dialogue about her here and there. It became such an issue among gamer complaints that Patch 1.60 made it so she can now be found in Lost Lake sitting next to Boozer.
  • Climax Boss: The Old Saw Mill horde is effectively the action climax of the game, being the largest horde in the game and a very tough fight requiring usage of most of your carried traps and throwables to defeat. The final assault on Wizard Island that comes immediately after is more of a victory lap to conclude the story.
  • Crazy Survivalist:
    • Copeland and his followers were of the sort even before the outbreak.
    • Deacon notes that the minute civil services collapsed, the "Prepper" types took the opportunity to block the roads and start shooting up anyone and anything that moves, making the chaos of the initial outbreak that much more worse.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Copeland is an anarcho-libertarian Conspiracy Theorist who strongly believes that the Federal government was responsible for causing the outbreak, and that NERO's sudden return (after the first Black Helicopter shows up) is their attempt to reclaim what is left of the United States. He is at least right about the Freaker virus being created by the government, and that NERO doesn't have the Oregon survivors' well-being in mind.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Ripper leader turns out to be a former member of Deacon's motorcycle club who has a grudge against Deacon and Boozer for their part in his disfigurement and expulsion.
  • Creepy Crows: Whenever you see a murder of crows or ravens flying around in the sky, it usually means a Horde is close. The southern half of the map is also home to Criers, infected ravens with disheveled feathers that can attack from any direction and be tough to hit. They make their nests in dead trees and on top of power line transformers, which you'll need to burn to get rid of them.
  • Damsel out of Distress: When you get to Crater Lake, your initiation assignment, more or less, is to hunt down an AWOL member of the milita, Vasquez. Vasquez and his group of ne'er do wells have gotten their hands on a young woman. Vasquez makes a sneering remark to her and drags her into a room with a knife to her throat. After taking care of the thugs outside, Deacon enters the room only to find Vasquez dead on the floor, his crotch a bleeding ruin, with the unhurt, fully-clothed hostage stabbing the corpse in the junk furiously over and over while screaming imprecations. Shouldn't have tried to mess with a female ex-con who, judging by the three teardrop tattoos on her face, was already a triple murderer before the outbreak.
  • Degraded Boss: Each Elite Zombie is first encountered as the boss of a story mission. You'll start to find them in the open world afterward.
    • A bug in New Game+ frequently causes them to spawn before their official introductions in that mode.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • The Pause shows the amount of days that have passed since the epidemic happened. Anytime you are in a flashback the pause menu will state 0 Days Gone.
    • Deacon's comments when he takes down the Ripper Sermons will change depending if you destroy them before or after you kill Carlos.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The tommy gun (called the Chicago Chopper) is available about 60% through the game, soon after you reach the second half of the game world, on sale at the Wizard Island gun merchant. It's available at a relatively low Trust level, deals even more damage than the M4 assault rifle (which you need max Trust with the Hot Springs to buy), and you can carry a massive amount of ammo for it, almost twice as much as for assault rifles. With the right perks, you can wipe out entire hordes with it without even needing throwables or traps. It's powerful enough to mow down a Breaker in under 50 shots.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • The residents of Sherman's Camp were massacred in a war with another group of survivors. Iron Mike was one of two remaining residents who walked out of the town alive. The former returns to the town with Deacon to show him what he went through.
    • Rikki came from a small town outside of Portland, where the city fell to the Freakers and was then allegedly nuked. However, Rikki doubts the latter happened because everyone would have felt the radioactive fallout.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the missions has Deacon and Skizzo find dynamite in a cave and they come across two of Skizzo's men who were trapped in a cave-in. One died of his injuries and the other one survived by eating him. However this took a toll on him and at some point killed himself by shooting himself in the head, something Deacon can see if he investigates the scene. Another suicide can be found at a table outside the gate of the northeasternmost NERO camp.
  • Early Game Hell: You start with what could be best described as a Pea Shooter that needs a full magazine to kill a Freaker, especially in the harder difficulties settings (unless it's a headshot) and your bike is scrapped, leaving you with a replacement that breaks down in any collision and has a tiny gas tank constantly making you seek out scrap and fuel. That's also not including your health and stamina being very low as well as being unable to hold many supplies or ammo. It isn't until close to halfway through the game do you start to get any decent firepower, equipment on the bike, some NERO mods to give you extra health and stamina, and upgrades that allow you to carry more stuff to take on the Freaks.
  • Easter Egg: Much like Alvarez, you can find Leon's skeletonized remains where you left his body if you head back there at any point after leaving the first camp.
  • Eaten Alive: Deacon can find the remains of a survivor who attempted to flee a house through an upper-floor window, legs still straddling the window frame. He/she has been completely devoured, bones and all, from the waist up.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Some enemies wear ballistic vests and helmets and wield assault rifles; it takes a few bullet hits to break their armor before you can damage or headshot them. The majority of Militia enemies are of this type, due to their superior equipment.
    • The Militia, who you only fight in the last several missions, are a lot tougher than normal human enemies. They've got almost 3 times as much health compared to Marauders and nearly double compared to Rippers, have better weapons (including M4 assault rifles, combat shotguns, M14 rifles, and machine guns wielded by regular troops and not just the Heavies), and most of their troops wear high-quality body armor. In fact a standard Militia soldier with body armor can survive about as much damage as a Ripper Heavy.
  • Elite Zombie:
    • There are 3 Boss in Mook's Clothing Freaker types. Breakers (roid-raging bodybuilder-sized Giant Mook zombies that can survive over 100 rounds of assault rifle fire) and Reachers (very fast Lightning Bruiser zombies that hit hard, use hit-and-run tactics, and can survive about half as much damage as Breakers can). There are also Ragers, which are zombie bears with about twice as much health and more damaging attacks compared to regular bears.
    • To a lesser extent, there are Screamers (who can summon more Swarmers if they spot you, drain your stamina if you're in earshot, and if you are near a horde cave you better run), Criers (zombie crows that move fast, hit hard, and are tricky to shoot down), and Bleachers (who are about 50% tougher and hit much harder than regular Swarmers but still behave like standard enemies).
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Deacon believes Sarah would have left him if she knew he held down a member of his club that was kicked out as their leader took a blowtorch to his back to remove the tattoo of their gang. Not to mention said ex-member became the leader and founder of the Rippers that terrorizes post-apocalyptic Oregon, which sorely bites Deacon in hindsight.
    • Deacon states he has a list of things he hasn't done despite everything that's happened. He notes cannibalism and backstabbing a friend being two of them.
  • Evil Old Folks: Tucker, who runs the Hot Springs enclave like a slave camp, eventually drives several characters to prefer death over safety and food. Even Lisa, who grew up with Tucker as a neighbor, hates her after a short while at Hope Springs, and Tucker merely laments losing another worker when falsely informed of her death.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The motorcycle in the main menu will change depending on what kind of upgrades and visual enhancements you have on Deacon's bike.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Deacon just happened to come across Rikki trying to teach Addy how to ride a bike. It is this moment that has Deacon remember the time he was also trying to teach his, at the time, fiancé how to ride a bike as well. Only for him to remember that the place she worked at required government clearance, something O'Brian claimed was one of the only groups of people evacuated from the camp. This leads to him getting information about where she was and finding her at Wizard Island.
  • Faceless Goons: All NERO personnel wear armored hazmat gear that completely conceals their faces. Their soldiers are Gas Mask Mooks while their scientists have completely opaque faceplates on their hazmat suits. The Stinger implies there's a very good reason for this.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Shaw and Esposito, a couple of NERO soldiers who show up in a lot of the collectible intel items, can be found dead in one of the last NERO sites you open up, in Highway 97. They were trapped inside the bunker when its power failed, unable to escape or bring themselves to commit suicide. The implication is that they starved to death.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Boozer's arm getting amputated is foreshadowed at least twice before it happens.
      • At the very beginning, when the game is teaching you how to make bandages, Deacon (having been grazed by a bullet from Leon) quips after healing, "Guess I won't be losing the arm anytime soon."
      • Deacon's radio will periodically pick up transmissions from the Deschutes County Militia before coming into contact with them.
      • Much subtler is Addy's request for a Liston Knife after Deacon and Boozer arrive at Lost Lake camp. Addy mentions it was a tool for operations in the days before modern medicine, most specifically gaining infamy during the American Civil War. She says that it helped with surgery before the advent of anesthetic. No points for guessing one of the kinds of surgery she brings up.
    • Every camp you go to you are given side missions from the Camp Leader, except Lost Lake, foreshadowing Iron Mike isn't going to be around by the end of the game. In this case, Rikki is the one giving out the side missions.
    • Throughout the game you hear about the Deschutes County Militia during the outbreak, how they tried to destroy caves to stop the Freakers from coming in as well as a random radio broadcast about a group under attack. This all foreshadows when you have to deal with them when you head to Crater Lake.
    • During the flashbacks and you listen closely to when Sarah talks about her work, there is a good chance you will guess that they were involved with the Zombie Virus long before the reveal.
    • O'Brian's final radio transmission to Deacon before The Stinger. Players may notice just by his broken voice that something is very wrong with him...
  • The Ghost:
    • If you listen to some dialogue when sneaking into Lost Lake, one of the campers mentions how Addy's brother was ambushed by Rippers while on patrol and killed by a fellow patroller to save him from being ravaged by the Rippers. After this, however, he is never brought up again.
    • Iron Mike mentions that he was the only survivor of a civil war in Sherman's Camp along with a woman named Nora. This woman is never seen in the game or mentioned again afterward, not even by Addy.
  • Global Currency Exception: The game's economy works on a local credits system, where each camp has its own "credits" that can only be used with its own vendors and can be raised by doing missions and clearing out enemy encampments within their turf or donating bounties/resources to them.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The mysterious NERO that was responsible for trying to contain the outbreak two years prior, and currently sending field teams to study the Freakers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: It's revealed that the virus was deliberately engineered by the government (as represented by NERO) for unknown purposes, and was accidentally released when a whistleblower stole a sample in hopes of exposing the government's dirty deeds. The Stinger also potentially hints that NERO are actually an intelligent species of Freakers and that they'll soon be coming for Deacon and the other Oregon survivors.
  • Heart Container: NERO injectors found at NERO outposts can be used to permanently increase your stats (health, stamina, or focus).
  • Heavily Armored Mook:
    • Heavies are hostile survivors wearing bulky, makeshift body armor and armed with machine guns or flamethrowers. They can take more bullets than regular human enemies (their overall durability is roughly 4 times that of a normal enemy), but are considerably slower as a result of their armor. They also can't be stealth-killed. However, they're not Juggernauts and still die after less than a dozen shots from a decent automatic weapon. The Militia Heavies are even tougher, having roughly twice as much armor and health as the regular hostile survivor/Marauder Heavies.
    • The Rippers have Heavies as well identifiable by their large stick backpacks. Even though they're shirtless like all other Rippers, they behave identically to the heavily armored regular Heavies and deflect bullets as though they were wearing armor. In fact due to the Rippers' enhanced health (because of their use of bath salts/PCP) Ripper Heavies can take slightly more damage than the Marauder Heavies.
    • NERO soldiers, who wear proper military-grade body armor, might be less physically imposing than Heavies, but they're genuinely Immune to Bullets and cannot be defeated in combat by you. However, The Stinger implies that their superhuman toughness is actually superhuman due to their Freaker biology combined with the armor they wear.
    • Even the "normal" Militia soldiers in the last few missions are extremely bullet-spongy. In fact a basic Militia soldier wearing standard body armor can survive slightly more damage than a Marauder Heavy.
  • Hero of Another Story: A number of NPC characters (e.g. Iron Mike, O’Brian, Lisa, Kouri, Sarah and so forth) seem to have fairly elaborate backstories that involve daring action, psychological drama, and intricate conspiracies, which could easily make for interesting playing themselves.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Downplayed. Boozer drives the bomb truck into blowing up the gate to Wizard Island and apparently himself. But it later turns out that Boozer had jumped out of the truck at the last second.
  • Hide Your Children: Justified as the virus killed almost everyone under twelve and between twelve and fifteen were turned into Newts. It can be inferred that some survived for a time by the presence of kids' drawings found on walls in certain places such as the first tunnel Deacon and Boozer go into, but none are seen. The only known instance of a child born after the outbreak is a grave in the northwest corner of Iron Butte near the map's boundary with the name "Jessica" and "April 08 - July 10" scrawled on the rock face behind it. Though no years are given, the way her grave is marked suggests she died at the age of 3 months and 2 days.
  • Hopeless Suitor: It is clear that Jezzy Bowman (Copeland's Camp bounty collector) and Blair (Lost Lake gun merchant) have crushes on Deacon, with the latter practically gushing over him every time he approaches her stall. And later on, Rikki develops an attraction to him. But Deacon is so focused on his thought to have been deceased wife that he can't move on with any of them.
  • Hope Spot: Deacon has found Sarah and got O'Brian to give them an airlift out of the Crater Lake militia camp. Only at that exact moment, Colonel Garrett emerges from his tent showing a group of recruits the Ark. On top of that, one of those recruits is Skizzo. The arrival of the chopper leaves everyone shocked and it immediately flies away. Then Skizzo falsely claims that Deacon is a criminal, which gets him arrested.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Per the game's Zombie Apocalypse setting, humans are its worst enemy as roving gangs of bandits and psychopathic cultists pose a threat to Deacon.
    • The Big Bad of the game, Colonel Garret, starts as a Well-Intentioned Extremist but starts to believe this trope throughout the game, quickly turning him into a shining example of it. He eventually ends up planning to use the army he was going to use to wipe out the Freaks to destroy all other survivor groups instead, reasoning that all of them are no better than the Always Chaotic Evil groups like the Rippers or the Marauders.
    • One of the game's main themes is that most humans are simply incapable of caring for more than a few close friends and family members, viewing everyone else as being "not real people" but rather simply meat standing between them and whatever they want to take.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The most prominent characters (Deacon, Boozer, Sarah, Rikki, and probably Skizzo) are modeled after their voice actors.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: NERO soldiers wear HAZMAT suits, and military-grade body armor, and are immune to both your firearms and melee attacks. The only way to deal with them is to evade them with stealth. They can be killed if one manages to knock one into water with explosives, in which case they will drop their uniquely-named "NERO SWAT 10" SMG, but it's so low-powered with such a high rate of fire that it's practically useless.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: The Big Bad is (by the end at least) a crazed madman and Deacon simply sees taking him out as a necessity. He has a far more personal beef with Skizzo, who is made second in command of the militia.
  • Irony: Copeland's Camp has a hard constitutional base to it, especially towards the 2nd Amendmentnote . However, you are unable to actually buy any guns from this Camp, just ammo.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Skizzo, who constantly antagonizes Deacon and bullies his fellow survivors, is very skeptical of Iron Mike's peace treaty with the Rippers, who are completely insane and the very least likely of all people to honor the treaty. Deacon does agree and share Skizzo's sentiment, but he doesn't agree with Skizzo's idea to "solve" the treaty issue by usurping Iron Mike's leadership. But that's not to say Skizzo is wrong about the Rippers...
  • Jump Scare: Try opening a car trunk and there's a chance a Newt will jump out at you. There's a scripted one at the very beginning of the game, too, when you're walking point ahead of Boozer's bike and have to cut down an access tunnel. A Swarmer pops out a door and takes Deacon by surprise and can only be killed via Press X to Not Die.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire is the only way to destroy Freaker nests, and also makes for a good weapon against swarmers. It just does Damage Over Time on Breakers.
  • Love Triangle: Teased, but ultimately goes undeveloped. Rikki and Addy are in a relationship, which Rikki openly states she doesn't view as a serious commitment. About halfway through the game, after spending the day with Deacon doing various missions with him, she makes a pass at him (quipping "It's not like I'm married"). He rebuffs the advance. Addy briefly seems suspicious later of the time the two of them spend together, but it never goes any further than that. Rikki for her part realizes she's more committed to Addy than she thought after the Ripper assault on Lost Lake. And Deacon, of course, eventually finds Sarah is alive.
  • Magical Antibiotics: It's a little less egregious than most examples of this trope, since Boozer still needs a lot of time to recuperate (not to mention a particularly rustic major surgery), but once Deacon recovers "antibiotics" from a crashed plane Boozer's survival becomes guaranteed. Addy also mentions the antibiotics (not referred to in any more specificity than that) saved a couple of NPC's in the infirmary.
  • Man on Fire: Enemies can be set on fire with Molotov cocktails, but setting a Ripper on fire, however, doesn't immediately kill them as they are doped up on PCP, and instead they will attempt to run at Deacon and grab him, setting him on fire too if he doesn't succeed in breaking out of their grip.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Hostile humans, uninfected predators, and different species of Freakers are all hostile towards each other and you, leading to multi-way fights whenever different groups end up in the same area.
    • It's perfectly possible when fighting human enemies at an ambush camp that a swarm will come by and make your job at once easier and more complicated. (It's even scripted in at least one instance.)
    • Can happen with animal opponents too. You're fending off some seriously aggressive wolves when BAM! A cougar comes along and divides their attention.
    • In the Harder Difficulties and later in the game it's not uncommon to come across several Boss Level monsters at the same time.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • During one of Boozer's missions, he and Deacon find a dog critically wounded by the Rippers. Deacon ultimately has to put it down with his knife.
    • While dealing with the Rippers, Deacon suffocates a kneecapped victim of theirs (against her will) rather than leave her behind to be torn apart by the Freakers.
    • Deacon hunts down Taylor for murdering Doc Jimenez and stealing the Militia's drugs. Taylor begs Deacon not to turn him over to the Militia to be hanged. Deacon decides to mercy kill him by giving him a drug overdose.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The outbreak was caused by one of Sarah's coworkers. He correctly thought they were building a biological weapon for the government. He broke into the lab to steal a sample and brought it to an environmental convention in Portland hoping to be the next Edward Snowden. He accidentally infected himself when he stole the sample. He then infected the convention attendees. They got on planes back to their homes infecting people along the way. Two weeks later...
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Played for laughs when Deacon brings Copeland's conspiracy-spiel radio show, Radio Free Oregon, back on the air.
      Deacon: That's great, yeah — Radio Free Oregon is on the air once again. Oh God, what have I done?
    • Played seriously in one mission where Deacon mercy kills a seriously injured woman against her will rather than leave her behind to be eaten alive by the Freakers. He suffers a serious Heroic BSoD afterwards but is able to compose himself fairly quickly.
  • New Game Plus: Now included in the game as of Patch 1.51.
  • Nocturnal Mooks: Downplayed. The same kinds of Freakers can be found day or night, there's just more of them at nighttime.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: One of Skizzo's men survived a cave-in by eating the remains of his partner who died from his injuries. He eventually killed himself in despair. Skizzo and Deacon have a somber discussion after finding the body where Deacon reveals his thankfulness that he hasn't had to resort to it.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: After Deacon joins the Militia and finds Sarah, on one of their runs Deacon comments how odd it is with how serious they play military with protocol and ranks. Sarah states she felt the same way with Deacon's biker gang with the titles they gave each other. Deacon admits that she has a point.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The term used for the creatures is "Freakers".
  • Oh, Crap!: Deacon's reaction when he sees the horde.
    Deacon: Look around, brother. You know how this is gonna...end.
  • Older Is Better: The final set of weapons you can unlock in the endgame safezone mostly consists of Wild West-era or turn-of-the-century antiques, including a tommy gun, a PPSh (the Russian equivalent), two Wild West rifles, and even a Nock gun. The tommy gun is even stronger than a M4 assault rifle, and the Wild West rifles can kill enemies with one shot. Somewhat justified in that the guy selling them used to have a cable show featuring rare and interesting firearms.
  • Opposites Attract: We have Deacon St. John, a guy from a broken home, ex-military and member of a 1% biker gang, where we have Sarah, a woman from the suburbs with 2 PhDs. And they are Happily Married.
  • Passive Rescue: Lisa enables Deacon's escape from a Ripper camp by cutting one of his bonds and leaving him the knife.
  • Photo Mode: Comes with excessive focus settings and lets the player save their own filters.
  • Plot Tunnel: There are two in the game. Both helpfully warn you beforehand.
    • Once you decide to go on the mission Riding Nomad Again and ride to Crater Lake, you won't be able to go back to any of the northern areas or complete their side quests until much later.
    • The second one occurs after you return to Lost Lake near the end of the game; you won't be able to return to Crater Lake or Highway 97 or complete any sidequests there until the Playable Epilogue.
  • Political Overcorrectness: Parodied. In the past Deacon told Sarah that his gang got some Black guys to join solely to tick off a rival biker gang who were skinheads. He immediately admits he was teasing her when she asked if he was being serious, though he notes that the Mongrels did in fact have a couple Black members, one of whom was in Deacon's old army unit and joined the gang with him.
  • Precious Photo:
    • Deacon carries a photo of Sarah.
    • Captain Kouri carries one of his wife, Karie.
  • Public Secret Message: Sarah and Deacon have to do this as they can't reveal to the Militia they are in a relationship.
  • Ragnarök Proofing:
    • Despite not having anyone to do maintenance or repairs for two straight years and hosting nests of freakers, the hydroelectric dam at Little Bear Lake is apparently in perfect working order and just needs its intakes cleared in order to start producing electricity again.
    • The rest of countryside, however, is already looking worse for wear after two years. Cars are beginning to rust on the roads of Oregon, while some abandoned buildings are either beginning to see overgrowth or otherwise giving in to the elements.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Actually averted. If you use photo mode when Deacon is holding a gun but not aiming it, it shows he has his finger off the trigger.
  • Rejection Affection: Weaver had attempted to seduce Sarah when she first joined the Militia. Sarah rejected him and she made her feelings clear by breaking his arm.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Inverted as you are the new guy in the Militia Camp, however several officers you rescue will act like they have known you for quite some time.
  • Salt the Earth: A central part of the Deschutes County Militia's plan to eventually destroy the Freaker swarms in the region. They have clear-cut and burned a large area around their fort, preventing the Freaks from building nests and gathering into a horde.
  • Savage Wolves: Wolves and zombie wolves can be encountered wandering the wilderness. Both are very hostile to you. The zombie wolves are crazy fast and can even outrun your motorcycle if you don't shoot them down when they approach.
  • Save Scumming: Due to the way encounters work, reloading a save will usually change enemy spawns, so it's possible to reload a save if you're being attacked by a huge wave of enemies, and then encounter fewer enemies in the new save.
  • Scavenged Punk: Downplayed. It's only been two years, though signs of this have already begun showing up, whether it's the jury-rigged repairs seen on some equipment, or the makeshift upgrades to Deacon's bike.
  • Sequel Hook: At the very end of the game, O'Brien warns Deacon that NERO intends to completely purge the region, Freaker and survivor both. Also, he is revealed to be a sentient Freaker himself, which raises the implication that the rest of NERO could be as well.
  • Serial Killer: One of the Bounty Targets (indeed, he's the one from the showcase trailer) is a Drifter who's been turning in Freaker ears for bounty reward. However, it turns out he was a serial killer and the ears he was turning in were human, not Freaker, with him having turned in well over 100 ears. Deacon notes that this is an astonishing number of human kills as the total population of the 3 friendly survivor camps in the north probably doesn't even add up to 100.
  • Ship Tease: Deacon and Rikki get some pretty heavy ship tease to the point they have an almost kiss. Ultimately nothing further comes from it, and not long after those scenes, Deacon gets some very strong leads regarding Sarah, and eventually tracks her down.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The trophy for collecting 541 items from corpses is "You've Got Red on You."
    • Upgrading any of your health, stamina, or focus for the first time is "Better Living Through Chemistry." Deacon will even quote it after taking a NERO Mod.
    • Clearing out all ambush camps, infestations and NERO checkpoints in a single region is "Welcome to the Party, Pal."
    • Unlocking your first skill is "Don't Stop Me Now." Later trophies for more skill unlocks are more lyrics from the song; the trophy for learning all skills is "Mr. Fahrenheit".
    • Getting out of Crazy Willie's is "Just A Flesh Wound."
    • Killing a Breaker, Reacher, or Rager with a knife is "This is a Knife."
    • Collecting 18 hard-to-find items from all the NERO checkpoints in the game and getting 100% on all story missions unlocks a schematic you can use to make Gabe Logan's air taser from Syphon Filter.
    • Manny's book Zen and the Art of Bike Repair is an expy for Robert Pirsig's fictionalized autobiography Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    • In Challenge Mode, the trophy for reaching Founder rank is "Lost & Damned."
    • In Challenge Mode, the trophy for getting all patches is "Gotta Patch 'Em All."
    • Carlos, the leader of the Rippers turns out to be a former member of Deacon and Boozer's biker club and it's revealed he has a grudge against them after they forcibly burned off his biker tattoo due to his actions casting a bad light on the club, which is a reference to the Sons of Anarchy season one episode "Giving Back" where Jax burned off the tattoo of a former SOA member for failing them
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • The NERO tracking missions require you to tail a NERO scientist while avoiding detection from the soldiers, with your only tool being rocks to lure soldiers away.
    • A couple missions have you either sneaking into or out of a friendly survivor camp. Since massacring the inhabitants isn't an option, you're required to use stealth to get to your objective.
  • Stealth Sequel: If some of the in-game documents and secrets are to be believed, than Days is set in the same universe, and takes place after the events of the Syphon Filter games.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Third degree burns is a serious injury that doesn't heal on its own and requires more than just rest and treating it with bandage. Without proper treatment, Boozer's burned arm becomes septic and had to be amputated.
    • Books and reference material can only teach so much. The Colonel notes how little they matter after their only doctor is murdered.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: At the very end of the game, The Cavalry that shows up to help Deacon and Boozer storm Militia HQ consists of a minimum of less than a dozen survivors and a maximum of about 30 survivors, depending on how many friendly survivor camps Deacon has max Trust level with. This small group goes up against Garret's Militia army of a few hundred soldiers who have military grade weaponry and training, and manages to defeat them decisively. Somewhat justified in that Deacon starts the battle by blowing up the Militia's weapons and munitions stockpile, and the game notes early on when meeting them that a large portion of the Militia consists of civilians who joined up for the food and protection and who were given a week of boot camp training and handed a firearm and a uniform. The few dozen Elite Mooks Deacon shoots his way through to get to Skizzo and Garret likely represents the remainder of the group's actual skilled and dedicated members; Rikki notes everyone else pretty much surrendered with minimal resistance almost right away.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Prior to the fight where the Reacher Freak variant is introduced, there's tons of crafting supplies just lying around. Apart from the boss fight, there's also a small Horde to deal with afterward.
  • A Taste of Power: You start the game with your bike fully upgraded. However, after the first mission Manny scraps the bike and as an apology gives him what Deacon uses throughout the game.
  • Technically-Living Zombie: The Freakers are not reanimated corpses and are instead virus infectees.
  • The Oldest Profession: A conversation that may come up in any of the camps will entail a woman discussing how she was a prostitute in the middle of servicing a john when a horde of Freakers showed up.
  • Title Drop:
    • Days Gone is shown in the Pause menu, showing it refers to how many days have gone by since the epidemic.
    • Someone will say the name of the mission at some point during the mission.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Two-Dog, an old enemy of Deacon, tries to tackle him off the roof they're on to kill him. He ends up breaking his leg when Deacon used him to soften the fall. He then starts screaming in pain while a huge horde of zombies is nearby. You can guess what happens next... In the game he isn't much smarter, using a loud gun mere feet away from a Horde.
  • Undead Child: Most under about 12 years of age simply died from the virus. However, kids above that age turned into Newts, who are essentially about 12-14 year old Freakers. They're much weaker than regular Freakers, and will usually only attack if you're already badly injured or you intrude upon their space.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Iron Mike firmly refuses to seek violent solutions against hostile human survivors, giving a fair trial for criminals, and even trying to reason with the Rippers. His nonviolent beliefs is the source of his rift with Deacon, who sees his pacifism to be detrimental in the long run. Mike's act of mercy to Skizzo winds up getting him killed when Skizzo repaid his kindness by bringing the Deschutes County Militia to attack Lost Lake.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The setting of the game takes place two years after civilization collapsed from a global pandemic that killed most of humankind and turned a majority of the survivors into zombie-like Freakers.

♫ Lately I've been wondering what's been going on
I've been here before but I don't remember when
And every time we get to where we're entering
I feel my beliefs and hopes surrendering.
But I know I'll be coming home soon
And yes, I know that I'll be coming home soon.♫

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