How to survive the terrors that await in the PS4 exclusive's post-apocalyptic frontier
Murderous mutations that roam modern day, pandemic-ravaged America
The pandemic that struck the country turned some of its populace into feral monsters that operate on pure instinct. This new species has emerged as the dominant predator in an already hostile Pacific Northwest. Survivors of the viral outbreak call them Freakers.
The species is split into multiple strains, with each presenting its own unique challenge, making Freakers the deadliest foe you’ll face out in the wilderness. But crucially they’re not invincible. As with all living creatures they have weaknesses that can be exploited.
You'll rarely encounter this Freaker type alone. Unfortunately for you, they favor traveling in packs, from five to 20 individuals. They’ll investigate any loud noise within earshot and charge when they spot you, quickly surrounding you and cutting off any escape routes.
Survival guide: If flight is your preferred option, find bushes and crouch in the undergrowth, remaining concealed until the group passes. Favor stealth? Pick off stragglers by tossing rocks to lure them away from the pack, then sneak up behind them to perform a stealth takedown. Swarmers that will be attracted to the sound are highlighted alongside the arc of your intended throw.
Well-armed and confident? Lob a molotov cocktail into the swarm then start shooting, using both fire and bullets to thin out their numbers as they start charging. Switch to close-quarter combat to mop up the remainder.
This Freaker strain is unique because unlike other types, they’re almost always alone. But even then, they should set alarm bells ringing at what they represent: a living, breathing early warning system for Freakers. If they spot you, they’ll let out an unearthly roar which will bring any nearby Swarmers to your location.
Survival guide: If you’re close enough for a Screamer to spot you, you’re too close to avoid what comes next: its ear-shredding scream will immobilise you for vital seconds, which is just enough time for Swarmers to descend. Prioritise Screamers as soon as you see them, else your problems will multiply faster than you can handle.
Freaker strains continue to mutate as the game progresses. Bleachers are just one such evolution. Easily spotted by their paler skin, they’re as fast as Swarmers but can absorb a lot more damage, even headshots, before they’ll drop. Like their weaker brethren though, you can be unlucky enough to encounter groups of these tough monstrosities.
Survival guide: Embrace the game’s upgrade system and Deacon’s progression trees. Upgrading your Survival Vision means you can slow time down for longer, giving you the opportunity to land more headshots; unlocking better weapons gives you more stopping power and bigger ammo clips to eat away at their health. You can even turn your motorcycle into a high-speed weapon by increasing its durability, letting you ram and kill Bleachers. Be warned though: you’ll still need to repair your bike after.
The Freakers’ version of a bruiser-class. Survivor speculation is that these hulked-up aggressors are the result of the likes of muscle-bound athletes and wrestlers succumbing to the virus. Whatever their origin, they’re the giants of the species. And with brute strength comes no fear: Breakers will strive to get within arms reach and continually pummel you until you’re dead.
Survival guide: Molotov cocktails work as damage multipliers, so ignite a Breaker from afar and start shooting to chip away at its health. If you let a Breaker get close, perfect those dodge rolls to evade strikes, but remember: dodging eats into your stamina, reducing your ability to build distance between you and it.
As with every creature in the game, Breakers will attack other enemy types, so bring these roving brick walls into contact with another creature, letting those unexpected reinforcements weaken them before delivering the final blow.
These massed crowds of Freakers - numbering from 50 to 500 strong - are potentially your biggest challenge in the wilderness. They’re a distinct threat, even by Freaker standards; they move together like a hive mind, operating like a single entity. There are 40 hordes spread across the world of Days Gone, each with its own stomping grounds and migration pattern, roaming from feeding ground to water source.
Survival guide: You need to be well-armed and well prepared to even consider taking on a horde: you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by superior number. Careful observation and use of the environments a horde will frequent is key to sussing out a strategy to wipe out this terrifying threat permanently. Set traps, plan routes, and perfect your aim.
Four-legged natives of central Oregon that see you as their next meal
The food chain has changed. In Days Gone, humans are no longer the world's top predator and nature's carnivores are reasserting their dominance. Roaming the valleys and hills of the game's open world are sharp-toothed predators ready to protect their territory or range through the wilderness in a hunt for fresh meat.
And the fearsome residents of Oregon haven't been immune to the ravages of the pandemic: infected versions of wolves and bears also haunt the great outdoors. The increased aggression and sinister look of these mutations make for a chilling confrontation.
Bend Studio looked to the real-world natives of central Oregon to dictate the wildlife you’ll cross paths with out in the wilderness. That strive for authenticity means during your time out on the open road, you'll go toe to claw with aggressive, hulking black bears that'll happily use you as a chew toy. Their infected variant, Ragers, can be identified by the barbed wire that's entangled in their fur.
Survival guide: Going close-quarters isn’t an option, unless you want to be ripped apart. As with every encounter, turn the immediate environment to your advantage. If you've got the ammo, take to rooftops and shoot from the safety of higher ground. If you're near a gas station, tempt the bear into following you past fuel containers, igniting them as it passes to blow large chunks off its health bar.
These swift, deadly hunters roam the vast open country in packs. If you're lucky, you'll hear a telltale howl echo in the distance, warning you that the fleet-footed canine is on the prowl and to be wary of an attack. Even if you're alert, the attack will be swift: the whole pack suddenly materialising around you, ready to pounce. Their infected counterparts are the Runners, bigger and with patchy fur.
Survival guide: Wolves can keep pace with your motorcycle, so aim for a clear patch of open road and start shooting as you ride, discouraging them from getting too close and hope they tire before your fuel runs out. But if you’re low on gas, find a spot where you can put a wall at your back to avoid being surrounded, then ready a shotgun or other weapon with a wide area of damage.
Not all fellow survivors are friendly
Be wary of strangers. Friendly survivor encampments, in which communities work together and see outside help as a chance to build safer homes, are few and far between in Days Gone.
Most of the men and women you'll encounter on the road - or off it - are all-too eager to jump you, set ambushes to knock you off your motorcycle or simply shoot on sight. After all, you are potentially carrying supplies they need; better they live than you. Out in the wilderness, it's survival of the fittest.
Deranged cultists who revere Freakers. They pack some of the deadliest melee weapons in the game, leaving you to decide whether it's worth engaging them for the loot. Be warned though: while not heavily-armored, they're devoted to cleansing the world of humans. Some high-level Rippers will burst a molotov on their chest and charge you, hoping to take you down in flames with them.
Survival guide: They'll lob molotov cocktails from afar, try and flank you or run in with melee weapons. Lean into both the game’s ecosystem and the group's belief system to gain help from an unexpected quarter. If you can spot a nearby group of Swarmers, lead them into the vicinity and hide. Rippers refuse to harm Freakers. Instead, they'll go into a huddle and start chanting, letting the swarm descend.
While most non-friendly (non-Ripper survivors are labelled as marauders), there’s another group that make the roads dangerous during daylight. Survivors call them Ambushers. As the name implies, they’ll strike when you least expect it: a well-hidden clothesline will knock you off your bike, a sniper nest will target you as you drive by. They cover the roads nearest their home: a heavily-fortified camp.
Survival guide: Taking down an ambush camp is high risk, but high reward. Conquering these epic combat encounters will lower the number of ambushes in the surrounding area and open up the camp’s bunker, a hidden spot that’s a treasure trove of unique rewards. The design and challenges of each camp is distinct, presenting a unique, action-heavy puzzle that you'll need wits and skills to overcome.
Use your bike and your skills to give you the edge in the apocalypse
Your dual lifelines to surviving Days Gone are your bike and your skills. Your two-wheeled companion will let you easily eat up the miles as you roar across the varied terrain as well as presenting a quick escape from any danger. Meanwhile, your experience from completing jobs across the world can be funnelled into upgrading your suite of skills, toughening you up for the road ahead.
You have a finite amount of fuel in your bike’s tank. You can’t carry spare containers, so get in the habit of keeping on an eye on that gauge. It’s less being afraid of being out of gas, more being afraid of being on foot. Unusable transport is potentially a death sentence: your bike the only way to outrun Freakers and other threats.
Survival guide: Look out for gas stations (added to your map as you discover them) or discarded cans on your travels. Ease off the accelerator when coasting down hills: gravity will do most of the work. As soon as you can afford to, upgrade your fuel tank at an encampment.
Days Gone presents you a world in which your strategy should always be fluid. Melee weapons will break, ammo will be exhausted, stealth will be ineffectual against a rampaging Horde. That’s why it’s important to dive into the game’s extensive skill trees and upgrade yourself to make you more a stronger, more proficient survivor.
Survival guide: Become the master of all trades. Focus on unlocking the base level skills of all three upgrade branches. These’ll grant you essential skills for the wilderness, letting you repair your melee weapon, reload guns while moving and increase your Combat Focus. Not a great shot? Continue upgrading the melee tree to speed up repairs and increase your weapon’s durability. Prefer guns? You can decrease the sway on rifles, or be able to see enemies with Survival Vision.