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Watch this Days Gone extended horde mission

Zombies lured into chokepoints

So, you maybe saw some of this Days Gone footage at the Sony conference, but this is a longer version, without the developer spiel.

I'm conflicted about this game. On the one hand, I thought the dialog in the trailer was pretty bad. The "smell of your hair" thing had quite a few Polygon folks guffawing. The Sony Bend people are obviously going for Sons of Anarchy macho-tender, but somehow without the, uh, delicate sense of irony that show managed to convey.

On the other hand, I can get with the game's central mechanic, which is to lure waves of zombies into choke points, kill them and then back off before repeating.

The chokepoints come in various shapes and sizes. There are holes in fences, narrow bridges, gaps between buildings, rooftop ledges and collapsable floor sections. There are also barrels full of explosive stuff and badly stacked piles of wood that can be used as enemy delay-fodder.

All this serves to impede the horde, giving the player an extra few seconds to spray the masses, pick off a few advancing "freakers," turn tail and find another spot to defend.

The zombies move fast. They are also smart enough to figure out how to overcome pretty much any impediment, kinda like ants. They are not smart enough to take cover or choose a different lunch than the one who's obviously capable of defending himself.

It looks like there are different kinds of zombies, and they behave differently depending on time of day or weather, so you can make strategic choices accordingly. The zombies don't much like sunlight, although they will make exceptions if there's a tasty meal outside.

You can progress your weapons and your skills. But they seem to be variations on the theme of shoot, stab repeatedly in the face, or cleave with an bigger weapon. And that's all perfectly fine.

You can also lay extravagantly effective traps, which does sound like fun, assuming there's plenty of variety. I'd honestly be fine with a game that's entirely about laying traps, but I doubt that's what we'll get.

At an E3 event yesterday, I asked a developer how far this game was inspired by I Am Legend, in which a man takes on hordes of zombies who don't like sunlight. He didn't really reply, which is a shame because, yes, there are similarities. This is clearly going to be a game in which you the player ventures into dark and foreboding spaces, with all the attending suspense and fear that entails. How far this narrative trick melds with mowing down mountains of ravenous creatures remains to be seen.

And while I Am Legend's Robert Neville was a largely sympathetic character who was mainly living alone, Deacon St. John is part of a fraternity of bikers, and he doesn't yet strike me as particularly like-able. There's no release date on Days Gone yet.

The next level of puzzles.

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