The game is played from a third-person perspective with the playing taking on the persona of Deacon St John. Deacon is on a mission to find his wife, last seen being evacuated to a camp later overrun by Freakers. However, Deacon has heard a rumour that his wife’s political influence might have been enough to have her bounced on to an even more secure location – and it is his hope that this is what has happened and that her can find her again soon.
The open world game gives you plenty of scope for exploration and you can use all sorts of things to defend yourself: from melee weapons, firearms for long shots and even improvised weapons when you are in a bind. Or, if the pacifist route is your favourite, you can also use stealth to dodge Freakers, and other people. Hostile uninfected humans include cultists called Rippers, and there are various militia and government bodies to assess for friendliness.
Deacon’s best form of travel is a motorbike, and it is so much more than just his mode of transportation. The vehicle holds much of your inventory, and also allows for ‘fast travel’ without which the game slows to a very sluggish pace indeed!
The game has a dynamic day-night system which is highly important to your progress and success, as the Freakers are slow and weak by day, but scarily fast and strong at night – not creatures you want to meet down a dark alley, low on both fuel and ammo!
As you play along the overarching story-line, there are plenty of missions and side quests to keep you occupied. Finishing missions completes some story lines and opens up other avenues of exploration. Sometimes these story-lines split up on themselves, so you can choose from more than one at a time – ideal if you need to wait for the right upgrade or resource in one thread as you can complete another in the meantime.
Combat moves feel satisfying and they come with skill trees that helps Deacon in a number of ways, from Deacon’s aim, to fighting melee battles with improvised weapons – these are particularly gory and satisfying.
The graphics are great too: Oregon has some truly beautiful scenery with rolling mountains, lush forests and detailed little towns, all of which respond to the weather changes which can jump from beautifully sunny warm days to full-on snow storms – so keep an eye on the clouds!