From the moment eyes hit the Days Gone booth at PAX South, there was this deep seeded sense of excitement to finally getting your hands on the long-gestating horror game. There were two demos available on the show floor and I am heartbroken to have only been able to play one of them, as the line was very frequently capped. I did see the other demo in action very briefly and as someone explained to me it was focused solely on showing the player how overwhelming the horde can be and how to deal with the relentless masses chasing after the player. The demo I got my hands on, however, was designed to get the play acquainted with the stealth aspects of the game, as well as introduce an exciting enemy. The stealth and crafting aspects feel straight out of the Last of Us, which is good. The mechanics worked wonderfully in the Last of Us and seem to be just as up to snuff in Days Gone. In fact the only thing that bugged me was that the main character seemed to put his weapon away a lot. I like to keep characters constantly armed and it felt slightly annoying to have to keep pulling out the baseball bat as I crept along trying to avoid enemies. Moving back to the demo, it focused on the protagonist Deacon and a companion trying to get a bike part from the mechanic station in the distance that has enemies all over it. As the player moves around the area, it is immediately apparent that the enemies actually don’t notice the player until they royally screw up. This made the game felt very tense the whole time. Just knowing that they would all notice me at some point and then I would have a ton of enemies on me was enough to pysche me out, but it was still very easy to take out enemies one by one with stealth. Whether it was because it was a demo or because the infected are meant to behave in a more animalistic way is yet to be determined. If the infected are designed to be more primal and territorial that would be a vastly different infected than most games offer. As the mechanic shop is approached by the player, eyes are drawn to the rooftops as a new infected is met for the first time in the demo. The infected, dubbed ‘Newts’ by the developer. They are indeed, children. The highly territorial and opportunistic hunters will not attack the player unless one of two parameters happen. The player gets too close to them or the player is in danger of bleeding out, that sort of behavior spurs them to attack, as any basic animal would. Newts also sit and stare at the player and their eyes follow them around as they move. Which is creepy all on its own! During my time with the demo I had actually forgotten they were on top of the building and as I got up there they swarmed for an attack. As I stomped on the first one’s head, I had a brief moment of “Did I just kill a kid?” While I got over it pretty quickly I like that Days Gone is pushing the envelope when it comes to kids as enemies in games. It is very tiring to see them as purely jump scare ghost/demons in games. While I understand other studios didn’t want the negative press that could come with having kids as fight-able enemies in their game (which is why Left 4 Dead had no kids infected), it is nice to see that depth of story integrated to the world. Speaking of the story; there are some messed-up humans that players will have to deal with. Upon getting the needed bike part, the player’s walkie talkie explodes in a cacophony of noise, indicating your companion is in danger. Deacon hauls ass towards where he is being attacked by these humans with designs burnt all over their skin. They are holding the companion down while using a blow torch to his arms melting away tattoos, skin, and tendons. They seem to be trying to “cleanse the world” based off of some of what they were saying. At that point, I tried switching to guns and dispatched the humans with relative ease. Then the cutscene triggered and the horde came rushing in as Deacon and his companion tried to escape on their bike. That is unfortunately where the demo ended. It did, however, accomplish what a demo is supposed to do. It made me so excited to get my hands on the full game in April. So much so that I did something I never do. I went and preordered the Collector’s Edition of the game. Look for a full review of the game right here on Gaming Access Weekly when it releases in late April.