To Sony’s credit, there were some really great trailers and demos revealed at the PlayStation E3 presser earlier this week, but none captured my attention as well as Days Gone did–and not only because of the hanging zombies at the presser. Bend Studio‘s latest baby looked like an open-world The Last of Us, making this one of my most anticipated games. We checked out the game again behind closed doors when the show floor finally opened up, so read on for a more in-depth understanding of this zombie apocalypse title.

As of right now, we don’t know much about the zombies other than they’re called Freakers and the world has been ravaged by this infection. The contagion isn’t just exclusively a human problem, either; bears, wolves, and other wildlife can suffer the same fate, as you’ll see at the end of the demo (watch below). We also know that our protagonist, Deacon, is trying to find himself in this world that has been utterly devastated over the past two years. He appears to have been a biker in his past life, but we don’t know much more than that. I’m hoping it turns out to be a bit like Sons of Anarchy as well.

Now that we cleared that up, let’s get to the juicy part. In our hands-off demo, the team brought us back to the same mission that was shown off at the presser, but this time with some added variables. Our trail this time around was covered in bright white snow, which not only affects your bike traction, but also changes the type of infected enemies you’ll be seeing. The Freakers that were ever-so-prominent in the previous demo were now gone–they don’t like the cold, apparently. So the massive herd of zombies originally used to fend off the humans that had your friend locked down were no longer available. Deacon now had to use the gritty combat system to make his way through the camp, going from cover to cover and taking guys out using gunfire. And it’s the combat that’s very reminiscent of the brutality seen in The Last of Us; it even appears like resources and traps will be important.

The world itself is dark and devoid of hope, and according to the developers, everything is trying to kill you. What blew me away was that even though I saw the same demo twice, if I didn’t know any better I would have sworn they were two different missions. It’s this variety along with the post-apocalyptic world  that makes this game so interesting. Depending on the time of day, weather, and route you choose to take, you will have completely different experiences.

There were some technical issues that reared their ugly head, but I have confidence they’ll figure the small bugs out. It wasn’t anything game breaking, of course; there were just a few animations that weren’t as crisp. But the bottom line is that a game that everyone thought would just be another zombie horde killing simulator were completely wrong, including myself. This title has all the potential in the world. We have yet to even get a look at the RPG elements (probably allowing you to increase Deacon’s survival skills) that the developers noted would eventually be discussed.

Days Gone was my biggest surprise of E3, but what was yours? What did you think about this demo? Do you think this could become another A+ PlayStation exclusive? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image: Sony