Days Gone – How To Beat The Old Sawmill Freaker Horde

Days Gone, the new open-world action horror game from Sony’s Bend Studio is now officially available. I gave the game an 8/10 in my review, but now it’s time to take on one of the most intimidating parts of Days Gone: the horde.

The horde at the Old Sawmill is one of the largest you’ll find in the game, with around 500 freakers ready to chomp down on Deacon’s flesh. But we’ve got the low-down on how to get the upper-hand and prevail.

You’ll be forced to fight this horde eventually as a part of a later story mission, but you can take it on earlier for a challenge. Ideally, you should have already unlocked the NERO checkpoint at the Old Sawmill. It’s best to tackle it during daytime if you want the freakers to be gathered in one place. I recommend powerful close-range weapons like the Crowdbreaker shotgun.

Park your bike up here on the path above the railway tunnel at the old sawmill if you want to avoid any potential damage. Make sure to save your game before you take on the horde.

Step one: park your bike somewhere convenient and save. If you die, you won’t want to run all the way back around. The best spot I’ve found is on the other side of the railway tunnel, or parked on top like in the screenshot below if you want to avoid any potential damage to your bike. The tunnel is on the opposite side of the sawmill from the NERO checkpoint, and there’s a path around the outside of the sawmill you can ride your bike around to get here, or you can take the main road. Make sure you’re full on ammo, molotovs, pipe bombs, and as many traps as you can. Have materials to craft more molotovs on the fly, you’re going to need them. If you have proximity traps, set them inside the tunnel entrance. This will come in handy later.

Step two: from the tunnel, sneak around the right side of the main sawmill building where the freakers lie dormant. Ensure that you stay hidden, and then climb on the box in front of the mechanical sliding door and up onto the roof. Climb into the window on the second floor. Be careful, if you make too much noise up here you’ll wake up the horde and you don’t want to do that yet. Gather the supplies in this room if you need them and get ready.

From this area in front of the door, sneak on top of the boxes, climb up to the roof outside the second floor, and sneak inside the upper level of the sawmill building where the freakers lay waiting.

Step three: there’s a stairway next to a red explosive barrel. At the bottom of the stairway, a huge group of freakers are waiting for you. Descend slightly down the stairs, and go ahead and throw a molotov or explosive of your choice into the crowd from the stairs. Run back up the stairs, get in the middle of the room, and aim at the red explosive barrel. When the freakers get close to it, shoot the explosive barrel to take more down and climb out the window on the right side.

On the second floor, descend the stairs just enough so you can throw explosives into the densely-packed, dormant horde. But watch out: as soon as they see you, they’ll start coming and they will be fast.

Step four: climb onto the right side of the roof from the window and make your way down the path and in the direction of the NERO checkpoint. There’s a set of planks you can pull down on your way to slow down the horde that will be aggressively sprinting towards you now. Be careful, they’ll be running in every direction. Head towards the gate to enter the area with the NERO checkpoint. There will be another explosive barrel here, so take it out when there’s a group of freakers on it to buy more time. Run towards the NERO checkpoint and through the gap in the fence to the left. There’s another explosive barrel here you can use, but it can be tricky to manage, so focus on staying alive and healing.

If you exit from the right window of the main building (the opposite side to where you entered), there’s a path down a roof with some planks that you can climb down to avoid taking damage. Run towards the NERO checkpoint.

Step five: running around the right side exterior of the sawmill building, head towards the tunnel entrance. There are multiple areas here where you can bring down planks on top of the freakers heads here, so make sure to use the opportunities to slow them down, group them up and then lob an explosive. There’s a large white propane tank you might see too around the back of the building which will make a massive explosion when fired. Focus on getting to the tunnel entrance, where the swarms will be forced to funnel into a tighter group.

Pull down these stacks of wood on top of the freakers chasing you to slow them down and bunch them up into larger groups you can take out with explosives.

Step six: once you’re in the tunnel, the hordes of freaks will be very dense and closely packed together. If you had proximity traps that you placed earlier, they’ll do a lot of the work for you. If not, now’s the time to unleash everything you have. Throw molotovs, grenades, and pipe bombs. You can get over one hundred freakers dead in one go if you do this part right. Make sure to manage your stamina. Keep running away from the sawmill through the tunnel, and once you get close to the other side most of the horde will turn back, although a few stragglers will follow. The numbers are much more easy to take out with your guns now, so take out the stragglers. You’ll see the rest of the horde turn back and head back to the sawmill.

Once you’ve got the horde grouped up in the tunnel entrance, hit them with all the explosives you have. If you run to the other end of the tunnel, most of the remaining horde will stop chasing you.

Step seven: rinse and repeat until you take out the entire horde. There are more environmental traps you can use, like slamming down the mechanical door in the room the freakers congregate, so feel free to experiment with those if you get near them, but the path I’ve laid out here seems to be the safest bet for taking out this horde, especially early on before you’ve unlocked some of the more powerful explosives.

Congratulations! It might take a few tries, but eventually, you’ll get it if you’re persistent. Stepping over the massive stacks of dead bodies and finding hundreds of freaker bounties is a very satisfying feeling, so pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

Days Gone Review - Spiel Times
Adding 312 swarmer ears to your inventory at once is a sign of a job well done in the Old Sawmill.

If you liked this guide, check out our full review of Days Gone. Check out the links to follow us on social media, and stay tuned to the Spiel Times for everything Days Gone.