"I am the Captain, the eerie guy who invented fish," he belches, while scuttling around and around his throne like a bloated hen.
You pull the shaved coconut from your satchel, aim at his tumescent, clammy, head... and miss - hitting him instead in the abdomen, causing him to double over, and emit an abrupt blow-off which echoes around the marble chamber.
So embarrassed is he of this spasmodic emission, that you are banished from The Kingdom Of Matter, forced to wander The Netherland - an aberrant, twisting, ephemeral continent which exists somewhere on the gusset twixt life and death - accompanied by a rancid, talking, bird of paradise called William Sod, searching for the parts of apocryphal golden washing machine, known only as Swirly Boi-7.
None of that happens in Days Gone, but I couldn't think of a way to hook you into this review by recounting what actually happens, because almost everything in Days Gone is stuff you've seen dozens of times before in film, TV, and many other games.
It's a zombie story. It's an open world game set around mountains and forests. And yes: as you've probably guessed, you do spend an inordinate amount of time looking for bottles and rags and shit that you can craft into Molotov cocktails.
Days Gone offers two elements which stop it being entirely a carbon-copy of so many other games.
The first of these things are hordes; swarms of zombies, which flow almost like water around and over the landscape, and won't stop coming for you until you've hidden from them for long enough, or - later in the game, once you've become a super-skilly combat dude - taken them down.
The hordes tend to be hiding out in caves, or just shuffling about aimlessly. The first time you trigger one, it's utterly terrifying, as they home in on you mindlessly. However, after a few encounters you realise it's easy enough to avoid them, and leave them to their miserable, tediously predictable, existence.
You know: just like on Twitter!!!!!!!!!!
The other of these things is that you navigate the world by motorcycle, and this being the apocalypse your bike is constantly on the verge of breaking down or running out of fuel. The first couple of times this happened, I was annoyed with myself.
Later, however, I enjoyed the exposed knife-edge feeling of looking for "gas". Your bike not only offers a form of transport, but also a quick save point, and - as it gets upgraded - becomes a vital resource for ammo and the like. I soon learned to keep a better eye on the fuel gauge.
Beyond that, Days Gone is achingly generic. Even if you ignore the number of other games it clearly borrows from, everything from its setting to its main character is trying to basically make this Daryl From The Walking Dead: The Game. You even collect zombie ears - like Daryl did in that one episode of The Walking Dead - which work as a form of in-world currency.
Overall it's a mash-up of Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Red Dead Redemption, The Last Of Us and Left 4 Dead, without really understanding that it was what those games did differently which made them all a hit.
This year alone we've already had two open-world apocalypses, in the form of Far Cry: New Dawn and Metro Exodus, and we'll be getting The Last of Us 2 before the year is out. Days Gone tries really hard to be good, but it doesn't exert a lot of effort trying to be different, and may just mark the tipping point at which we take a stand and say "Enough!"
The storyline and characters feel like an effort to build an emotional connection with the player because that's what they did in The Last of Us, rather than because that's what the creators of Days Gone were inspired to do.
We get semi-interactive flashbacks establishing the backstory and the central, motivating, relationship (just wait until you get to the thrilling sequence where you have to gather some lavender - twice!), and ultimately it's revealed as a rescue-the-princess quest, because apparently we're still living in 1995. Oh, and then you end up sort of forming a bond with a young girl, because - again - they had that in The Last Of Us.
While well-acted, with relatively well-written dialogue, and eager to please - there are multiple storylines firing off all over the place, but in a way that's somehow less coherent than other, similar, games - it's all just so been-there/killed-that.
Worse still, some of the missions will see you trekking from one side of the map to the other for a two-line exchange of dialogue, or a no-challenge fetch-quest because your character has suddenly decided he'd like to give a geode - or "thunder-egg" - to somebody as a present.
It's a shame that so much of Days Gone feels recycled and reheated, because - a number of small, irritating, bugs and frame-rate drops aside - it's a gorgeous game, and broadly solid and playable. I've already sunk a lot of hours into it, but at no point have I engaged with it as I did with any of the games listed above.
As with so many open world games, Days Gone is at its best when it's just leaving you alone to explore the world.
Though embarking on quests and side-quests will open up new areas, sometimes it's just fun to ride around looking for "evil" human encampments to eliminate, or finding zombie nests to set fire to; lob a Molotov cocktail into it, and then stand back as a handful of burning zombies come spilling out, gurning and jabbering like the Negan's baseball-bat fodder they are.
When you do engage with the stories, the pacing and progress can be weird; they've chucked everything at it without thinking about structuring it at all.
For example, your character's levelling-up and ability to earn money is second to the level of trust you have with various communities. Increasing your trust rating through side-missions is the gateway to better weapons and bike upgrades, but I ended up having a levelled-up character, with a ton of money in my pocket, long before I had a sufficient level of trust in order to buy the juicier guns.
Something about it all felt a bit... off.
Ultimately, Days Gone's biggest problem isn't any of that; as stated, it's the crushing lack of originality. Zombies, post-apocalyptic settings, and open world map-moppers are all fun, but surely we're reaching saturation point with any one of those things?
Nothing in Days Gone is remotely surprising, and I yearn to be surprised. A post-apocalyptic zombie open world is the default for any video game today, and for all the work that has clearly gone into this, it's bizarre that so little effort was expended when coming up with the setting. It's classic "What do people like?" thinking.
"Oh, well... let's just do more of that then..."
It's a game lacking any personality of its own, with nothing to say, content to be part of the horde. You know: like a zombie!!!!!!!!!!!!
SCORE: 0 Originality Points out of 1 Billion