Title: Dead by Daylight
Available On: PC
Developer: Behaviour Digital Inc.
Publisher: Starbreeze Studios
Official Site: https://www.deadbydaylight.com/
Release Date: 24 May 2016
Where To Buy: Steam
Dead by Daylight has arrived on the scene during the post E3 slump to the sound of a huge applause from the Steam Community. Clearly, there is a market for this style of game that isn’t being tapped into and quite honestly, there just are not enough decent survival horror games out there.
To call Dead by Daylight niche is like saying that I have a beard, it’s a fact. Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer only, survival horror experience that people often tell me is a combination that just doesn’t work.
Dead by Daylight by definition is a 4 vs 1 horror game where one player takes on the role of the Killer; whilst the other four players play as Survivors.
The aim for the survivors is to work together to avoid being caught and killed by the maniac. In order for the survivors to escape a gruesome death, they need to repair enough generators scattered across the map, power up the gates and run like hell.
The only problem is that the killer knows where the generators are, whereas the survivors do not. This makes for some great cat and mouse chases and has the potential for real psychological battles trying to anticipate how other players will act in any given situation.
The last title that I played that tried the 4 vs 1 survival horror concept was a game called “Damned” (which I did a review for by the way, check out the review) which was held back by the Early Access death cycle that I will leave as a topic for another time. Dead by Daylight however, featured as a Beta on Steam and then launched straight into a full release.
Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark are but a couple of glaring examples of how having a teammate with you could detract from the so called survival horror experience, but then again, Resident Evil hasn’t really been using the #survivalhorror brand since the last exclusively single player title (Resident Evil 4) and the last Alone in the Dark game was dreadful.
Dead by Daylight simply wouldn’t work as a single player experience, and believe me when I say I’ve tried. The game offers two fairly different experiences with the first being a helpless survivor where having other useless teammates running away from the killer makes the gameplay feel so much more authentic and adds to the experience somewhat.
The other experience you can hope to have is being the cold blooded killer, whose sole purpose is to track down those meddling kids and stick them on hooks, sacrificing them to Cthulhu or some sort of demonic entity that wants the survivors dead.
Dead by Daylight is basically the multiplayer survival horror game I wanted a few years ago with Damned, which sadly disappointed, but this time around we have an entity (excuse the pun) with an active player base, which is the lifeblood of the multiplayer genre.
The sad fact remains that despite being a fun title, it just lacks a sense of immersion since the online community has been and continues to exploit certain bugs and glitches to gain an advantage.
One big disadvantage to the killer is windows. Certain map layouts are littered with windows that the killer simply cannot stop the survivor jumping, though, and simply has to set traps and hope they chase them into one, or walk away and stalk someone else hoping that the survivor eventually leaves the safe haven of the windows.
I have to note however that this was recently addressed in the latest patch, which has reduced the number of windows on any given stage which incidentally, makes it more difficult for the survivors. For me, it is a welcome notion that the developers are listening to the player base.
Perks and item load outs don’t really evolve the gameplay, I actually feel that they detract from it. The first few days where everyone was on an even level with no perks was amazing, with killers having to hunt the survivors using their wits and survivors desperately trying to escape using their stealth and timing.
With time comes reward, and unfortunately, the rewards make the game less enjoyable. There are add-ons that allow the killer to see survivors within a certain distance, which makes hiding impossible for survivors, perks, and add-ons that allow the killer to down a survivor with a single hit and even some that allow the killer to kill a downed survivor with their own hands.
The other glaring issue is that there is an emphasis on blood points, which are gained by performing certain actions in the game, such as powering up generators or sabotaging traps or sacrificial hooks. These points are then used to level up characters, to gain items, add-ons, and perks.
Leveling up can be a real grind, since it costs a lot of blood points to gain a level, and only 1 perk will ever appear in your blood web per level, and it is somewhat of a lottery to get the perks you may want to use, such as No-one Escapes Death, one of the most commonly used killer perks.
Early on in Dead by Daylight, you might spend 10,000 – 15,000 blood points per level, but as you grind ever closer to level 50, level ups can cost anything up 80,000 blood points, which essentially means 4 perfect games (the most unlikely of situations).
Keep in mind that you can only acquire blood points from certain actions, and as a survivor, Altruism is the hardest thing to get blood points from. Yes, you get a decent haul of points for each altruistic task you complete, but most of the time, you either don’t get an opportunity to perform these tasks, or you complete them only to be murdered for saving your teammate.
Rescuing others from a grizzly death is the best way to get the points, but it’s also the riskiest. By doing so, you put at risk your 5000 survival bonus because 99% of the time, killers will camp the dying survivor, banking on the fact that you want to save them, killing you in the process or you simply trading places. And don’t get me started on the ungrateful ones that I save and then they leave ME to die on the hook, without even attempting to return the favor…
Call me cynical but I actually preferred the game without perks since the odds were already in favor of a killer who knows how to read people. It was a real thrill when you hunted down the fleeing survivors and stuck them on hooks like pigs.
Likewise, it was a really thrilling experience when I escaped the clutches of the masked killer by eluding his machete by sliding over a fallen pallet and hiding in the long grass or jumping into a locker with that heartbeat slowly fading away as the killer leaves disgruntled.
That sort of experience only comes around once in a few hundred matches as killers who are sick of survivors abusing glitches will quit the match, de-ranking all the players in the game. Survivors who find themselves in a laggy, unplayable match or in a round where the killer is hacking; will receive penalties for leaving a match which is actually worse than enduring a bad game.
Bottom line; do I like Dead by Daylight? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will it still be enjoyable after more post development patches? Probably, but I still feel that this game needs something to really balance gameplay more. There is very little incentive in being a hero since it will more than likely result in your demise.
For me, it is a mixed bag, I love the concept, but the way to win is sadly dictated by the perk meta rather than skill and wit alone. A lack of variety may turn people off, seeing as there is only 1 game mode currently, but it’s a real throwback to 80’s slasher flicks, so it has that going for it.
My recommendation is for there to be a stamina bar for fast actions such as jumping through windows, and to punish an idle killer for camping by reducing their movement speed or deducting points. A mode with no perks or random perks assigned would be a welcome addition, rather than the case where the meta dictates every character builds. I’m playing a survival horror game, not Hearthstone for goodness sake.
- Gameplay: Fun for a while, but lacks variety.
- Graphics: Serviceable, but it looks a bit dated (perhaps intentional?).
- Sound: Great soundtrack that makes the game worth it.
- Presentation: 80’s style slasher movie? I’m down with that.
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- Great soundtrack
- Fun being a killer
- Sense of achievement if you survive the night
- Survive with friends & Kill your friend's mode is worth the price of admission
- Bugs galore that are exploited by the player base
- Punishment system for leaving unplayable matches
- Glaring balancing issues (perks)
- Poor matchmaking