Title: Dead by Daylight
Format: PC exclusive
Release Date: 14th June, 2016
Publisher: Behaviour Interactive
Review by Khaine
Seeing new and unique games popping up on Steam always gives me a happy, fuzzy feeling and this is one of those games. Dead by Daylight is a 5 player horror game, with 4 people playing the survivors, and the last person playing the killer. It’s a game that requires an internet connection, so do bear that in mind if you intend to purchase it, and it’s also multiplayer only. The premise of the game is simple, the four survivors have to start up generators in the map (usually 5 in total), then open the gate and get out. The killer has to kill the survivors, which sounds like it should be fairly easy, but actually isn’t because you have to “down” them by beating them with whatever weapon you have, stick them on a hook and hope they don’t get rescued by their friends before being sacrificed to the great sky spider… thing.
The survivors have a few tools at their disposal. They can loot toolboxes to sabotage hooks, medkits to heal themselves and their friends, a flashlight to blind the killer (which can force him to drop anyone being carried) and a map to highlight generators and exits for a short period of time. They can also “wiggle” while being carried by the killer in order to try and escape, and they can attempt to free themselves from the hook. Trying that costs life, and if your life gets too low, then the sky spider thing will most certainly eat you. So you have to decide if it’s worth trying to escape or just waiting for your friends to get you. Also, if you’re the last survivor left and 2 generators have been activated, there’s an alternate escape in the trapdoor.
In total, there are four survivors, two female and two male. They don’t have any special abilities when you start, but you can gain “perks” by playing the game and leveling up, and the perk system is semi-randomized for every single player What this means is each survivor has their own, unique perks, plus random ones that generate. You generally do not see the same load-out between the same survivors. Now, how about the killer? Well there are 3 different types of killer and each one has their own, unique ability. The Wraith can go invisible, which stops the survivors from seeing you and it also suppresses the “heartbeat” noise they get when you’re nearby. However, you can’t attack while invisible and there’s an audible clue whenever the Wraith cloaks and de-cloaks.
After that, you have two fairly standard killers from the horror genre. The Hillbilly has a chainsaw, which can instantly put down a survivor if you manage to hit with it. He also carries a hammer as a standard weapon. Finally there is the Trapper, who uses an axe as a standard weapon and carries bear traps to place across the map and catch any survivors stupid enough to wander into them. He can also be caught in his own traps though, so you have to be careful playing this killer. Finally, like the survivors, the killers have their own perk system to make them more efficient at killing. I don’t want to spoil the surprise by listing perks for either side, but I’m sure you can find them online if you really want to be a spoil sport!
With the overview of the game and it’s mechanics out of the way, what do I think about it? Holy fuck, this game is SO FUN! As a survivor, you are genuinely on edge all the time. The generators make a lot of noise while you’re fixing them, you have to do skill checks which makes them explode if you fail and you’re always looking for good places to hide. Either a nice, tall piece of grass or a locker to hide in just in-case the killer spots you. Hearing the heartbeat is terrifying and the red light shining on your back to show the killer has seen you is a total pants-crapping moment. Running doesn’t help much, since you leave tracks behind for the killer to follow, but it’s also your only option. Run, dodge, weave, duck and then start walking to hide when you get far enough away.
The survivors have a third person view to keep an eye out for the killer, while the killer has a first person view. That does make it harder to spot the survivors, but the rush of “must kill the buggers!” you feel when you see “survivor found” pop up on your screen is just amazing. You don’t get to hide, but you do need to be aware of survivors throwing stuff in your way, hopping through windows and just generally being a nuisance. No matter which side your playing on, tactics are the way to go. As the killer, you need to try and dodge around things to get to the survivors so they don’t slow you down as much, while you need to know when to run and hide as the survivor.
All in all, it’s an adrenaline-fueled match to survive or die that I feel is going to eat up a LOT of my time. I only have three criticisms about the game. One is the “loading bug” where the game doesn’t seem to do anything and you have to restart it. The second is that I’d like to see more maps, but I believe these are being added and finally I wish that private games gave you XP towards perks, even if it were at a much reduced rate (say half XP or one quarter). Despite these criticisms, I highly recommend it if horror games are your thing, especially semi co-op ones!