Dead by Daylight ReviewPrice:
Behaviour Digital Inc
Have you ever watched a slasher film and clutched your head in despair when the survivors did something monumentally stupid? Have you cried out in frustration as they decide to split up, leaving themselves isolated and vulnerable? Have you squeezed the blood out of your fists when one of them is confronted by the killer, drops the weapon they are carrying and runs off in a blind panic. Have you ground your teeth into dust as they ran into an obvious dead end, or hid in a location that left them no possible route of escape? Have you ever thought to yourself 'if I was in that situation, I would never do anything that idiotic?
Well, here’s your chance to prove it.
Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer game dedicated to recreating the gory terror of films like Hallowe’en, Friday the 13th, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Four players assume the role of teenage survivors, whose only objective is to escape a large, object strewn map such as the agricultural sprawl of Coldwood Farm. One additional player dons the bloodstained garments of the killer, and is tasked with slaughtering the plucky teens before they can make good their escape.
It’s a superb idea for a game, and initially, Dead by Daylight does a good job of executing it. After a while, however, it becomes apparent that the game makes a few boneheaded decisions of its own.
In play, Dead by Daylight is strongly reminiscent of Turtle Rock’s Evolve, only here the roles are reversed - one player acts as hunter, while the other four are being hunted. Of the two, survivor is the easier role to play, if only because the game fully anticipates your bloody, painful death. As I already mentioned, as a Survivor you’re expected to escape from the area. But it isn’t a straightforward sprint to the exit. First, you must fix a number of generators dotted around the map, in order to activate the perimeter gates. Then you need to locate the exit itself, which is no mean feat in the misty nights that envelop Dead by Daylight’s maps.
At first, Dead by Daylight excels is in making you feel like a hapless survivor in a slasher movie. All the maps are procedurally generated, so each time you play the layout is entirely new. Crows perch on surfaces around the map, startling if you pass too close to them, altering the killer. Fixing generators also creates noise, and every so often performing said repairs will trigger a “skill check”. Should you fail this by pressing the appropriate button at the wrong time, it will cause a generator to pop and flash, and the killer will swoop down on your position like a psychotic buzzard.
At this point, if the survivors are clumped together (as they usually are near the start of a match) they will scatter. You can’t fight the killer, so your only hope is to try to evade him by weaving through obstacles, vaulting over barriers and pushing objects into the killer’s path. Rather than play the tutorial, I decided to go into the game blind. The result was genuinely terrifying, as, not fully understanding the game’s rules, I had to rely entirely on my own wits and instincts. I didn’t escape, but I did manage to be the last survivor standing, and playing cat and mouse with the killer was great fun, albeit ultimately futile.