Dead By Daylight: Review

dead by daylight, horror games 2017, survival horror games 2017
Survival is unlikely in this imaginative horror release.

Both an action and survival horror game, Dead by Daylight concerns two groups of people: the Killers and Survivors. Plunged into so-called Realms – in short, playable maps that exist within the world of the Entity – an ungodly, monstrous being, you’re essentially playing a game of cat and mouse, in which the Killer is unquestionably the deformed, bloodthirsty cat and the survivors are but feeble mice. 

Dead by Daylight is an asymmetric multiplayer whereby the perspective of the Killer is in first person, intent solely on satisfying its bloodlust. As for the Survivors, the perspective is in third person, intent on evasion and escape. Whilst this feature enables them to notice Killers from all angles, the almost ironically dubbed Survivors are still at a considerably unfair advantage, thanks to an inadequate supply of resources. Dead by Daylight is a game whereby the balance is heavily skewed in favour of The Killer.

Your task as the Survivor is simple: Survive and escape. Trapped in one of several secluded Realms in the dead of night, you must successfully evade one killer and you have two ways to do so. Firstly, you can attempt to repair generators across the map in order to open large metal doors located around the arenas, and secondly by escaping through a trap door.

With objects, foliage, lockers, darkness enabling you to hide from the Killer and not much else, only the hardened gamer should attempt to play as The Survivor. The challenge, however is undeniably exciting. The objective of the Killer is, you guessed it, to kill. Although it isn’t that plain and simple. You can initially only kill your victim by attaching them to a sacrificial meat hook and awaiting the wrath of The Entity to snatch them with its claws and take its victim into the sky. However, there is also single-use unlockable item known as a “Mori”, enabling you to instantaneously slaughter your victim with a weapon.

Each Realm is a claustrophobic nightmare, a site of a violent tragedy haunted by one serial killer including: Haddonfield (also the setting for the Halloween franchise), The MacMillan Estate, Autohaven Wreckers, Coldwind Farm, Crotus Prenn Asylum, Backwater Swamp,Léry’s Memorial Institute, and The Red Forest.

Overall, whilst interesting and packed with features, the maps don’t feel quite as big as they should, and those with a passion for exploration might feel somewhat let down.

As far as the personalities and characteristics of each Survivor and Killer are concerned, they’re a fairly clichéd bunch it must be said, but then aren’t clichés one of the classic features of the slasher genre?

There are 10 playable Survivors ranging from the geeky Dwight Fairfield, to the no-nonsense Vietnam veteran William Overbeck, each boasting unique abilities. The Killers are unquestionably more fascinating than the Survivors, as per usual, so I’ll give a slightly more detailed description of each of the former. 

Each Killer is a hideously deformed ghoul and genuinely quite scary. The meat-cleaver wielding monster known as The Trapper sports a creepy mask with a disturbing grin strewn across the middle. One of the perks of The Trapper is that it specialises in laying bear traps which can be fatal for unwitting Survivors.


The Trapper, unmasked.

There is the chilling, bandage-clad The Nurse, who carries a bone-saw and possesses a unique power called “The Blink”, enabling it to teleport in straight lines, through walls, Survivors and other objects.

The Nurse. Probably won’t give you anaesthetics before sawing into you. 

Probably the most visually fearsome of all, The Doctor is an unsightly monster who resembles an aggressive, reanimated corpse donning an enormous head brace. With its Monitor & Abuse perk, The Doctor’s terror radius is increased as it chases its victims. It also wields a dreadful large spike – with which it is surely capable of performing things we’d rather not know about.

The Doctor will see you now.

The Hillbilly, (need I say more?), is a disfigured fiend resembling something from The Hills Have Eyes who carries a hammer and a large chainsaw, ripping through anybody in its path. The Hillbilly is resilient to pain. In short, you really don’t want to face The Hillbilly if you’re playing as a survivor.

The Hillbilly: A face only a mother could love – if she were blind.

Perhaps most recognisable of all, Michael Myers, straight from the Halloween franchise AKA The Shape dons the iconic petrifying, emotionless white mask as he obsessively stalks his victims. One of his perks is that once he captures and maims or sacrifices a Survivor, the remaining Survivors are punished and their ability to sabotage, repair or recover is slowed down.

Michael Myers AKA The Shape. “What do you mean the last 8 Halloween films were garbage?”

Donning the head of a hare, The Huntress isn’t exactly one of the most petrifying killers of the game, but it does wield a broad axe and an intense wolf-like lust for killing, so much so that it loses connection with The Entity and is thereby completely unpredictable.

The Huntress. Easter Egg hunts are getting ridiculous nowadays.

The Wraith’s main weapon is a skull, attached to a spine with a set of enormous vampiric teeth on the front. It is great in size and wears a bizarre mask. It possesses the enviable ability to become invisible.

The Wraith, posing his good looks for the camera.

Finally, The profoundly decomposed The Hag. It has no weapon, but uses a hideously deformed hand to break pallets. Like The Trapper, it relies heavily on using traps, which in this case are mud drawings on the ground in shapes of triangles. It can use up 10 in any game. A fake version of The Hag will leap from the trap as a Survivor nears, alerting the real Hag and enabling it to immediately teleport. 

The Hag. The Statue of Liberty is in a considerable state of disrepair these days.

 Dead by Daylight serves as a faithful video-game version homage to the low-budget slasher genre, and as such its visuals are both a blessing and a curse. Comparable to the cinematography of beloved 1970’s video nasties such as Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it looks and feels murky, gloomy and colourless. It signifies the lack of hope for the survivors, which, given the exceptionally low chances of escaping the nightmares of each Realm, is rather fitting.

Another benefit of this aspect is that it enhances the tenseness of the atmosphere and injects an extra dose of adrenaline into each jump-out-of-your-seat scare. On the other hand, if you’re the type of gamer who insists on playing for hours on end till your eyes are bloodshot, the monotonous visuals can become tiring.

To summarise, if you’re a sucker for all things gruesome and gory and not hugely preoccupied with engaging, riveting storylines, Dead By Daylight is the game for you. If you’re looking for an action-adventure epic, however, you probably won’t find a considerable amount of gratification in this game. Retailing at $19,99 on Steam, It’s a fair price for what you get.

Pros:

- A unique array of interesting characters with distinctive abilities
- Genuinely scary
- Affordable
- Cinematic
- Several exciting maps

Cons:

- Many of the Killers are too similar
- The Realms can feel too small
- The graphics aren’t awe-inspiring
- The visuals can be monotonous
- Not much of a storyline

Verdict: 7/10

Dead by Daylight was released in June 2016 for Microsoft Windows and June 2017 for Xbox One and Playstation 4. 

James hails from Manchester, UK: the rainy north of England, where writing and indeed gaming are some of the few available pastimes. He moved to Barcelona in 2014 where he teaches English.
Gamer Since: 1991
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Batman: Arkham Asylum, Grand Theft Auto V,
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