The survival horror genre of games are always tense affairs, and these are made even more so by adding some multiplayer elements. Dead by Daylight was released by Behaviour Interactive and Starbreeze Studios a year ago on PC with the game making a console debut this past week in the Dead by Daylight Special Edition. It is a multiplayer horror game pitting a killer versus four survivors, and hands out delightful terror in large doses.
Developed by: Behaviour Interactive
Published by: Starbreeze Studios
Release date: June 20th,2017 North American ; June 23rd, 2017 Europe
Platforms: PS4, Xbox1 (Reviewed on PS4)
Price at time of review: 29.99 USD
Dead by Daylight Special Edition Features
- Survive Together… Or Not – Survivors can either cooperate with the others or be selfish.
- Where Am I? – Each level is procedurally generated, so you’ll never know what to expect.
- A Feast for Killers – Dead by Daylight draws from all corners of the horror world. As a Killer you can play as anything from a powerful Slasher to terrifying paranormal entities.
Story and Setting
Each murderer has a background and the locations where they went on their rampage is a map where players partake in matches. There are six locales where the matches can take place in:
- Léry’s Memorial Institute
- Blackwater Swamp
- Crotus Penn Asylum
- Autohaven Wreckers
- Coldwind Farm
- Macmillian Estate
Each of these locales can have numerous sub maps in it. For example, the Macmillian Estate has Shelter Woods, Suffocation Pit, Coal Tower, and Ironworks of Misery. Each survivor and killer has a backstory that you can read to learn more about them and how each character’s special perks tie back to their story. It’s a nice touch that adds some flavor and lets your imagination take over.
While the story is fairly thin as you’re simply dropped into the frenetic gameplay, the setting is strong part of this section. The maps are moody, obscure and designed to choke, literally and figuratively. They are well laid out and provide plenty of nooks and crannies for the killers and survivors to use to their advantage. No spot is safe and the action stays moving.
The killers themselves are the stuff of nightmare fuel and take some inspiration from popular lore. Just looking at their faces in some instances is enough to quiver and once they get moving on the hunt, the game’s fear factor ramps up to 11. It’s completely terrifying and horror enthusiasts will love it. If you’re not a horror fan, proceed with extreme caution.
Once you start the game for your first time you won’t have any perks or items to use so you’ll just be initially customizing your look to your desired tastes and jumping into a lobby. As a survivor your goal is to repair five generators (the amount of generators that are spawned are +1 of the amount of survivors in the game), then flip the switch to open the doors to escape from the map. Fixing a generator is done by getting close to it and holding down R1 until the skill check comes up. You will have a limited time to hit L1; failing to hit L1 at the right time causes a loud bang from the generator which will grab the attention of the killer in which case, a quick escape is crucial. This straightforward objective gives the game a quick sense of familiarity and allows you to get in and start scheming right away.
If you do have to flee, running leaves a trail for the killer making it important to not abuse the running, leaving your mark all over the map. You can walk, crouch, and vault over windows and pellets to make your getaway. When the killer is near, you will hear an unsettling, thumping heartbeat and tense music, and both will increase in intensity with closer proximity to the killer. You can also see a red light emanating from the killer’s eyes which shows his approximate field of view. This is the meat of the intensity of the game, and making a harrowing escape is thrilling, and keeps you hooked for the rush.
There are treasure chests scattered in the area which will give you goodies that will help you in your objectives such as medkits, toolboxes and flashlights, at the cost of potentially giving away your location to the killer so this is another balanced mechanic that players will have to gauge risk vs reward. You can’t just loot indiscriminately. Players can leave the map by exiting through the hatch which will automatically unlock when you are the last survivor and you already have repaired at least two generators.
As a killer, your goal is to injure and sacrifice as many survivors as you can. Plain and simple. Each killer has certain perks which allows them to play differently as they hunt down the survivors. As a killer you want to prioritize your target in order to tilt the match in your favor; the saying “kill the carrier” never fails. When you are in the role of the hunter taking to high ground helps you find your prey easier. I found that staying near a densely filled generator area worked as the survivors had to come to me, thus saving time and frustration trying to hunt these players down. Killers attack with R2 and use their special power with L2. The various survivors and killers will have you trying out and having fun with lots of different combinations. Kill or be killed and have a blast mixing and matching while you do so. It’s a simple formula but a great one at that.
Audio and Visual
Every map you’ll play in features a muted and dreary look to it. Each map has its own distinct flair like Rotten Fields in the Coldwind Farm locale, which contains cornstalks and farm equipment; it really drives the point that you’re in a horror game. I feel that there is always room for improvement in visuals but in this case, the game focuses more on audio and for good reason. Whether you’re playing as a killer or a survivor, taking time to sit back and really focus on audio cues will help you survive or hunt better. Rustling grass and cornstalks, player grunts, moans, breathing, and whimpers helps killers find their prey. Natural avians will be startled if you run past them as a survivor potentially alerting the killer to your general area. The crows will even hover over survivors if they become idle for too long and can become scavenger-esque if a survivor is bleeding out too often. Thanks crows. On the flip side, an increasing heartbeat and quickening music can be used as a sensor to detect the Killer. It is in your best interest to keep your game volume on, not only because the audio design is great but because your vision is limited and need every bit of information you can to survive.