Remember all of the great slasher films of your yesteryears? Get ready to experience them like never before with Dead By Daylight. Developer Behaviour Interactive has drawn from all of the most horrifying elements of slasher flicks to create this game, and it's a thrill ride from start to finish.
The premise of the game is simple. Four survivors are pitted against one killer in a dark environment. Your goal as the survivors is to start each of the five generators placed around the map. All the while, the killer stalks the area looking for an unfortunate soul to sacrifice to a mysterious being called the Entity. Survivors must rely on stealth and teamwork in order to survive the night.
Dead By Daylight doesn't present a story when you boot it up, but there is optional backstory you can look into if you desire. Each character is given a bit of history about who they are and how they ended up either finding generators or killing people off. Each story is every bit as ridiculous and convoluted as you'd expect, but it's here where the writers of the game go out of their way to make each killer look more mysterious and disturbing (yes, they get backstories too). It doesn't change the way you play the game, but it's a nice touch for those who don't mind reading.
Switching gears to the menu system, there are some things that need to be discussed. While the presentation of it all feeds the ambiance of the game, the way that players navigate could use some serious work. Dead By Daylight has been a PC game for over a year, and this menu is just a painful reminder of that. As opposed to switching through different options, you have to move around a little circle with the analog stick and hover over the mode you have to select. It's cumbersome and I never adjusted to it.
Playing the survivor is how you'll spend the majority of your time in Dead By Daylight. Off the bat, the game clearly communicates that when it comes to the killer, there's almost nothing you can do to stop him. Instead, you and your buddies have to rely on stealth, tools, and quick thinking in order to stay alive.
While playing a survivor (which you customize from several preset characters), you move in a third-person perspective. You can crouch, walk, and run to get around the map. This is where strategy comes into the game. You can crouch to avoid detection by the killer, but you won't move quickly enough to get to your objective. You could run to get around quickly, but you're bound to leave traces that the killer can follow. It's all about being aware of your surroundings, and that helps build high tension in each match. Considering the fact that you have to be active in order to win, it's a nerve-wracking experience.
Thankfully, despite your weaknesses, there are little things you can do to outmaneuver the killer. Survivors can vault through windows much faster than killers as well as drop pallets that can temporarily stun them. This will come in handy once you are detected and chased (get used to that scenario).
Unfortunately, your efforts will often prove fruitless and the killer will strike you. If they hit you once, you become injured. You can move as quickly as normal, but you'll make a lot of groans that the killers can hear. If you get hit again, you'll be put in the Dying State, where all you can do is crawl. You cannot recover from this state without the help of a fellow survivor. If you make it to this stage, you will, nine times out of ten, be picked up by the killer.
It's here where things get both intense and frustrating. You can try to escape the clutches of the killer as they carry you to a hook. The goal of the killer is to pierce you on various hooks throughout the map, where survivors will be eaten by something called the Entity. After survivors are pierced, they have a few chances to escape the hook, but you'll most likely get devoured without a second chance. Other survivors can save you, but the killer will likely camp around you and keep whacking you to guarantee the kill. It's asinine when you watch a buddy get guarded by a killer because you can't do anything to save him.
While you spend most of your time as a survivor, the killer is the role most people will want to play, I imagine. The killer plays much differently, but it's here where you get to twirl your mustache and pick off your victims.
Obviously, the goal is to kill all of the survivors, and the killer is adequately equipped. The killers can spot each generator at all times, so they have an idea of where to look for survivors. However, they can't immediately see any of the people until they start making a lot of noise by running or messing up a generator.
Still, it won't be long before you start spotting survivors and chasing them down. Because the killer moves faster and can't be attacked, you'll likely zero in on your prey and pierce them on a hook. At that point, you can simply stand there and camp your victim until they're taken by the Entity. It's clear that this is a little unbalanced because the only way a survivor escapes is if you deliberately turn your back.
However, the game does take steps to make sure that the killer isn't too overpowered. For starters, you take a first-person perspective as the killer. Because you move much faster, it can be jarring to make sharp turns and follow someone you're trying to slay. On top of that, killers can't travel through pallets (which the survivors can vault over), and must instead destroy them to get through
You also have options for your style of play when being the killer. There are six different killers to choose from, and each one of them has their own special ability to help them capture victims. One can become invisible, another can send out shockwaves, and the one you see on the box art can set traps to stun survivors. It's a nice element of customization that keeps each game feeling fresh and unique.
While there are no big problems with the online in Dead By Daylight, there are some things you should know. The first is that you cannot play the game if you don't have an online connection. It won't even allow you to get to the menu. If you're not willing to get Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, don't bother with this release.
The other thing worth noting is how the lobby system works. You can choose whether you want to be the survivor or killer, but that changes how quickly you find other people. The killers are the ones who create the lobbies, and the survivors join them. Because of the popularity of the killer, you will likely be waiting several minutes until you find the right amount of players if you don't want to be a survivor (the match won't start until you have four survivors).
Also, at the time of this review, there is a bug with survivors finding lobbies to join. Behaviour has released a workaround and plans to fix this bug in the near future, and the game can still be played, so it's not a huge deal.
graphics and audio
Unfortunately, Dead By Daylight's age shows a bit with this release on Xbox One. While the graphics certainly get the job done, and the characters look much more natural than in Friday the 13th, nothing stands out in particular. Each killer looks appropriately horrifying (and you can tell the amount of work that went into them), and each map is every bit as dark and haunting as it needs to be. However, odds are that you won't remember any of these areas. As I stated before, it's the killers that got the most attention in the graphics department.
The big problem with the graphics is that some of the motions in the game are plagued with awkward animations. When survivors are swallowed by the Entity, it looks more strange than it does haunting. There are also some motions from the killer's perspective that never looked quite right.
In regards to audio, that's where this game truly shines. The audio is much more than just an addition to the presentation; it's a gameplay mechanic. As Survivors, you can hear when your buddies get taken out or when the killer is nearby (as indicated by a pounding heartbeat). Subtle shrieks will sound throughout the match, always making you look over your shoulder.
Furthermore, each killer makes different sounds that are unique to it. This is not only a testament of polish in the game, but it serves as an indicator to the survivors as to who is hunting them. The audio forces you to pay attention, and it feels every bit like a slasher film as a result. No doubt, this is a game you want to play with headphones in.
|+ Keeps you on your toes||– Weird animations|
|+ Expert sound design||– Slightly unbalanced|
|+ Perfectly horrifying||– Clunky menu|
|+ Only $30|