Dead By Daylight (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])
Released: June 20, 2017 (Consoles), June 14, 2016 (PC)
MSRP: $29.99 (console), $19.99 (PC)
Dead By Daylight could be described as a reverse Evolve, as this is a game where a selection of overpowered monsters hunt humans while they try to turn on generators, allowing them to escape. On paper, it sounds like a great time, but in execution, it is mostly dreadful.
First off, the survivors have no offense against the monsters whatsoever. As a survivor, you’re expected to hide in tall grass/trees/corn or juke whoever is playing as the killer while simultaneously turning on loud generators. These generators take seemingly minutes to turn on, which consists of holding the right bumper while also pressing the left bumper for random timed quick-time events; failing to do so will cause a loud pop that alerts the killer to your location. Aside from that, the only other things survivors can do is heal each other, hide in randomly placed and oddly empty closets, and toss down debris while running from the killer.
Unlike survivors that play with a third-person camera, the killer is played in first-person, thus allowing survivors to have a chance at juking. Each killer has their own special ability like being able to teleport, turn invisible, and so on; not that they need them because just running around and attacking using gets the job done considering survivors take two hits to down. Once a survivor is downed, killers must carry their squirming bodies to conveniently placed meathooks around the map and impale them there where they will struggle for a bit before some kind of hellish monstrosity reaches down from the sky and carries them off.
In my experience, survivors rarely escape due to just how overpowered the killers feel. While I understand that Dead By Daylight is heavily influenced by horror movies, it doesn’t make for much of a compelling game to have the cards stacked against survivors in the same way as in said films. On top of that, those playing as a killer seem to earn credits to spend far faster than survivors, even if they escape.
In-game credits can be used to unlock various items for characters that give them a better chance at surviving or killing; as if the killers need any help. There is also a leveling and prestige system in place, as well as seasons for ranks, though I’m not quite sure why anyone would care about those things; the game sure doesn’t give you a reason to, or at least one it tells you about.
The game doesn’t give you much advice or guidance at all. There is no training or tutorial aside from a bunch of text on-screen that must be manually flipped through and read if you hope to understand how to play at all. I could understand the developers forgoing a more engaging tutorial if this were a tried-and-true formula such as a platformer, but it isn’t. I made the mistake of just jumping into a game and being completely and utterly at a loss for what my objective was, which is never a good look.
Speaking of looks, Dead By Daylight is hideous on the eyes, and not in the ‘cool monster’ way. The characters and their portraits on the character selection screen look like before and after pictures that you’d see to deter kids from doing meth. The textures are all around ugly and repetitive, which is only made worse by the fact that levels are randomly generated each match. “Is that the ugly box I passed earlier or a different one?” is a thought I’ve had many times while playing. The sound design is just as bad as the graphics, with audio effects being repetitive, loud, and sometimes sounding as if they cut off a bit too early.
For a game that has been available on PC for over a year, Dead By Daylight sure is buggy, at least on Xbox One. The menus often stutter and lag when selecting options via the floating ball that is painfully controlled as if it is a mouse cursor, only via the left stick. There are button prompts on-screen that don’t function or are incorrect, such as pressing Y to cancel matchmaking. (You have to press B instead.) Textures often clip through characters, including the killers’ hands when attacking. If you like sub-30fps frame rates, then you’re in luck because Dead By Daylight often drops to those levels. People with spotty connections rubber band all over the place, making it damned near impossible to catch them as the killer. To top it all off, the load times are pretty long, pending you can even find a lobby that fills up. I had to enter and exit matchmaking a few times between each match until I found a lobby that would be populated with people (and yes my NAT is open).
This just feels like an all around sloppy port that was quickly pushed out to try to score some cash off of Friday the 13th‘s bungled release. The console version doesn’t even include all the download content released for PC, including the Halloween DLC with Michael Myers. The mouse-like controls in the menus, coupled with the fact that most all the actions are mapped to the triggers and shoulder buttons, makes it feel like whoever ported this doesn’t play consoles to begin with (thankfully you can remap the controls). The bugs and ugly graphics might be excusable if the game were fun to play, but to me, it just isn’t due to a lack of balance and the need to work with your team in an era where no one talks to strangers in online games anymore.
One day an asymmetrical multiplayer game will get it right, but today isn’t that day.