Dead By Daylight: First Impressions

Dead By Daylight Review

Dead By Daylight gives you the choice of being a victim or a Jason-like serial killer. In order for the killer to win he must kill the victims, which requires catching, disabling, and hanging them on meat hooks. Survivors just have to escape, but there’s a catch: the killer’s compound is entirely fenced in. The only way to open the gate is by repairing the generators which are scattered about the map and it takes a long time to repair each one, adding to the suspense. The killer knows where these generators are at all times, but the victims have to actively search for them without the aid of a HUD.

There’s also a point system. The more points you have, the more items and power-ups you can buy in between matches. The point system encourages the victims to help one another, as opposed to fending for themselves (which happens, too), while inspiring the lone killer to get creative with his traps and tactics. I’m actually surprised by how much teamwork is in a title which doesn’t feature in-game chat.

What’s even more surprising is the fun factor’s longevity. There’s only the one game mode and all the maps look more or less the same beyond their drab color schemes. You’re either going to be one of three available killers (which requires hosting a game and sometimes waiting damn near forever for four other players to join) or one of the four survivors, meaning there’s not a whole lot to see beyond your first few matches. With so few combinations, I expected this one to get stale quick, but I find myself loading it up frequently. It’s really easy to jump in and out of it.

Matches last only a handful of minutes and, generally, don’t take long getting into. The overall boot time is fairly low, too, which is probably a big reason I play CS:GO so often. Like that game, Dead By Daylight provides a surprising amount of replayability not in spite of its simplicity, but because of it. The randomly generated layout of maps helps, too. Meanwhile the graphics are more than acceptable and the sounds of blades and meat hooks puncturing flesh are crisp and satisfying—really satisfying.

Theme goes a long way and that’s the biggest thing Dead By Daylight has going for it. Unfortunately (for me) it doesn’t completely bring that 80s horror vibe which the upcoming Friday the 13th game promises. It just looks a little too much like a late 90s/early 2000s horror picture for my liking, while the victim roster is curiously lacking a teen heroine, a dimwitted jock, and a clueless police officer. Still, stalking real-life players with a brisk, intimidating walk is even more fun than you might think.

If you’re not a fan of slasher movies, you should probably skip this one. Otherwise, I certainly don’t feel like I threw my money away as the twenty dollar price tag seems just about right. Besides, the thrill of finding a victim hiding in a closet is something I can’t convey with words. I find the game’s strengths more than makes up for the bugs, most of which aren’t game-breaking.

At the time of this writing, the game doesn’t have a serviceable party system. Players are constantly entering and immediately leaving lobbies in search of their friends, which sometimes makes soloing take longer than it should. The devs have tweeted they will address this issue soon, but a party system could potentially break a game that purposely omitted in-game chat because those players will no doubt be using VOIP software to coordinate against the killer.

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