+Authentically creepy killers that feel original and unique
+First person as a killer and third as a survivor offers unique balancing to the game
+Each killer has their own abilities and perks allowing for differentiated gameplay
+The addition of Michael Meyers brings home that horror film feel for the game
-Small framerate issues even while on a PlayStation 4 Pro with boost mode enabled
-Queue times for matches can be somewhat painful. Some have exceeded ten minutes as a killer.
-Survivors can’t fight back against the killer.
When Turtle Rock Studio’s first launched Evolve there was no doubt they’d landed on something unforeseen. Never had a developer, a publisher, or anyone made a game where four players would try to survive a fight against a monster. It was a trend that quickly became grasped upon by developer Behavior Interactive when their smash-hit horror survival PvP title Dead by Daylight premiered on Steam.
Since the debut of Dead by Daylight it has been the predecessor to other cloned games and even by a high-profiled rival under the name of Friday the 13th: The Game. It’s a game that isn’t shy about being one of the most-played titles on Twitch since the second half of 2016. It’s a game that has also now become one of the hottest titles to own on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Thanks to Behavior for letting us get our Killer’s gloves dirty, we’ve finally had a chance to sit down, and hammer out over 172 matches worth as the killer and a rough 50 as survivors.
As you would expect Dead by Daylight pulls itself together of being a typical horror survival game. It’s one that throws four survivors into a B-Horror film setting where they must repair generators while being hunted down by their supernatural killer. The goal? Repair generators, get to the escape panel, and survive. However, the Killer isn’t prone to letting that happen in any way. Something supernatural has happened to them and allowed them to become one of the most prolific serial killers in the games world. Each of them giving a thorough background behind who they are and what drove them to become what they do.
Same goes for our group of survivors. Each of them come with their own stats, outfits (c’mon, we all know someone wants to play the nerd), and even their own abilities that can be built over time by escaping. Items such as flashlights and toolboxes can also be escaped with, which gives players items to use in their next lobby. Just as one would expect, the Killer doesn’t get such awesome feats as walking out with equipment, but luckily that is made up for by leveling up, getting nifty little perks, and add-on’s to their abilities to make them more sufficient hunters.
As one would expect, as stated, the game takes on four players playing as survivors that are trying to outsmart the player who has taken on the role of the killer. Killers range from the chainsaw totting Hillbilly who is merciless in killing survivors (Texas Chainsaw Massacre anyone?), to the Trapper who loves his bear traps being thrown down for players to step on, and even my personal favorite , The Hag who lays down traps to frighten players. This not-so-exhausted list of killers will change soon with the addition to Michael Meyers from the famed Wes Craven series Halloween. His new ability is him being able to set a trap that will locate other players in the game.
Unfortunately for the Killers, each of them do carry on unique attributes as well as abilities. This makes it so players will need to decide carefully how they wand to spend their points in the Bloodweb. The goal of the hunter is simple. Hunt down survivors, throw them on sacrificial hooks, ensure that other survivors don’t save them, and even use the person hooked as bait to draw out the others. For survivors, this doesn’t come off as easy as it sounds and could cause players to rely on their frustrations to complete their tasks. While cooperative play is essential, players can lone wolf their mission, and try to escape doing such.
Survivor players can find this trying as they will be repairing generators, which alone makes noise, and if they are to fail a skill check on the repair from a quick time event bar – they’ll alert the killer to their last position. Screwing up on this mechanic can cost them their lives if the player playing as the killer is near by. As you would expect, however, survivors are not left in the dark when it comes to being alerted that their killer-to-be isn’t far off. Instead players are left with a small hint of music and a speeding heartbeat that grows louder as the killer is near by. Just like a horror film, which is suitable for the games setting, and how the game plays out.
While the killer and survivors are in a deadly game of cat and mouse, the killer doesn’t have it easy, and that’s because several things. First off, the killer can only move so fast, and with survivors throwing down blockades, it gets a bit harder for the killer to give chase. Secondly, if you do manage to hit a survivor, your killer takes a second to wipe the blood off their weapon of choice before giving chase once more. Even if you do manage to down that survivor or wound them? If their team mates are working together, they will heal each other to full health, and or save the one you managed to prepare for sacrifice.
Luckily, there’s a trade-off for being saved from being sacrificed. Your survival gauge is lower, your chance to be sacrificed is higher, and by the third time of being hooked? That survivor is instantly sacrificed to the mystical beast that’s driving the killers to do what they are. Sadly, survivors can’t fight back. The only thing they can hope to do? Blind the killer with a flashlight while trying to flee or save their friends. This is where Friday the 13th: The Game gives players a chance to fight back and escape even though they can’t kill Jason.
While the bloodweb sounds interesting, think of it as essentially a way to level up your character, gaining new feats, ability add-ons, and even traits that give you a bit more edge than previously. Even with the bloodweb serving as an integral part of the game, it seems the killers don’t get much out of it since their additions are usually upgrades for their abilities, and even small additions earned towards new perks. While this sounds nifty and all; it’s nothing to write home about quite yet.
Dead by Daylight – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Starbreeze Studios (Console Version)
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $29.99 USD
As expected, Dead by Daylight is an astonishing horror game that does it just right. It’s game that isn’t ashamed of its b-roll horror film approach, it’s small performance issues, or even its annoying music from time to time. However, it’s a game that does everything just right, and even gives Friday the 13th: The Game a run for its money. It’s a game that isn’t going to fail itself in any shape or means on consoles. Unfortunately the small performance hiccups for some could be a small drawback of the game, but nothing quite degrading.
Ultimately, Dead By Daylight serves as an amazing horror game, but it has it’s fair share of glitches and server issues that hold the game back from being truly awesome. It would have been much more interesting to try out the console versions, but we weren’t able to secure a key to do so. Since hacking doesn’t happen as often on console as it does PC, we’re fairly confident that those versions will be fine and maybe even better, but could be a tad slower than PC. I highly recommend getting it if you dig these party games or the thrill of a horror film.
Our review is based upon a retail version provided to us by the games publisher. The review was done on a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200 RPM HDD. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.