Game Review | Dead by Daylight (2020)

Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game developed by Behaviour Interactive Inc. This survival horror multiplayer title sees one crazed, unstoppable Killer hunt four survivors through terrifying, sometimes iconic nightmarish stages in a deadly game of Cat & Mouse. Survivors must try to evade all while attempting to repair five generators to power the doors leading to their freedom. If all else fails there’s the alternative of using the hatch to escape.

Play as part of a four person team of survivors or as one of the classic menacing killers. Whichever option you choose will land you in control of some recognizable character. Whether that be the Demogorgon from Stranger Things or Ashley Williams from Ash Vs Evil Dead. Other than their style of play, the most noticeable difference between these options is your perspective while you play.

It’s good to be bad

Choosing to play as a killer gets you a first person perspective of the map. From this view the player must seek out each of the survivors, injure them, then hook them on a crude contraption. Once hooked survivors can be rescued by teammates or attempt to escape on their own. The latter’s odds of success is significantly lower than the former. Thus emphasising the need for well coordinated teamwork.

If playing as a killer it’s your job to take advantage of that teamwork. The most successful killers down survivors and wait for their companions to show up while setting traps using their abilities. These abilities are unique to each character and greatly changes the way in which they are played. For example: Freddie from ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ can only hurt survivors he puts to sleep. Encouraging the player to focus on one survivor at a time till they’re all captured. Alternatively The Huntress has the ability to toss axes to injure and down multiple players in quick succession. She’s best played by downing survivors, stalking their downed bodies and pick off their teammates attempting to revive them. At the time of writing there are 17 killers and each one plays completely differently from the others.

Playing the Survivor

Unlike killers, survivors view the game from a third person perspective but have just as much variety of play. Compared to the killers, survivors are slower and thus require more awareness of their surroundings. Once noticed by a killer a survivor only has a single option – RUN. While being chased it’s possible to pull down crates, vault over ledges or use items like the flashlight to blind the killer. How effective you’ll be at executing these escape maneuvers will depend on the survivor you’re using.

Fei is best played as a lone wolf who fixes generators while other players keep the killer distracted. Thanks to her perks she fixes generators with less likelihood of making noise and senses the killers from a distance. Another survivor – Claudette has healing perks so she’s best at healing injured teammates and should be played in a supporting role as much as possible.

Among our friends we have sayings like: “once we have a Claudette we’ll be fine” and “Claudette is the true MVP”.

LEEROY JENKINS!

Of course you are encouraged to support your team, however sometimes you’ll need to “LEEROY JENKINS!” to get that sweet W. How you play heavily depends on the meta of each individual match. Each is unique thanks to the randomness of killers, maps and perks. Not being able to quickly discern which tactic you adapt on the fly will likely result in less than favorable outcomes for you and your team. The game punishes mindless solo play while rewarding well coordinated approaches. It’s so well balanced at achieving this that despite not being the first game in this genre, it’s certainly the best. Personally I’m not usually a fan of multiplayer games but I’m always up for a game of Dead by Daylight with the mates. Which says a lot about the quality of the title.

It’s not the most graphically intensive game you’ll ever play, some may even consider it somewhat dated, but I like it. Not being too hardware demanding makes the requirements for entry very low. This means that finding a group to play with it shouldn’t be difficult. At the time of writing I was always able to find a match as a survivor within seconds, making this one of the most approachable multiplayer titles on the market. There’s even a clever matchmaking system in play which matches players of similar skill together so you’re always challenged in the right ways.

Risk of micro-transactions Hell

The game also sets up an impressive atmosphere with well designed stages, creepy sounds and that solid gameplay. Its ability to create true tension is so palatable that it’s not upcoming for your own heart rate to increase while being chased. Adding to that is the continuous support from the devs, cross-play, archives, the bloodweb leveling system and cosmetic items. The game is so well made and optimized that It’s difficult to even complain about its cosmetic micro-transactions or cost of DLC. Optional content like that in an already well polished product makes it all seem perfectly acceptable.

Sweet Progression

The blood web allow players to quickly level up their favorite characters using monetary-free Blood Points. Obviously if you win you’ll gain more but the overall consensus is that grinding in this game is effortless. As you gain levels completing the bloodweb you’ll also gain new perks and items. At Level 50 you’re even able to prestige your character for chances at rarer perks.

Additionally Increasing the rate of progression is possible through Tomes – a system which allows the player to set regularly updated challenges before each match to allow for more Blood Points upon their completion. Furthermore its viable to teach survivors perks from other characters using the level system or the weekly purchasable perks. How you choose to progress is pretty much up to you. It never felt like you’re being pushed towards any particular option over another and that’s how it should be.

Final Verdict

Dead by Daylight is easily one of my favorite games, ever which is rare. I don’t usually highly recommend titles that are not JRPGs but I’m highly recommending this. Despite it having micro-transactions (something I’m strongly against in upfront retail games), I never felt under duress to buy any of it. Similar to eFootball PES 2020 the rate of progression makes the implementation completely optional. The developers continuously release new content, balancing patches and features to improve this already exceptional product. Acts like these are the reason a game released back in 2016 continues to be one of the most played games on Steam.

The copy of Dead by Daylight used for this review was provided to us by its publisher, Starbreeze Studios. Dead by Daylight is also available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and Mobile.

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Qudduws Campbell

That messy hair bloke: Romantic, Food lover, Gamer, Sports Fan, Manga Reader, Tech Head, Podcaster... Pretty much do a bit of everything.

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