I have always been been put off by 4 vs 1 multiplayer games due to horror stories of balancing issues but with them gaining popularity at the moment I thought I would see what all the fuss was about.
Dead by Daylight was released a year ago on Windows to a good reception with it selling over a million copies within the first two months. It became a popular game to stream online with hundreds of videos popping up on Youtube every week. The game has been supported by the developers since day one but even now there are some bugs that can cause mild frustration in game. One year on and Dead by Daylight makes its debut on the home consoles. The consoles have seen a few Early Access style games in the past few years, with some being completely broken upon launch. With the base PC game having a few bugs remaining there have been some negative chatter on the internet on whether it will be broke or not upon release.
From my time in Dead by Daylight I can confirm there are a few bugs knocking around but none that caused me any true trouble.
Don’t Lose Hope
Even as a multiplayer only game, Dead By Daylight has quite a deep backstory.;
“The Entity, a supernatural being hailing from the ancient blood web, is awakened from its slumber whenever it is summoned by actions of great violence and malice. The killers, exclusively serial murderers, are pulled out of reality by it and convinced to do its bidding. In order to maintain its existence, the Entity requires sacrifices, and demands that they hunt and kill the survivors so it can feed off their hope and steal a piece of their soul upon death. Then they are brought back to life to repeat the trial, endlessly attempting to escape.”
Prior to the match beginning you will meet all the other survivors at a camp fire and amazingly, the developers have even written the meaning of this into the lore of the world. Basically survivors are pulled into the entity if they wander too close to where any of the killers were taken from. They will end up around the campfire waiting for the next trial (match) to begin. Once the trial is completed, whether the survivor escapes or dies, they will always end up back at the campfire to repeat the nightmare over and over again.
The gameplay is split into two distinctive groups; the survivors and the killer. Each have their pros and cons but for me I had the most fun playing as the survivors. It felt that the survivors gameplay was how the game is meant to play. The killer is fun but in the situation where you are playing cat and mouse, playing as the mouse is far more thrilling. Plus when you play as the killer you loose all the suspense and visually it looks quite bland. As a survivor a fog covers the area, the map looks large and overwhelming with the sense of failure around every corner you turn.
Survive the Night
As a survivor you are naturally “squishy” compared to the killer. The matches begin with four survivors being placed in one of seven locations, each based upon one of the killers. Scattered around the map are seven generators, one escape hatch, crates to search, multiple place to hide and a nice selection of meat hooks. The aim of the game is to survive and escape. This can be achieved in a couple of ways; power up five generators or find the skeleton key and escape through a hidden hatch. Like most things on paper it sounds simple but in reality it can be quite challenging. The map is very dark and it is difficult to locate fellow survivors, let alone the killer so you have to be able to work alone & as a team all at the same time. You see the entire world in third person with basic movement abilities such as walking, running and crouching. To achieve your goal of fixing the generators you must first locate them as they spawn randomly each time so you cannot memorise the locations for next time. Once you find one you can start to fix them; this is carried out by pressing R1 and waiting until the meter fills all the way up. Along the way you will be presented with skill checks which will want you to press L1 at a specific time. Hit the mark and you will gain points but if you miss it the generator will explode and you loose some progress but worse of all the killer will know where you are. You may run away but I highly advise against it as when you do so, you will leave marks all over the map that are only visible by the killer. This will lead him right to where you ran and this is something you do not want. As well as keeping a close eye out for the killer you will also want to keep you ears open. Each killer has a tell tale sign and most of them are audibly but the most important sound to listen for is the heartbeat. As the killer gets closer to you, a heart beat will begin playing with it getting stronger the closer they get to you. You will not know where they are but panic will set in as frantically find a good hiding spot.
Once the five generators have been fixed, two exits will become active. During this phase you must go to one of them, pull the switch, wait until the gate fully opens and make your escape. This phase is by far the most loud and tense one in the game. As you stand there holding the switch, praying the killer does not find you before you can make your escape.
Around the map are chests that contain items that will aid you greatly in your quest to survive. These include first aid kits (to be used on yourself or others), maps (shows generators), tool-kits (speeds up generators or disables the meat hooks), torches (to blind the killer) and keys that all have different actions including the opening of the hatch. Any item you find can be taken back to the camp but you must survive to do so.
Prior to any match beginning you have the opportunity to upgrade your survivor using the bloodweb. By using the Bloodpoints you earn in match you can unlock perks, items and offerings. Perks will give you buffs during matches, items are usually add ons to existing items found in game giving them boosted stats and offerings are burnt at the camp fire before a game begins. These offerings range from determining which map is next to gaining extra Bloodpoints for escaping. When all items have been brought in the current Bllodweb tree your survivor will go up a level generating a new tree of items to purchase. Each survivor has their own Bloodweb to upgrade and once you reach level 50 you can prestige upto three times. Like with other multiplayer games, prestiging reset you back to level one but gives you a visual item to make sure other players know how bad ass you are!
Killing In The Night
Playing as the killer is both fun and frustrating all at the same time! As the killer your main aim is to stop the escape and sacrifice all the survivors to the Entity. You can choose from one of seven killers who all have their own special abilities. Each ability does reflect different play styles so any gamer can have fun with at least one. For me I had a lot of fun with the Nurse as her ability is to faze across the maps with a nice long swinging attack. To “assist” the survivors every action you take has a counter that slows you down. Your special abilities all have a “cool down” phase, after attacking you will always wipe the blood off your weapon and moving through obstacles such as windows and pushed over crates takes such a long time. In fact, watching the animation of the killer stepping over a window ledge is hilarious – like watching a delicate being dipping their toe into a cold pool.
What I found with the killer is that it takes a lot of patience to master the. From when the match begins you are waiting around for the first survivor to make a mistake. Once that happens you can start patrolling the area hoping to run into a clueless survivor. It does happen but most of the time the survivors are clued up and know what exactly to do to survive the night. For me personally what I disliked the most about the killer is easily the movement. You can move slightly quicker than the survivor at full sprint but it feels clumsy. You do gain momentum the longer into a chase but if the survivor does something other than running in a straight line it breaks your flow and the biggest game of hide & seek continues. I have played against a lot of players who have truly mastered the killer but for me it just does not click.
Luckily we managed to get our hand on a couple of codes for Dead by Daylight so our Editor Andi gave it a blast;
So I treated myself to a few hours online with Dead by Daylight and found it to be a mixed bag but otherwise enjoyable. The learning curve on the game is huge and it’s highly advised you read the tutorials and look online for extra info before you jump into the game.
I spent more time playing as the Survivors over the Killers, the Killers are superb for blowing steam off but nothing quite beats the tension of playing Survivors.
The game is at it’s best when your ducking, diving and hiding from a skilled Killer using all the abilities. Pulling off a successful escape is a second to none feeling!.
The Killers being restricted to 1st Person View really changes the play style and presents it’s own set of challenges and the thrill of the final bloodlust when chasing down that last pesky survivor.
I did tire of the “Fix the generator & open the gate” game mode towards the end of my second play session and feel this is something that could be addressed with additional game modes down the line.
Graphically it’s not the strongest looking game and some of the character models look like left overs from Silent Hill 4: The Room and the level design isn’t the strongest and just plays on Horror cliches.
It’s one of the few games of it’s type available on consoles and I do suggest giving it a shot as it’s got some unrivaled tension and horror thrills just don’t hop in expecting AAA levels of quality or an in game tutorial.
Luck of the Dice
If you manages to land yourself in a party of survivors who know what they are doing, the match will go very smoothly and you will be escaping in no time. On the flip side though if you happen to land in a game with a killer who knows what they are doing, you are going to be in for a lot of hurt.
Dead by Daylight is a fun, different experience but it is not perfect. Matchmaking was hit and miss sometime, especially as the killer and my fear of balancing is slightly present here. If you are skilled enough you can make the killer work well but I felt that the killer was seriously under balanced due to the few seconds delay between certain actions. Like I have said before, the survivor is the best way to play for me but I am sure there are players out there who cannot get enough of going on murderous rampages. Either way, Dead by Daylight is a perfect game for the summer. Dead by Daylight only offers one game mode but it is something to jump in and out of as and when you feel like; whether it is with strangers or with good friends over a few cool drinks.
Dead by Daylight (PS4) - 7/10
- Great suspense as the Survivor
- Fun Team Based Action
- Good way to blow off Steam
- Limited to One Game Type
- Not the best looking game
- A few balancing issues
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Mad Scientist with a passion for gaming!