Developed by Behaviour Interactive and published by Starbreeze Studios.
Reviewed on PC
My tech specs:
Core i7-5820k (water-cooled) @ 3.30GHz (not overclocked)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980ti
Corsair Vengeance 16gb Ram DDR4
24in 1920×1080 monitor, 144Hz (also briefly tested on a 4k TV running 60Hz)
Around a month ago I became aware of this game through my roommate, who is also a gamer like me only much more hardcore. He told me about a new game called “Dead By Daylight” that was looking like it was going to be a survival game in the same vein as Left 4 Dead, and began to describe the game. Within a few moments I was fully sold on the premise and pre-ordered the game. I would find out after about a week later, he told me he got a refund on it. Oh if I were so lucky.
The gameplay itself is the main meat of the game and by that I mean, if you’re a survivor, the way the current game is set, you’re toast. I have played the game around thirty-five hours at this point and I swear that at least 7 times out of 10, the killer finds and kills me first. Could this just be bad luck? Sure but its incredibly infuriating. The main objective of the survivors is to start five generators. These generators will then activate the gates to escape. If there is only one survivor left, a randomly generated hatch will open and the remaining survivor will either have to fix the remaining generators or find and escape through the hatch. This in itself would be simple, if it wasn’t for the killer being completely overpowered in every regard. Nothing feels balanced when it comes to fairness of the two kinds of players.
On the killers side of things, it’s fantastically brutal. What do I mean by that? Let me back up. The whole reason to continue playing is to get two different things during the trials: “Bloodpoints” (points earned by doing objectives, surviving, helping others and being bold) and getting “Pips” or tick marks that helps you level up. So if you win a round as a survivor with enough points you earn a pip, but if you die without earning one, you lose one. Making a simple task of leveling up a literal impossibility for me. The vast majority of people that join the match are still ranked level 20 (or base level with Level 1 being the best). Each round that god smiles upon me and I earn a pip is dashed within the next round due to the killers being too powerful.
Now as I said before, on the Killers side of things, this is fantastic for leveling up. Currently I’m at rank 16 having very rarely lost a pip from any match while being a killer, which then makes me ask the question: why even bother being a survivor if I have a 90% chance or higher of dying? It’s incredibly one-sided and completely broken. In matchmaking a players rank isn’t taken into consideration, making the experience feel again, very one-sided. For example when starting a match as a survivor, one might be teamed up with someone level 20, 1, 19 and 20 whereas the killer is rank 15. There definitely needs to be an overhaul of the games mechanics and while there has been small changes put in place the game simply isn’t ready for release.
I did some searching on the Steam discussion boards to see if other people were having the same issues as me, and there was a very vocal group begging for a patch to fix the issues I have listed. Unfortunately the comments to these posts were a myriad of “get good m8” or “looks like you just suck”. Well to those anonymous users, you’re an asshole.
One simple thing that NEEDS to an immediate change is the lack of communication from teammates. Not only is there no voice comm. available, but also text chat is nowhere to be found other than in the games lobby. To make insult to injury, when in game the steam voice chat (from one user to another) is disabled making taking to friends while in game impossibility without a third-party call system (Skype, facebook, Vent, etc.). This needs to be changed at once and is insulting for not having in game. For example if you want to restrict info between players, why not have your mic only be able to be heard within a certain amount of distance! It baffles me why this has been implemented and who approved it.
Story? What Story? Oh! Yeah, if you want any back-story, or even character development you the player must go online and read the instruction booklet that is not downloaded with the game. Kinda lame right? Well it turns out that it really doesn’t matter other than this: the girls can run fast and the guys can sabotage, while the killer is bad. That’s all you really need to know as far as a plot. But for the sake of this review, there really is no plot. The questions I would beg to ask, as a survivor is, HOW DID WE GET HERE? No answer is ever provided and even digging into the games own lore, did I find an answer giving me the impression that the game designers had an idea, but no way to connect it to a simple story. The Lore online is about a guy named Benedict (who is not in the game) discovering what the Entity (main evil) is and what it does to the mind. As for the killers and survivors, their whole back-story and life’s story is provided but it really doesn’t mean much in the long run when it’s never integrated into the main game.
On the flip side of the story, I’m actually ok with the killers not having much back-story other than “kids on muh property!”, but apparently each killer had some tragic back-story that doesn’t add anything. You kids gon learn today.
Unfortunately Dead By Daylight is frame locked at 60 frames per second, with sometimes going up to 62fps weirdly enough. Graphically it looks ok, with the biggest problem being textures that don’t load properly in till around twenty or so seconds after starting a match. I only encountered this issue about ten or so times and quickly became familiar with it. The biggest issue the game has graphically is the animation with some events being completely bungled with sometimes having only four to five frames of animation show up, for example, like when a character gets injured. It’s extremely easy to get taken out of the moment when something like this happens.
One would think to simply mess around in the options menu of the game but one will find only misery there. The options listed for resolution is a slider bar while the quality has a low to ultra limit. Other than that you can adjust if you would like it in full screen, headphones or change the Y-Axis. That’s about all there really is. I wish I were joking. This is really kinda insulting considering that this is a full release of a non-console game in 2016. Half-Life 2 from 2004 had more setting and ways to customize than this. The Graphics as a whole come off as competent but the options menu is completely unacceptable.
So being chased around by a killer in the middle of nowhere should sound great right? Wrong. The game’s atmosphere is simply all right. You get the usual, bugs, wind blowing or general atmosphere but at no point does it ever become immersive, as it should be. The Killer also has a radius of “terror” that gives an audible heartbeat that gets louder and faster depending on how close he is, giving you an indication that you better run. Aside from that, I have noticed several times while playing as the killer that I can mistake my own footsteps (in a corn field for example) for a survivor, and gone in circles thinking it’s a person close to me. This should be fixed, in my opinion, or at least toned down compared to others. There’s nothing inherently wrong about the sound mix or use of it, other than there’s nothing special about it. There’s nothing to write home about and that really is a sad thing.
Bonus Content, or Replay Value
The only bonus content currently in the game is different skins for the survivors or upgrades to items in game. There is no paid DLC as of yet, but the developers have stated before that there eventually will be, mostly cosmetic. The devs have also come out and said that, in due time, free DLC will be added to enhance the game. As to what this means, no one knows.
As for replay value, as Albert Einstein put it, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” and for playing for around thirty five hours at the time of writing this, I feel like the game has serious potential, but is just simply not ready for release. There’s a nugget of goodness in there but until the devs find the right amount of balance, I simply cannot recommend Dead By Daylight.