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Dead by Daylight – Quick Game Review

Dead by Daylight – Quick Game Review
Dead by Daylight (PC [Reviewed])
Developer: Behaviour Digital Inc.
Publisher: Starbreeze Studios

Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer only, co-op survival horror game where four players have to work together to survive and escape, while one player tries to capture and kill everyone else.

UPDATED: As of November 1, 2016

In order for the survivors to escape, they have to work together to repair five generators, and then open one of the gates. Survivors can also search chests around the map to scavenge items as well, but you can only equip one item at a time, and all of the items have limited uses. If you die, you permanently lose the item, but if you survive you keep it. I like the advantages that some of the tools give, but I’ll admit that it sucks to lose your preferred item, and not have a replacement for it for a few matches.

As a survivor, when the killer gets within range of you, you hear a heartbeat, and as he gets closer, the heartbeat starts pounding faster and faster, and it’s absolutely terrifying when you KNOW he’s getting closer, but you have no idea which way he’s coming from, and you aren’t sure where to run or if you’re still safely hidden. I love the rush, and the constant suspenseful feel of the game. The panic that sets in when you realize the killer sees you, and you run like hell, and just hope you can find some terrain to use to your advantage. And when you do get hit twice, and are carried away and thrown up onto the meat hook, you just hope the others will come and save you.

Repairing the generators, and healing your allies will often prompt a random skill check, that forces you have to react within the window, or there is a loud sound that could alert the killer to your location. The skill checks are simple enough, but it’s incredibly easy to be distracted, and fail the skill check. A simple mistake could be the downfall of you or your team, so there’s always that pressure to not screw up. Once I stopped looking off into the distance, and just focused on the task at hand, I stopped failing the skill checks as often, and it helped me survive longer.

The queue time to play as a survivor is slightly shorter than playing as a killer, but I also found playing as a survivor more challenging because you are more dependent on your allies co-operating and playing good as well. After every match, you earn blood points to unlock more items as you progress, the perks are great to unlock, but the rest of the items are consumable, so they aren’t quite as satisfying to unlock. I do wish there was a way to re-buy specific items instead of being forced to buy the next item though.

When you play as a killer, you are hosting the game, and it’s your goal to kill everyone, preferably by offering them as a sacrifice on a meat hook. You can also see all the generators, so that you can patrol the area to seek out your prey. I found being a killer very satisfying, and the thrill of the hunt was great, but it also felt it was easier to play as a killer since the survivors didn’t usually work together very well. When the survivors sprint, they leave a trail on the ground for a short time that you can track.

Pros:
  • playing as a survivor feels like a rush, and the constant suspense will keep you on your toes; playing as the killer is super fun, and the thrill of the hunt is exhilarating
  • great concept that is executed fairly well
  • decent character progression for both the killer, and the survivors with various tools, add-ons, perks that can help them accomplish their tasks
  • the atmosphere combined with the ambience and music does a really good job of creating a tense environment
  • the audio is done well, and you can hear the cries and screams of the survivors, as well as other audio cues to help locate your victims
  • each map is procedurally generated, so you can’t just memorize the layouts, so each game feels fresh
  • the gameplay is very fun, and addicting; you’ll often find yourself wanting to play “just one more game”
  • controller support was added, and keybindings are also customizable
  • survive with friends mode was added, and friends can play together in smaller groups
  • the shrine that rotates in teachable perks rewards your time playing, and helps reduce the need to grind and level up each survivor
Cons:
  • some minor texture bugs, and a couple weird graphical glitches where survivors were looked like they were flopping through the air, and some of the bodies on hooks but weren’t hooked correctly (I’m surprised that some of these still aren’t fixed)
  • bug when clicking the join lobby button, but it would fail, and you have to click again, and sometimes several more times for it to put you into a lobby – UPDATED: Fixed!
  • there was also one time where I was unable to heal another player, and one other time that I wasn’t able to pull the player off of the meat hook because the prompt to do so never came up – UPDATED: While this is very rare, it can still happen.
  • lack of keyboard control customization, but most people will probably be fine with the defaults – UPDATED: Controller support was added, and keybindings are also customizable.
  • can’t group with friends to play quick matches, but you can only make friends only groups for custom games (I just don’t have enough friends to make a full custom game, and besides, the custom games don’t award any progression anyway) – UPDATED: Survive with friends mode was added.
  • as a result of not being able to group up with friends for quick play, some games will take a while to start from the lobby screen because people join, and leave groups repeatedly until they get put on a team with their friends; a feature to let people group up before joining a game should be implemented immediately – UPDATED: Since survive with friends mode was added, people dodging pre-game is rather uncommon.
  • some killers AFK macro hoping to get points, and some survivors disconnect making the matches unbalanced
  • killers with bad ping will cause survivors to lag into the walls and make them easier to kill (they should put in a way to see each other’s ping)

Another thing that I found was strange was that there is no way to communicate in a CO-OP game to your allies. I would like to see voice chat, or text chat added, or maybe even character voice lines that even the killer could hear if in range, so that the survivors can communicate because right now, UPDATED: Survivors can now point and beacon each other over. I feel like being a killer is significantly easier than being a survivor because you are only relying on yourself not to suck. I’ve seen a lot of survivors who are new or sometimes just not very good, and it can be a real detriment to the rest of the team, and it makes it a lot harder on the rest of the survivors to succeed.

Some people might say it’s easier for the survivors, and in some very rare cases, I managed to get a group of competent survivors, and the killer never managed to kill everyone. But I feel like in those games, the killer was probably just new, since those flawless games were few and far between.

There are different versions of each map that take place in 5 different areas (UPDATED), but they are procedurally generated, so you can’t just memorize the layouts. I had expected the game to get repetitive, but after over 60 hours of playing 9 hours of playing the beta on only 4 of the maps in 1 area, I was surprised that it still felt fresh, and new each time. Every game felt a bit different, but admittedly some games were more enjoyable than others depending on how good the other players were.

Conclusion:

I have really enjoyed the game so far, but it does have some issues that make it not quite as enjoyable as it could be. Nonetheless, I still found myself saying after every game, “just one more game…” It’s been a fun game so far, but I expect it would be a lot more fun playing with friends; it’s a great concept, and it’s got a lot of potential, but it would certainly benefit from some small changes here and there.

Rating:

82