Dead By Daylight is an online asymmetric survival horror developed by Behavior Interactive and published by Starbreeze Studios in 2016 for Microsoft Windows. Also, the title was released in June 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in 2019 for Nintendo Switch and 2020 for mobile devices.
The Canadian developer company is already known for creating cartoon games as well as other more action-oriented ones. In the first case, we can highlight classics such as Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters, The Grinch, and Monsters, Inc. Scream Team. On the other hand, they also had entries like Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings or Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion, very well received by critics.
A premise to unite several universes
The game’s story is based on The Entity, a parallel universe that needs to feed off the despair of its inhabitants in order to survive. Thus, it transports to its realms different victims of brutal murders who mysteriously stray from the places they originally lived. Also, when a killer shows immense brutality he attracts the attention of The Entity, which also summons them to his existential plane.
With all the participants in a scene, the survivors are taken to a campfire, where after a while they become participants in The Trial. In it, 4 survivors and a killer are transported to a scenario created by The Entity reminiscent of real places that both groups inhabited.
The objective for the survivors is to repair 5 generators scattered around the map to activate an escape door, or to get out through a hatch that opens when only one is left alive. For his part, the killer must catch the victims and hang them on hooks that will physically manifest The Entity, where it sacrifices them and feeds on their soul.
After the conflict is over, both the living and the dead survivors (these are revived) are transported back to the campfire, where they await a new trial. Once in The Entity’s universe, it is impossible to escape and the survivors lose their memory after each trial, but in case they fail, they will lose a portion of their soul.
The names, the first attraction of the game
To appeal even more to the fans of the genre, both the killers and the survivors are mostly taken from other popular movies, video games, or series. Among the 20 killers featured are such well-known figures as the iconic Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street), Mike Myers (Halloween), Pyramid Head (Silent Hill), and Ghost Face (Scream). Besides, the 22-survivor rooster is also made up of popular characters, including Ash (Evil Dead), Nancy and Steve (Stranger Things) and David Tapp (Saw).
Additionally, the game features several maps drawn from these cinematic universes, featuring locations like Haddonfield, Springwood, and Badham Preschool and Midwich Elementary School.
In and out of the match
As the showdown begins, a quick gap is created between The Killer and The Survivor team. The first ones have a first-person view and can see auras in the generators distributed all over the map, so they always know where they are.
Also, each one has its own abilities according to its real counterpart and speed superior to that of its victims, so it is usually favored in a chase. On the other hand, the survivors do not see the generators with this ease, so they must search for them manually while evading the pursuer. To cover this disadvantage, they have a third-person view that allows them to see the bigger picture.
Furthermore, they are alerted of the arrival of the killer with a strong heartbeat and a red light that covers the attacker’s field of vision. Although their speed is lower, they can throw obstacles or jump out of windows, which rivals can also do, but more slowly.
Once the match is over, players receive blood and experience points based on their performance in it. The blood points can be used to improve the characters’ skills before the start of each game. Additionally, they provide different tools wherein the case of killers, they can improve the cooldowns of their attacks or obtain different detection tools.
In the case of survivors, they receive items such as flashlights, toolboxes, or medkits to heal themselves or help their peers. As for the experience, it comes in two forms. The first is a personal experience, which determines the level of the user’s account and awards them with various rewards. Secondly, depending on the faction that is being used, a ranking is assigned to each user, ranging from 20 to 1.
The audiovisual level, a fundamental part of the gameplay
The graphic engine chosen for this adventure is the Unreal Engine 4, also used in other horror titles like Call of Cthulhu, Hello Neighbour or Song of Horror. It can be said that the visual part is a bit cartoonish, but the lack of excessive realism helps greatly to make the game more accessible to a wider range of users. In the same way, this doesn’t prevent the characters from being drawn in detail, trying to make them as similar as possible to the real versions.
Contrary to its caricatured nature, the color palette is sunk in a deep opacity that devours the entire screen. This makes the composition more terrifying but at the same time helps the survivors, who with these dull colors can camouflage and hide better.
Sound is also a vital factor in the release. The only clues the Killers receive are by this means, where the sound of the repair of the generators or the grass moving are keys to find their victims. Similarly, finding and chasing them will result in intense hunting music. The developers admitted that far from empowering the hunter, this serves to remove the possibility of listening to the survivor´s movement and give the later a chance to escape.
With mixed reviews at the time of its launch but an increasingly loyal audience as new characters come out, this installment still shows great potential for growth. The title is one of the most popular horror games on the Twitch platform, either by users adept at terror games or more casual gamers.
This makes that although it is a non-scary entry, it can work as a door to the genre for other users, who will investigate the origin of their favorite characters.
Thus, with gameplay that covers all types of players but with references that fans of horror can grasp, Dead By Daylight is a game that unites two different worlds and continues to generate expectation in its future.
Image Credits; Team Silent