The Video Gamer’s Experience – Dead By Daylight Review

After much anticipation and hype, the Kickstarter-funded “Friday the 13th” game was finally released for funders and late purchasers alike to mixed reviews. Rather than jump into Crystal Lake with the potential of being terribly disappointed, I decided to give another game featuring similar subject matter a chance after developers spent a year working on it exclusively for PC gamers before porting it to consoles, “Dead By Daylight”. I didn’t have many high expectations for what was to come, but hoped to at least enjoy a few harrowing moments and maybe even slaughter those pesky teenagers trying to escape my bloody grasp.


Did I Complete “Dead By Daylight”


Originally released for PC over a year ago, Behavior Interactive’s interesting take on the growing asymmetrical, four-on-one genre proved to be a surprise hit for a mostly small scale studio looking to deliver something different. The console version is pretty much the finalized version of what PC players have been experiencing minus a few special DLC characters that are planned for later additions. Of course there are achievements/trophies and a majority of them are pretty grind heavy including sacrificing 500 potential survivors. While I haven’t earned many trophies during my fifteen hours (& still counting) of play, I still gained noticeable experience with a variety of survivors and killers across every map while earning more skills and improving my overall play style.


Did “Dead By Daylight” Live Up to the Hype?


As described by many others, “Dead By Daylight” feels less like the recent “Friday the 13th” game and more like the inverse of “Evolve”. Four players can choose to play as one of the seven survivors who all mostly look different while having a few discernable physical traits and abilities (smaller characters can run a little faster and some already have helpful skills at a starter level). The main action of every survivor other than avoiding getting killed by the stalker is to start up five generators by holding down the R1/RB button and reacting to random quick time events where the player must tap the L1/LB button at the proper time or risk causing an explosion that could alert the killer. Failing the QTE is a given for every player until one learns the trick that the game gives off a little “warning” sound that the QTE is about to pop up. If a killer catches a survivor and places him/her on one of the many “Sacrifice” meat hooks placed around the map, the player must either struggle to freedom or try to hold on long enough for a fellow survivor to help their teammate down. If the same survivor gets placed on the hook two or three times it’s immediately game over for that character.



There are six killers that one player can choose from while hosting each game. The only things that hinder the killers from progressing in their quests for unleashing pure death are destructible wooden pallets, a flashlight that is usually a rare reward, and genuine teamwork. Killers can track survivors by following the sounds of generator explosions (inactive generators also glow for the killer), blood trails of injured survivors, or even watch for crows circling specific areas. Each killer has a distinguishable style & ability such as the game’s bear trap-using poster boy and my personal favorite “The Wraith” that can cloak himself to scour the map mostly invisible until the player decides to let The Wraith’s presence be known for that potential deadly strike. Though the killers are powerful they are made in a way to ensure they aren’t too overpowered with limitations such as significant cool down/startup times in regards to their abilities such as The Wraith physically slowing down when uncloaking. Even striking has a moment of resetting no matter if the killer misses or connects – giving the survivor another chance to live. Another big difference between the survivors and the killers is the viewpoint. When playing as a survivor the game is seen from third person perspective while the killer player works from a first-person view. This changes the game dramatically as the killer can lose focus of its prey a lot easier than the survivor can figure out what direction is best to go when escaping. The balancing of this game makes it fun to play from both the survivor and killer perspectives.



Besides the potential bloodshed to keep players coming back for more is the smartly implemented leveling system. Every major thing the player does (be it the survivor or the killer) – working on generators, stalking survivors, escaping – earns “Blood Points” that can be spent on the “Bloodweb” to earn new perks such as making less noise when jumping over barriers as a survivor or have quicker cool down times when using specific killer abilities; and even “offerings” that allow for players to earn more Blood Points or even brighten the night’s sky to make it easier for the survivors to see. There are also items the players can attain by spending Blood Points including med kits, toolboxes to help fix generators faster, and the aforementioned flashlight. The killers too can get items that usually tie into making the killer’s abilities & tools of destruction more effective. Most of the items and all of the offerings are good for only one game. The game also has “seasons” where player levels reset back to the start of twenty, but everything that’s been upgraded in regards to the characters stay the same – thus giving experienced & inexperienced players a chance to intermingle when they couldn’t before. Like any game featuring a leveling-up/prestige system, players who put a lot of time into the game will find themselves enjoying it more than newer players thanks to the obvious advantages the more experienced gamers will have. Thankfully matchmaking is done well enough that a majority of the players will be around the same levels in every game give or take two to three levels. It also doesn’t take too long to find a game and if the player dies as a survivor and doesn’t disconnect immediately they can opt to watch the rest of the game, or leave and begin a new game elsewhere.

There are three glaring flaws in regards to “DBD”: repetition, a lack of dedicated servers & no playable tutorial. While being the hunter or hunted is fun no matter what side of the coin the player is on, the formula is no different from game to game. The survivors will have to start the generators while avoiding the two swings of impending death if a killer is nearby. For some the formula will never get old mostly because of the actual player quality varying. But for many others, the lack of variety will quickly bore those who want a little more from this horrific experience. For me, an hour or so as both a survivor and a killer is enough to satisfy my figurative thirst for a while. With no dedicated servers, every survivor is at the mercy of the killer’s Internet connection as the player who takes the role of the killer hosts each available lobby. This can prove to be incredibly problematic if the killer has a bad connection quality or disconnects purposely for turning out a poor performance. A majority of the time the lag issues are few & far between, but when it does happen “Dead By Daylight” becomes unplayable. Then there’s the big problem where if a host disconnects mid-game the survivor players will lose any items they bring into the session as well as Blood Points accumulated.



In regards to the tutorial, there are a lot of intricacies & systems at play in “DBD” that one will only learn about by reading a bunch of text in the “Tutorial” section, but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense until you actually start playing and quickly dying/failing in the game. While the learning curve is appreciated, it would be nice to have a test run game available for first time players to learn the ropes rather than be frustrated in not understanding the game’s mechanics. There are other minor problems including the input delay time for survivors when jumping over barricades & entering lockers that can easily mean the difference between survival and death, the game definitely looking rough around the edges, a majority of the stages being very similar in structure (a couple of small abandoned buildings, high grass/weeds/corn stalks, oddly placed barricades simply made for chases), and odd graphical glitches (and even a couple of mechanical problems like a killer being unable to hook a caught survivor, or no wiggle option for a survivor being prepared to feel the cold steel of a sacrifice hook). There’s definitely a lacking of polish the game desperately needs to reach its potential, but what’s here is mostly an enjoyable experience that for many will probably wear out its welcome after a week or so while others will stick around for a bloody long time.


Should You Play “Dead By Daylight”


“Dead By Daylight” is the type of game you know what your getting when you read the description, but there are so many little things that can turn it into a horrific experience for all the right reasons (the tension of trying to escape a killer, attempting to wipe out everyone in sight, finding that winning strategy from both perspectives). But “DBD” has major problems due to a lack of dedicated servers and the obvious repetitive gameplay that can leave someone wanting more. Without a group of dedicated friends owning copies of the game, “DBD” loses some of its luster. The best suggestion is, if you can, rent this one for a day or two (or play it if it’s available for a free weekend on Steam) and play as both a survivor and a killer. Yes, “Dead By Daylight” gets a little better with leveling up, but the core game never changes and after a couple of hours its obvious whether or not you’ll enjoy this “love it or hate it” experience.


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