Dead By Daylight Review
There’s a lot to like about Dead by Daylight’s unique world, even if you can take or leave the inclusion of well-known movie killers. But as long as it remains a purely competitive game with an unsatisfying progression system, it will likely only ever find success as a niche titleView Game Page Rate Game
Dead by Daylight has a lot of style, but little substance.
A little while back, Behavior Interactive launched the latest DLC chapter for its asymmetrical competitive horror game Dead by Daylight, a chapter which introduces elements from the SAW movie franchise. The SAW Chapter is just the latest in a series of special movie tie-in DLC packs, with previous chapters focusing on other memorable horror icons like Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Nightmare on Elm Street.
These movie-themed chapters coexist with Behavior Interactive’s more original efforts to expand Dead by Daylight’s content offerings by adding in new maps and playable characters. Behavior even went ahead and crafted an in-game narrative which ties all of the chapters together, movie chapters included. However, as intriguing as a world where Freddy Krueger can coexist alongside Leatherface and Michael Meyers is, that intrigue sadly doesn’t do a whole lot in making Dead by Daylight a fun game to play. This noticeable disconnect between the game’s potential and what it actually offers is a shame since, with a few tweaks and additions, Behavior could have one heck of a horror game gem on its hands.
In a positive light, it’s hard to deny that Behavior really nailed the experience of playing an interactive horror movie scenario. Within the fiction of Dead by Daylight, an ancient being known only as “The Entity” is able to pluck survivors and serial murders alike straight out of their own realities. The Entity then drops its chosen subjects into a dark alternate world where the killers must perpetually hunt the survivors so that they can offer them as sacrifices and hopefully appease their enigmatic puppet master. Thanks to the fluid and often purposefully vague nature of this fiction, Behavior can pull ideas directly from other established works, hence the presence of well-known movie killers and playable survivors like Left 4 Dead’s Bill.
The actual moment-to-moment gameplay which Dead by Daylight offers is fairly compelling as well, with a typical match consisting of four player-controlled survivors who must elude one player-controlled killer as they work together to (hopefully) escape. Meanwhile, the killer’s only goal is to hunt down the survivors and sacrifice them to The Entity. Playing as a survivor is about as nerve-wracking as you can imagine, while playing as the killer provides an addictive power fantasy rush, especially if you’re controlling one of the game’s movie killers.
Sadly, as fun as Dead by Daylight’s gameplay can be, there’s little incentive to stick around over the long term. The game’s ‘Bloodweb’ progression system is quite deep, but it’s also not very easy for newer players to understand. Even for more dedicated players, the Bloodweb offers little else other than limited-use items which slightly alter the parameters of the player’s next match. Currently, there’s also only one mode of play, the default 4v1 asymmetrical mode mentioned above. Granted, Dead by Daylight’s ever-growing cast of characters combined with the various items and offerings that players can equip usually means that no two matches play out in the exact same manner. However, only having one basic mode of play is a hard flaw to ignore, especially for a multiplayer-only game. Plus it’s never fun to have your entire team slaughtered in the first five minutes by a highly-skilled killer decked out in powerful perks, or vice versa if you prefer playing as the killer.
There’s a lot to like about Dead by Daylight’s unique world, even if you can take or leave the inclusion of well-known movie killers. But as long as it remains a purely competitive game with an unsatisfying progression system, it will likely only ever find success as a niche title. Gameplay additions like a co-op mode of some sort or even solo scenarios which let players enjoy Dead by Daylight while playing offline could certainly help to draw more players in, but that’s just the start. Dead by Daylight has proved it has enough staying power to overcome its rocky beginnings and even flourish as a niche title. If Behavior Interactive really wants Dead by Daylight to succeed, it has to show it isn’t afraid to introduce some truly radical new ideas, ones which go beyond a mostly superficial callback to the horror movie icons of yesteryear.
Dead By Daylight
There’s a lot to like about Dead by Daylight’s unique world, even if you can take or leave the inclusion of well-known movie killers. But as long as it remains a purely competitive game with an unsatisfying progression system, it will likely only ever find success as a niche title
A powerful and unpredictable new killer
More additions to a great library of slayers, survivors and maps
Incredible (and terrifying) use of sound
Framing narrative never quite ties in with the gameplay
More meat and substance would be welcome