By Tom Norton
“Death is not an escape“, is the tagline of this new indie title, developed by Montreal-based studio Behaviour Digital, famous for the largest crowdfunded game of all time, Star Citizen. Pitting a disjointed team of four survivors against a killer straight from a Hammer Horror flick, Dead by Daylight promises intense action, and certainly delivers.
Survivors must work together to turn on a series of generators located in the maze-like compound in which the game takes place , all while hiding from the killer or fleeing for their lives if spotted. Once enough generators are powered up, the doors to the compound open, and the survivors’ next task is to find the door and escape, with zero voice or text communication. For the killer, his task is to hunt down the survivors, knock them down, and carry them to and place them on one of many meat-hooks located throughout the level. Once “hooked”, survivors slowly begin to bleed out, though they may be rescued by other survivors should they display an altruistic streak to their in-game personality.
To balance the struggle between good and evil, the killer’s view is first-person, while the survivors enjoy a third-person perspective, giving them the informational advantage over the killer, due to their much wider field-of-view. Actions in-game, be they altruistic or self-interested, reward the player with points used for character progression, allowing them to acquire tools and abilities. The game also features competitive elo-based matchmaking, to ensure that in each game, players come up against opponents of similar skill.
Graphically, this game is on par with many of the Triple-A titles unveiled at E3 this year, with gorgeous lighting, high-res textures and well-designed UI. This doesn’t seem to come at a cost to performance, an issue which plagues other first-release indie games, with many users reporting stable frame-rates above 30 fps across the board. Gory visuals and strong killer style really make the prospect of being caught as a survivor horribly frightening.
Sound cues are an important feature in Dead by Daylight, and as one would expect from the creators of Star Citizen, the sound in-game is both well-conceived and well implemented to create the game’s immersive feel. Survivors hear their heartbeat grow louder and louder as the killer draws near. This, coupled with a crescendo of the standard horror score fare instills the unfortunate survivor with a strong sense of panic as he/she struggles to finish powering on a generator or rescuing a hooked teammate.
The game’s design may hurt its success, unfortunately. Survivors can work together, but are by no means a real “team”. No in-game voice/text chat support means that when you’re in, you’re on your own. This choice does, however, give advantages to the impatient player. When a survivor is either dead or has escaped, they can immediately find another match, instead of having to wait for the match’s conclusion, as in many other team-based multiplayer games.
Good graphics, paired with fantastic sound design and strong gameplay mechanics help this game feel modern, immersive, and truly terrifying. 8/10.
See the Developers talk about it here:
‘Dead by Daylight’ is now available for purchase on Steam.