When it comes to games, the simplest ones like tag and hide-and-seek are often the most enjoyable. This is evident in the popularity of mods such as GMOD’s Prop Hunt and Team Fortress 2’s Versus Saxton Hale. It proves that instead of trying to create something entirely new, sometimes all you need to do is present it in a different way.
Behaviour Interactive has transformed the classic game of hide-and-seek into an asymmetrical horror experience with Dead by Daylight. Although some may confuse it with survival or action horror games such as Silent Hill (especially with the inclusion of Pyramid Head in both), Dead by Daylight is a more straightforward and competitive game.
Dead by Daylight
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Behaviour Interactive
Platforms: Windows PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Fundamentally, Dead by Daylight is more of a competitive game than a horror game. Although the macabre visuals provide an enjoyable setting, the killers lose their ability to frighten after a few hours and become conquerable adversaries.
In this PvP game, players can opt for one of two roles: either take on the role of a killer and attempt to eliminate the survivors before they can flee, or play as a survivor who must navigate the stage, repairing generators to activate the exit gates and make their escape. The game is designed to be asymmetrical, offering players a unique and challenging experience.
Survivors must remain vigilant as certain actions, such as fixing a generator, may trigger an unexpected “skill check.” This quick-time event is accompanied by an alert sound, and failing it results in lost progress and a loud noise. Additionally, a small portion of the skill check offers bonus progress and points, tempting both greedy and skilled players.
Both the survivors and the killer in the game have access to perks, add-ons, and offerings that aid them in achieving their objectives. Perks are inherent abilities that each character can equip up to four of, and can significantly alter their gameplay style. These perks can also work in tandem with each other. The killer’s add-ons directly enhance their innate abilities, while the survivor’s add-ons affect the items they can bring into the game.
Consumable items known as offerings are utilized at the beginning of a game. These items have various effects, such as determining the game’s map, the number of item chests available, or influencing the amount of “Blood Points” earned at the end of a match. These points are used to unlock perks, add-ons, items, and offerings within the game.
The selection of perks and add-ons is the crucial decision-making point for both imaginative and competitive players prior to a game. This highlights that Dead by Daylight is primarily a competitive PvP game rather than a horror game.
In an effort to maintain game balance, perks, add-ons, and powers are frequently adjusted and refined to prevent players from exploiting them. These modifications are made in good faith to ensure fairness in gameplay.
Each map’s design offers strategic advantages for both survivors and killers. Killers can choose to focus on protecting a select few generators, creating a challenging situation for survivors later on. They can also take advantage of the difficult-to-escape basement or apply pressure by hitting multiple survivors before committing to a chase.
Survivors have various tactics to create distance from killers, such as leaping through windows at a faster pace, dropping wooden pallets to temporarily slow down their pursuers, and hiding inside lockers. The game involves more than just a simple chase and evasion dynamic.
To succeed in Dead by Daylight, mastering skill and time management is crucial. Engaging in chases can be thrilling, as players utilize walls and various tools to outsmart killers or deceive survivors into running towards them. By paying attention to the game’s cues, such as the Terror Radius, skilled players can effectively confuse and disorient their opponents.
Rewritten: Despite facing a killer, survivors do not have to feel helpless. Skilled survivors can evade a killer for extended periods, and certain perks can counteract the killer’s actions. For instance, survivors can sabotage hooks while the killer is carrying another survivor, and a flashlight can temporarily blind the killer.
Playing as a survivor and successfully escaping, or as a killer and landing a hit, can be incredibly satisfying in this game. However, the game ensures that its asymmetrical player versus player gameplay remains balanced by incorporating additional scoring elements beyond just survival or killing.
Survivors can still rank up even if they die, and killers can rank up even if they only kill a few survivors. The speed at which generators are powered, the duration of survivors’ injuries (and whether they are healed), and the length of chases all contribute to a player’s final score at the end of a game.
Although Dead by Daylight is an enjoyable and ambitious game that has improved significantly over time, it is not without its flaws. The game’s limited modes include only a ranked mode and a private lobby mode, which does not offer any point-earning opportunities.
While not necessarily a problem, survivors in ranked mode are able to form lobbies in Dead by Daylight without the aid of in-game voice chat. This opens up the possibility for them to gain a strategic advantage by utilizing external chat applications such as Discord.
Behaviour Interactive actively encourages this activity, and the official Dead by Daylight Discord server has designated voice channels for groups playing “Survive With Friends.”
Dead by Daylight suffers from an abundance of DLC, with the total cost of the base game and all DLC (excluding cosmetic items) with characters exceeding $120 USD. However, the game’s microtransaction store is one of the least exploitative I have encountered in a game.
As players engage in gameplay, their account progresses and they earn Iridescent Shards, a valuable currency. These shards can be utilized to purchase a variety of cosmetic items, but their primary significance lies in unlocking characters and their associated perks that are otherwise inaccessible without purchasing DLC.
Licensed IPs characters like Ghostface, Michael Myers, or Leatherface are the only exception to this rule. Nevertheless, players can still unlock the perks associated with these characters using Iridescent Shards.
Apart from the distinctive abilities that killers possess, all gameplay features in the game can be accessed using the free currency. Additionally, there are no lootboxes or random elements involved. Players have the option to use their free or premium currency to purchase desired items after making an informed decision.
Visually, the elements blend seamlessly with distinct textures and recognizable visual indicators. The quality of textures and graphics continues to improve, particularly with certain stages receiving a visual enhancement. This upgrade was revealed during the fourth anniversary celebration of Dead by Daylight.
Similar to other competitive games, playing on lower settings can provide a gameplay advantage in Dead by Daylight. With less ground clutter, it becomes easier to spot survivors. While certain cosmetics may be more noticeable than others, the most effective skins for hiding are the bloodied “prestige” skins that cannot be purchased and must be earned through gameplay.
Visual cues play a significant role in the gameplay of both survivors and killers. Killers keep an eye out for scratch marks left by fleeing survivors, while survivors search for flashing lights that indicate the presence of a nearby generator that needs repair. Additionally, certain perks and abilities enable players to see auras, which are illuminated outlines of objects or other players that can be seen through walls under specific circumstances.
Audio cues hold equal if not greater significance than visual cues. In Dead by Daylight, survivors must pay attention to the killer’s “”Terror Radius”” – a musical cue that signals their presence. Additionally, they must listen for the sound of a growing heartbeat, which increases in volume as the killer draws closer. The intensity of the heartbeat serves as a direct indicator of the killer’s proximity.”
Behaviour Interactive has added special music to enhance the thrill of a chase with a killer. Moreover, they are currently revisiting the killers’ unique music to complement their terror radius.
The inability to adjust the music volume in Dead by Daylight is intentional. The intense music that plays during a chase is intended to aid survivors in their escape. This is because the music continues to play even when a killer has a low or non-existent terror radius, which can be caused by a perk or power. Additionally, the killer is also able to hear the music, and if a survivor manages to evade them, the music persists for a few seconds to mask the sound of their footsteps.
Certain perks in the game alter the way audio cues function. One such perk for killers reduces and eventually eliminates the sound warning for skill checks, creating a challenge for players who rely on this familiar aspect.
The narrative of Dead by Daylight is not explicitly stated, but rather conveyed through character portrayals, contextual hints in item descriptions, and lately, in exclusive journal entries found during “Rifts.”
Dead by Daylight’s Rifts are seasonal events that offer players the opportunity to earn cosmetic items and complete challenges, both for free and through premium options. By successfully completing challenges, players can also collect journal entries that unlock cutscenes revealing the backstories of the game’s characters.
In Dead by Daylight, the setting is a separate realm crafted by an enigmatic and powerful entity referred to as “The Entity.” This entity appears to thrive on emotions of both hope and fear. Participants from various dimensions are brought together to engage in ritualistic trials, which are essentially the matches played in the game. These trials involve both survivors and killers.
The Entity relentlessly maims and kills survivors until their essence is completely depleted. Nevertheless, some inhabitants of The Entity’s realm possess knowledge of its true nature and possess a restricted capacity to alter reality within it.
The non-playable characters, also known as side characters, are identified mainly through contextual hints in the game items. They do not have any impact on the gameplay. For instance, Vigo is a scientist or engineer, Benedict Baker is a survivor who leaves his notes behind, and The Observer has a restricted ability to access the memories of those who reside in The Entity’s Realm.
In the end, Dead by Daylight reigns supreme in its genre. This game offers a unique and intense hide-and-seek experience, complete with a chilling atmosphere. Even the creators at Behaviour Interactive couldn’t surpass their own creation, as their game Deathgarden shut down its servers earlier this year.
Individuals seeking a PvP game that deviates from the typical FPS, MOBA, or Battle Royale games flooding the market will discover numerous appealing features.
Those looking for a PvP game that’s different from the usual FPS, MOBA, or Battle Royale titles saturating the market will find a lot to like.