The horror game genre is one which has been around for a while now and the formula of playing as someone who gets chased around by scary folks is nothing new. But how about an online horror game where other players are out to get you? Personally, I find this as scary as AI in Alien Isolation that learns your behaviour so it can find ways to kill you! Horror games are predictable in the sense that you will get chased, try to hide and outsmart the game while getting in the odd jump scare here but I don’t enjoy it. In fact, it makes it so I can’t play the game! I know I’m useless at these games and I get so worked up that I’m too freaked out to continue. So when Starbreeze Studios and Behaviour Digital Inc announced that Dead By Daylight was being given a console release, I thought I would try it out.
First thing is first, I am aware that Dead By Daylight was released on PC over a year ago, however as I have actually played about 3 games in my Steam library you can gather that I spend all my time on console. In the couple of days before the console release, I caught up on some useful videos on YouTube to get a feel for the game and knew instantly that this was going to be fun, if not a little stressful. Now the PC release has some features that the console version does not which I will pick up on from the information I have available as there are some things that I hope will be added in future. The Lullaby for the Dark chapter is due for PC soon so I also am banking on the update coming to console before too long!
Dead By Daylight is an online 4v1 multiplayer survival horror experience. You can choose to play as either the Killer or a Survivor and there are different characters to pick from (at the time of writing the Halloween patch was not yet on console so Michael and Laurie are not playable characters). Each Killer has a particular quirk which makes them both terrifying and annoying for Survivors. The Doctor has Shock Therapy which means his terror radius deals electric damage which increases the madness of the Survivor giving away their position and making things more difficult for them and he can set the treatment off to increase that madness. The Trapper has bear traps which can be left on the ground just waiting for Survivors to get stuck and injured. Then there’s the Hag who can leave traps that once set off, she can choose to teleport and chase you down. You get the idea. The more you level your character the more perks and items you will acquire that can help you make life difficult for the Survivors. The Bloodwebs contain perks, items and offerings which can be used to help and hinder. Building up your inventory will allow you to pick and choose what you take into a game to help you survive or kill your opponents.
As the Killer, your role is simple: kill the Survivors by sacrificing them to the Entity and prevent any from escaping. You will roam the various maps in first person searching for your prey and looking for telltale signs that they are around, be it orange scratches showing you someone is running about in the area or crows cawing at their whereabouts. If a generator blows you’ll be alerted to it and if someone vaults through a window too quickly or in a panic knocks down a pallet, it will tell you where they are. You will hunt and chase the Survivors, hopefully hitting them twice to knock them down before carrying them to a hook and hope their friends don’t rescue them. Now if you swing and miss, you will have a short cool down before you can pick up the chase again. If a Survivor wiggles free, again you will be a little disorientated giving them a few seconds head start. If like me, you just want to have some fun, you can build up some points by smashing pallets, hitting and hooking people as often as possible and damaging the generators they’re working on. The one thing I would say is unless you have a group of high rank survivors who know what they’re doing, then don’t camp. Camping is annoying and makes it less fun for everyone. At the end of the day, you get more points for chasing, hitting and hooking people so why not drag the game out a little longer and make the Survivors suffer?
I haven’t played as much killer as I would like to which was a bad idea as now the Survivors are all high level and high ranked so their perks are really good and more often than not, they escape as a group because they have duped me (because I don’t like to camp). The worst one being some folks who literally gave me the run around so I couldn’t hit any of them, it was great team work and I respect it when a group work well together to annoy the Killer. My only hope is that one day the match making is based on your character level rather than ranking. This is because you may have had 3 good rounds as Killer to rank up, but you may only still be level 3 or 4 depending on what you spent your bloodpoints on. At the moment, I’m not sure how the matchmaking is decided as I am around rank 18/19 since the new season started as was against a rank 8 survivor. So my tip for the devs would be to see if Killers can be matched with Survivors of a similar level to make it a little better. It would be pretty harsh for a new Survivor to go against a rank 1, level 25 Killer so I would say the same would apply for new Killers vs experienced Survivors.
But are the killers any good? If you learn how to use them then I would say they can be. Once you unlock perks that make your life a little easier then you are almost unstoppable unless the Survivors have good perks to counter yours that is. Watching HybridPanda videos following Al’s recommendation have been really helpful in working out which Hex perks would come in handy and stack to make the most of your build. If the Survivors destroy your totems, your Hex could be removed and that could put a crimp on your day. Killer-wise, I tend to find the Nurse, Doctor and Wraith to be the most frustrating to play against because they can either teleport, shock you or be invisible! So playing as these guys in a lot of fun. Tactically though, I do enjoy the Trapper, Hag and Hillbilly but I really need to spend some bloodpoints and time leveling the Killers up so I can get some of the better perks as at a lower level, Survivors can walk all over you if they want.
As for the Survivors, you have seven to choose from on console at this time! Like the Killer, you will level up using your bloodpoints earned by playing the objective. Survivors will have access to most perks but some are unique to particular characters. Most of my characters are around level 10 now as I like to change it up and level them all rather than just sticking with one. My main picks are Claudette who can have the ability to heal herself in an injured state and Meg just because I enjoy saying Meg… if you watch my streams you’ll see what I mean. Survivors also get items which may be Medkits, Tool Boxes, torches, maps and even keys which can come in handy if you want to help the ground out but beware that should you die or drop your items they will be lost. There are chests within the killing grounds which will have items in them, if you escape with these, you keep them for another time. Now as the maps are procedurally generated, this means that generators, chests, exits and escape hatches (which spawns if you do enough gens) will not be in the same place. This also affects the Killer as the basement and hooks also change each round. Your goal is to hopefully work together to power up 5 generators to open the exits while avoiding and evading the Killer. Now, depending on your play style you will learn quickly that sometimes slowly does it as moving fast or loudly may alert the killer to your location. There is nothing more annoying than working on a generator and another player coming over and slamming down a pallet when the Killer isn’t even around. Thanks mate, you’ve just told them where I am, brilliant! People who do things like that are less likely to get rescued by me, just to let you know!
I try to ensure everyone makes it out but if you have a camping Killer, then I will go back to work on a generator because I want to draw the Killer away from the dying person who is hooked up. My tip for anyone who gets hooked: Don’t try to escape unless you really have to. There is only a 4% base chance of success and you have a good 30 seconds to a minute before you enter the struggle phase in which you will need to mashed a button repeatedly in order to avoid sacrifice and give your buddies a chance to rescue you. You’ll be able to see the auras of your friends and if they are coming in for the rescue, let them come to get you so you all get points and the opportunity to escape the game. I have only escaped the hook once in the many games I have played so unless you have the perk that increases your chances, just hang out (as it were) and hope your friends come to help you out. There is no in-game chat unless you are in a party of course, so you kind of have to hope they will head on over to help.
Healing, sabotaging and generator repairs come with skill checks which you will need to hit in order to succeed. You may get 10 skill checks, you may only get two but either way if you mess these up, the Killer will be alerted to your location because of the noises your failure will be produced. These checks also get you points so best to try and hit them. If more than one of you is working on something, you all get skill checks so you have to hope your chums don’t mess up as it will set back the progression and lead the Killer to you! Usually if someone blows the gen and it isn’t me, I scamper off so I don’t get murdered, but if I mess up, I will stay to try and fix things because I’m nice like that. You’ll know if the Killer is nearby because a heartbeat will start up and the music will begin to build up. The closer they are the faster and louder things become so you will need to utilise your handy 3rd-person viewpoint to see where the Killer is and try to either run or creep around hoping that they don’t spot you. You can pull down pallets, vault through windows or hide in cupboards that are dotted around. Note that if you linger somewhere too long then the crows will descend upon you and they take ages to go away. Pallets can be destroyed by the Killer and if they get too close, they can grab you while you vault or hide in the cupboard. They can also grab you if you are trying to rescue someone from a hook or don’t run from the generator in time and you’ll be over their shoulder pretty quickly. You can try to wiggle furiously to get out of their grasp and if you unlock the Decisive Strike perk you have an extra chance of escaping if you hit the skill check. Either way, you don’t want to get hooked for too long or more than twice as you’ll die.
Playing as the Survivor can be a mixture of enjoyable, terrifying and frustrating. High level players usually work well together and you can tell who they are by their behaviour. New players need some guidance so if someone is obviously new, I try to help them out but when you get idiots who deliberately don’t help or just disconnect altogether because they got caught, it makes it a little more difficult to enjoy. I had 3 people disconnect in one game and only 1 generator had been done. The hatch doesn’t spawn unless you do 3 generators so I had to keep going… I died on my way to the hatch as the Killer camped but it was so frustrating when we could have helped each other escape and you don’t get any points for disconnecting. If you are really annoying the Killer, there’s a chance they will disconnect which ends the game as the Killer is always the host. Again, it’s annoying but there isn’t much you can do about it. The only problem I find is that lag plays a heavy part in ruining your Survivor experience. Whether it’s a server issue or a host issue I’m not sure but the game can be very unstable at times making it impossible to move around or escape a chase. I know this has also been a problem on PC so I imagine it’s more to do with host.
I do enjoy the game but it can be a little buggy at times. The graphics are gritty and unpolished which I don’t really have too much of a problem with as it suits the typically old school horror movie look and feel. The characters and the animation can be a little ropey sometimes but I can deal with it. It only becomes a bit of an issue when there are bugs that are just irritating such as falling off the map instead of escaping so the game puts you back near the exit and you have to try and escape again. Alternatively, if the game bugs out when you are trying to rescue someone on a hook or repair a generator, it can be a little detrimental but you can only hope that luck is on your side if it happens.
A list of things I would like for the console release are as follows: an audio split so you balance the audio a little better; to be able to see the hours played or ranks of fellow survivors; a way of communicating with players after the game just to give a ‘GG’ as I have never used the thumbs up/down at the end of a match; to stay as a group rather than having to send out invites every time you want to play with your friends. I appreciate some of these things are easier to arrange on PC but I would really like for these things to be on console too if possible.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy playing Dead By Daylight. It is my go to game to for streaming at the moment as it’s fun, infuriating and challenging at the same time while possibly being vaguely amusing to watch me shout and scream. The concept is effective and brings in the aspects of unpredictability as you play against people online rather than an AI opponent. If you can get a group together, you can either Survive with your friends against an online Killer or play a private, unranked match with your party which allows you to take turns in hunting each other with all perks and items unlocked so you can see what’s available if you level up. The ranking system works well and rewards you for getting as many points as possible and I also find it fairer than simply losing a pip because you die. If you put the work in, you might die and still rank up or just stay where you are. There are enough maps to keep you going and as nothing is in the same place every round, even if you do the same killing ground three times, it will still be a mixed result. I look forward to seeing what will come in the future and with the imminent arrival of the Halloween content, it will be fun to have a new map, Killer and Survivor to try out but also crossing everything that the new Lullaby for the Dark chapter will come to console shortly after the PC release.
If you want to know more, head to the Dead By Daylight website!