Dead by Daylight review: This genre is close to DOA

Credit: Starbreeze Studios
Credit: Starbreeze Studios /

Dead by Daylight is another entry in the 4v1 game that has big potential and fails to deliver.

Developer: Behavior Interactive
Publisher: Starbreeze AB
Platform: PS4 (Version reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: June 20th, 2017

Video game developers seem to think they have a winner on their hands when it comes to the 4v1 multiplayer game. It certainly seems like something that could gain a big following if it’s done right. The problem is, so far no one has really been able to hit that mark. Dead by Daylight, like the other games that came before it trying to jump start a genre, looks like a game that just might get the job done. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the game to once again show off the genre’s weaknesses…and there are plenty.

This isn’t a brand new game. It’s been out on the PC for quite a while now and has a pretty solid following. Unfortunately, it appears the developers didn’t take the opportunity to take what falls short on the PC and shape and improve it for the console launch. Instead, it seems as though this is little more than a straight port. Most frustrating of all is that the port seems to have brought some brand new bugs along with it.

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For those not familiar with Dead by Daylight, it’s an online only game that has four players taking on the role of “survivors” and one person taking on the role of the killer. The release date will likely make some people think this is a knock off of the Friday the 13th game but Dead by Daylight arrived before the more talked about survival horror game. The goals of the two titles are roughly the same, with some notable changes.

Credit: Starbreeze Studios
Credit: Starbreeze Studios /

In Dead by Daylight, there is no way to fight back against the killer. It’s all about escaping the clutches of one of a decent roster of monsters and ghosts that all have their own powers, weaknesses and ways to kill. The survivors need to either repair five broken down generators and then reach the exits, or the final survivor needs to find the trap door in order to live to run another day. This means the round can be as long or as short as it takes to complete the tasks.

This is where the game first falls a bit short. Games like this have to offer something up in order to have replayability. In the 4v1 game Evolve, the players have a rather large map to play on, where they can try and lay traps and try and take the monster down. Each character has a different set of talents that go into winning the round and taking those monsters down. In Friday the 13th, the survivors can actually fight back against Jason. Even if he’s incredibly hard to kill, he can be stopped for a bit or slowed down.

In Dead by Daylight, attempting to fix the generators and then running away screaming is the only way to play. Don’t get me wrong, there is a definite rush that comes along with running away from the killer, swerving, juking and jiving, and desperately trying to lose him or her in order to survive for just a little bit longer. The rush just doesn’t last long enough.

Dead by Daylight
Credit: Starbreeze Studios /

The rush takes hold for an even shorter period of time after several rounds. This is also thanks to the fact that there just aren’t that many maps, or if there are, its hard to get a luck of the draw where I got to see a new one. For most of the rounds I played, whether I was the killer or a survivor, I saw a grand total of two maps. Finally, on one of the last rounds I played before writing this review, I got to see a new backdrop. Unfortunately, while the scenery was different, the layout felt far too similar to the other locations to really get me charged up and wanting to play more.

I’m the kinda guy who enjoys playing the villain from time to time, so having the ability to be the killer was certainly a draw. The problem is, it doesn’t appear there is any shortage of people who want to play the bad guy. It also doesn’t appear Dead by Daylight has a real player base on the PS4 just yet. There were more than a few times when I’d pick my baddie, create a lobby and wait for four survivors to pop in so I could punch their tickets. Then I’d wait…and wait…and wait some more. There was one evening where I let the game sit, just to see how long it would go before I’d get even a single survivor to join. After an hour, I surrendered and went back to being a victim instead of the victimizer.

Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight /

A lack of maps and a player base that isn’t quite big enough are small potatoes compared to the less than impressive appearance of Dead by Daylight. The opening cinematics are very pretty. The actual gameplay visuals look like something that could have just as easily appeared on the last generation. The visuals are especially unimpressive when it would be important to be at their best. This is when the bad guy is delivering the killing blow and when the victim is being stuck up on one of the many hooks, as a kind of offering to a vague evil force that takes the survivor off the board once and for all.

When the big bad does catch up to one of its targets and bring down its weapon, there isn’t any kind of satisfying blow. Instead the weapon swings through the air in the proximity of the survivor, the victim yells out and is suddenly on the ground. The way the devs have chosen to animate the penultimate moments of the game is especially frustrating, because this is also where some of the coolest mechanics come into play.

First, there is the situation where the victim has been caught and hoisted over the shoulder of the monster. Thrashing and moving back and forth can, on occasion actually set the survivor free, as long as they thrash enough before the pair reach the hook. The hook, too, should be something to truly dread, it should have been gross and foreboding and should have a little more pomp and circumstance. Instead, you don’t get to really see the person get hung up there, you just hear a noise and there you are.  You can also attempt to get yourself off the hook, though it’s not clear what it really takes to do this with any consistent success. This is also the place where the most glitches occur. On more than one occasion I could see through my character or from a rather weird angle that isn’t useful or adds anything to the game.

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Dead by Daylight. 3.5. Dead by Daylight has enough positive in it that this isn’t a terrible game. The problem is that it’s just not a particularly good one. The look of the game seems to be one that could fit just as easily on the previous generation, and the replayability factor is rather low given the limited maps and ways to win.. Behaviour Interactive.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.