Title: Dead By Daylight
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Koch Media
Genre: Action, Multiplayer, Shooter
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 17+ Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Release Date: 24/09/2019
By daylight, dead…
The story in Dead By Daylight isn’t really explained at all in the opening sequence of the game. There are a few hints in some of the small text available in the character’s biographies, but apart from that it’s not really mentioned. If you want to look into the lore of Dead By Daylight then it is well worth checking out the official wiki.
For a brief abridged version, here is a summary:
The entity is a supernatural being that has been awoken from its slumber. The creature is drawn to acts of extreme violence and evil, however, to survive the entity requires a blood sacrifice to quench its thirst. In order to ensure survival, it drags the most violent killers from multiple different universes into its own personal hell. Once there, it makes a pact with its newfound slayers to kill, mane and sacrifice their victims on the sacrificial hooks provided. The entity will feed off their hopes and dreams before absorbing them to fill its ever-growing lust for blood. New victims will be delivered to the killing ground for the killers to kill and for the entity to feed. Of course, there has to be a balance between good and evil and if the survivor can complete their challenges in the killing grounds, then they are free to escape.
Dead By Daylight reminds me a lot of Friday the 13th, as this, much like the latter, is an asymmetric multiplayer experience in which a single individual plays as one of the iconic killers and the other four players are the survivors. The game is a little different from Friday the 13th, so let’s talk about the core experience of Dead by Daylight. But first…
Online experience only…
To make you aware, this is an online-only experience and requires an online Nintendo subscription to play. The game also has some microtransactions for new killers, survivors, and cosmetics.
Upon starting Dead By Daylight for the first time, there is a tutorial that is available to play which lets you play as one of the killers or a survivor. This teaches you the basics of how to play as both and how the core mechanics work in the game.
The Killer has a single mission which is to kill all survivors in the environment. Your first mission is to locate any survivors in the area by looking for a clear sign such as the red crawl marks which appear when a survivor is either discovered or fleeing. Following these can normally lead you to a fleeing human or one who is hiding nearby. You may also want to listen out for a heartbeat as it normally means a player is hiding in one of the many hiding spots.
Each killer has their own abilities which focus on a main attack and a secondary ability. These are all completely unique for each killer. You’ll earn blood currency from completing matches and levelling up which you can use in your blood web – found in your load-out menu. Completing sections in each blood web will allow you to level-up which will unlock new webs, upgrades and additional perks for you to equip. Levelling up will also unlock additional slots and offerings that can be equipped with extra passive abilities for a single match. These can change up matches, allowing you new strategies and abilities while playing online.
There are a couple of killers that are available at the very beginning of the game: Trapper, Wraith, Hillbilly, Nurse, Hag, Doctor, Huntress, Spirit and the Clown. However, there are some killers that can only be purchased from the DBDL shop with real currency.
A thirst for success
Upon finding and chasing down your prey, you’ll be able to strike them with your attacks or specials to weaken them and put them in a dying state. It is at this point that you can pick them up and carry them to one of the available hooks which are highlighted in red and found around each setting. The killer has the ability to see were all available hooks are located with their killer version. Once you’ve reached a hook you can impale a survivor on to it. While a survivor is hooked they will be put in the dying state and if they are unable to escape or be rescued they will be consumed by the entity.
In bed by daylight
If you’re a survivor however the game feels completely different as you’ll play in a third-person perspective. This is in stark contrast to the killer who operates from a first-person perspective. As a survivor, you have a few different tasks that you need to do to escape the entity and ultimately, the killing grounds.
As soon as the match begins, you’ll need to work as a team to turn on a series of generators that are placed around each landscape. You won’t have any unique powers like a killer but you’ll have some unique perks that grant you a few unique skills that may help you escape the killer’s grasp. In addition to the lack of unique powers, you also won’t be able to see any of the generators around the environment until you discover them. However, you can look for signs around each environment like lamps flicking or searchlights that are powered on.
Upon finding a generator you will need to fix it, however, this will take time and leave you vulnerable. Now and again, a spot-check will occur allowing you to fix the generator a little quicker. If you miss this little quick-time event you will blow your cover with a small engine stutter, which results in the killer being able to see you. If the killer does see you, you’ll need to run, use obstacles, walls, and palettes to lose your tail and return to the generator later on – a music cue will sound when the killer is close. You can knock down palettes to temporarily stun killers or hide in tall grass or behind walls and even hide in lockers to escape. But beware, as you try to escape you’ll leave behind those dreaded red claw marks which a killer can follow.
If you’re successful though and repair a few generators, two doors at the side of each setting will become active. All you need to do is find the exit door and activate the switch to unlock them, which is easier said than done. Thankfully there are two doors on either side of the level and splitting up is an option. Also, if you happen to find a chest or key you can try and locate a hatch that is hidden somewhere in each level. You can make a quick escape through this but beware that the killer can close this hatch.
There are a variety of items available to the survivors to aid survival including torches to stun killers or medical kits to heal allies or yourself. I found being a survivor really fun and at times quite scary, especially when having to run away from a terrifying killer is exhilarating. But I also loved playing as the killer and hunting down my prey. Both sides are equally fun but I think if I had to pick my favourite it would be the killer overall. The dark atmosphere and sense of dread are palpable, which I just love in Dead By Daylight.
Survive or conquer
Dead By Daylight is a deadly cat and mouse chase around some very creepy environments. As the killer, you feel quite overwhelmed at first but soon feel powerful when you start taking down survivors. The survivors can either work together as a team to complete each generator or divide and conquer. An alternative approach is to let fellow team-mates suffer while you escape – it’s your choice. There’s a lot of customisation in Dead By Daylight which allows you to change costumes, spend points on your blood web, and select what perks you want your character to equip.
Dead on arrival
My biggest complaint here is the lack of single-player content. It doesn’t exist whatsoever in Dead By Daylight which is disappointing. This also leads me into my second gripe: finding matches as survivors can take a few minutes, but if you want to play as the killer it can take a lot longer. It got to the point where I thought the game had got stuck as I was approaching the four-minute mark which is a little too long to have to wait. Fortunately, when a match is found, they run pretty well and I didn’t experience any lag whatsoever which was good.
What worries me most is when matches can’t be found at all. If for any reason the community loses its interest in the title then this would cripple the game completely. It would be unplayable without a community and that’s why I think it is so important to have some sort of cross-play available.
I really love Dead By Daylight, the fantastic killers and their powers, coupled with the fragile lifeline of the survivors create a very unique set of gameplay mechanics. There is a lot of variety here, unfortunately, accessible via dreaded microtransactions. Of course, you don’t need to purchase anything if you won’t want to. I did purchase a new killer in the form of the awesome Demogorgon from Stranger Things – an excellent crossover!
When you do get a chance to play online its thrilling, exciting and quite a scary experience. While graphics and sound may not be on par with other versions of the game, I thought the game looked great on the Switch screen and felt like the game had a great, eerie atmosphere. My concerns around the multiplayer-only elements are a sticking point that had the potential to severely limit its longevity. Hopefully, the developers continue to support the title with new content and updates. The inclusion of cross-play would be very much welcome too.
Rapid Reviews Rating
I want to thank @Dvazquez5138 from Twitter for sending me this title – it was a lovely surprise and I personally wanted to thank you.
If you would like to purchase Dead By Daylight for your Nintendo Switch, you can pick it up here: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Dead-by-Daylight-1576022.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.