Today, guest contributor Louis Huderski brings Unique Drops a recommendation that might have fallen under your radar. It is a different take on the 4v1 formula with some inventive gameplay and amazing atmosphere.
Dead by Daylight is a horror survival game whose environment, story, and gameplay mechanics strengthen the overall gameplay experience. The game is reminiscent of Evolve, but has a very unique feel to it. Instead of an action oriented game where one team battles a boss-like player, you have a team of survivors trying to achieve objectives and escape the map while being hunted by a single killer that cannot be killed;the survivors have no choice but to flee and hope to escape with their lives.
The atmosphere in this game is one of a kind. The music and sounds are gripping. The way the music changes as the killer approaches is brilliant. A quiet moment can suddenly change to terror as you hear the telltale heart beat approaching. The closer the killer gets to you, the louder the heartbeat becomes. And should you manage to escape his chase, you’ll be rewarded with some soothing music to calm things down a bit. It’s a stimulating, stressful experience that’s effective and even overwhelming at times;you may find yourself having to take a break just to calm down.
On the opposite side of things, the killer is all about hunting and trapping your prey as they try to evade you. And while this may sound easy, it’s actually a lot harder than you’d think. As a killer, you’re forced to play in first-person perspective (the survivors play in third-person) so it’s easy to lose track of your quarry if they’re quick and clever. A killer needs to be constantly observing the environment for both visual and audio cues to help her find her prey. A sudden direction change or fakeout can result in a lost survivor putting you back at square one.
Luckily, each killer is a bit unique and has a special trait to help them find and catch survivors. The Wraith can turn invisible which turns off any warnings as he approaches. The Hillbilly has a chainsaw that he uses to run and cut down survivors in a single attack. The Trapper has bear traps that he can set around the level to help him catch unwary survivors, and the Nurse has the power to teleport short distances to easily catch up with the survivors. These special abilities can also be combined with perks to make the killers even more deadly. I personally enjoy playing the Wraith as invisibility can be used for very satisfying captures and kills while scaring the crap out of unsuspecting survivors.
Another interesting aspect of the game is the leveling system. As you play, your character gains levels which gives you access to a “bloodweb” where you can spend your blood (experience) to buy boons for your characters.
Characters can obtain things like items, add-ons, offerings, and perks, all of which help your character perform and change some of the game mechanics. Perks are especially interesting as they often give your character new abilities making them a bit more effective at surviving or killing. Items, add-ons, and offerings are temporary boons that generally enhance or change the game in some way. Items and add-ons (for the survivor) can be kept from level to level, but only if you continue to survive.
Each time you fully buy out a page of the bloodweb, you’re given access to a new, semi-random bloodweb with all new items, add-ons, offerings, and perks to buy. At level 10, the entity begins to eat up parts of your bloodweb (non-purchased parts) as you go. So there is some strategy in which items you should go for.
As a survivor, I personally enjoy playing Claudette with the Premonition, Self-Care, Botany, and Spine Chill perks. (Premonition will trigger if a killer is approaching from within 30 yards of the direction I’m facing giving me a warning, Self-Care lets me heal myself without a first-aid kit, Botany improves the speed of my healing, and Spine Chill grants me a bonus to my actions while a killer is looking directly at me.) I generally bring a medical kit with me and act as a sort of team healer. I enjoy this role, but it can be very frustrating with random players, especially the ones who are new to the game and taking actions that put me in danger.
Another unique aspect of the game is the lack of a clear win or lose state. The game is more about survivors and killer earning points for their actions. The killer earns points by hunting, slashing, scaring, and killing the survivors. The survivors earn points for teamwork, evading, bravery, and escaping the killer. Now this may seem strange, but it actually works quite well in practice. I’ve had games as the killer where I didn’t kill any survivors though still managed to earn max blood through chasing, hooking, and terrifying my victims. (It’s hard to do but it can be done.) I’ve also had games as a survivor where I’ve escaped but barely earned any blood because I wasn’t able to do much. This system promotes an individualistic style of teamplay. Teammates will help each other to earn blood, but they won’t necessarily risk themselves to save one another. (Doing so can actually be detrimental to the team.)
While the game is a lot of fun, it’s very easy to become frustrated as gameplay strategies aren’t always obvious. The gameplay mechanics may seem simple, but there’s actually a lot of skill in knowing how to hide from a killer, when to hide and when to run, how to hunt survivors, and what actions you should be taking at any moment during a match. New players are often confused on how to even evade a killer as the killer moves faster than they and trying to outrun him will almost always result in capture. Still, the game often manages to entice and entertain with it’s amazing atmosphere, feel, and gameplay.
The game is currently on Steam for about $20, which is a steal in my opinion. (Assuming you enjoy the type of gameplay it has to offer.) I’d highly recommend it with the caveat that you may want to watch some gameplay footage to decide if it’s the type of game you’d enjoy. If you don’t feel like searching for videos you can find one here or a bunch more on my YouTube channel.
Dead by Daylight is a fun game with unique gameplay mechanics and dark/scary atmosphere. If you don’t mind a challenge and enjoy unique gameplay mechanics that are hard to learn and very hard to master, you’ll probably enjoy this game.