DFTG Reviews Dead By Daylight (PS4) – A Rushed Port That Diminishes the Original
When developer Behaviour’s Dead By Daylight launched last year for PC, it spun the survival horror genre on its head. Instead of simply fighting to survive against <insert trope-y horror character here>, players were also given the option of taking the helm of one of several ‘killers’, each with their own background and unique perks. Fast-forward a year later, Behaviour Interactive has ported their asymmetrical multiplayer horror game onto both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Behaviour’s Dead By Daylight doesn’t pull any punches. From the very first round and onward, playing as one of the survivors puts players in a constant state of terror. There is no starting area, no safe zone, no warm up period – from the moment all participating players load in – often separated – the hunt is on. This effect is compounded by the fact that survivors have zero offensive weapons or abilities. Striking down the killer is simply not an option here – you escape, or you die.
In order to escape from whatever terrifying entity the opposing player has chosen to play as, survivors must search the surrounding area in order to find five broken generators that must be repaired. Once all five are operational, a lever powers up at two different exit points within the map. If a survivor makes it to one of the exits, they get to live to see another day. Unfortunately, the above scenario seldom happens. The killers are frighteningly overpowered – two hits is all it takes to bring a survivor from full health to crawling around, at which point the killer need only pick the survivor up and impale them onto one of the handy hooks hanging about the map area. After a brief time, an entity comes forth from the sky to gobble the survivor up. This certainly makes each survivor victory all the sweeter, though the game begins to lose its luster after being slaughtered two minutes into a round five times in a row.
Inversely, playing as one of the killers is rather reminiscent of herding cats. Despite being overpowered to the point of having nifty tricks such as teleportation and invisibility – basic math still applies: there are still four characters, including the player themselves. Killers are oft-times forced into a delicate game of balance where they have to chase survivors, put downed survivors on hooks, and stop other survivors from freeing their impaled counterparts (which takes about two seconds), all the while preventing any of the generators from being turned on.
Behaviour’s Dead By Daylight works off a progression system known as the Bloodweb. Players start in the middle of a ‘web’ of abilities, able to branch out in their preferred direction using in-game currency to unlock add-ons, items, offerings, and perks. Each survivor and killer’s Bloodweb is procedurally generated, which has the potential to upset those playing the game by forcing them into utilizing unlockable perks that may not mesh with a preferred playstyle.
With all of the above aspects taken into account, it would make perfect sense for there to be two in-depth tutorials – one for the survivors, and one for the killers. Unfortunately, this is not the case, which left the experience to begin on a somewhat frustrating note. The only available learning resources within the game come in the form of many, many pages of text, all of which seem rather small after being ported from a PC monitor over to a console television. Navigating these tutorials is made all the more tedious due to the game’s menu interfacing. Instead of using the directional pad or tapping the left stick in a direction to swap between menu options, players are instead forced to contend with a laggy floating ball utilized by a controller’s left stick, which serves as a stark reminder that the game is a PC port.
Another weak point in Behaviour’s Dead By Daylight is the controller scheme. The majority of the game’s actions are mapped onto shoulder buttons and triggers, some of which require either quick presses or long squeezes, such as the killers’ basic and lunge attacks. Despite the game providing the ability to remap the controls, this doesn’t change the fact that almost all of a survivor’s interactions – whether they be environmental or otherwise – are mapped out onto a single button, which makes absolutely zero sense for a game that originally launched on PC.
In terms of graphics, Dead By Daylight looks very much like a last-gen title, with the procedurally-generated environments scattering roughly-textured parkour objects across the map. Behaviour has had almost a year since the game’s original launch date to produce a PC port that pays proper homage to the original, so it is disappointing to see the bland, repetitive textures strewn about the play areas.
This title’s audio design features a level of quality similar to the game’s graphics. I can certainly appreciate the occasional jump scare that occurs when failing – or completely not noticing, thanks to the game’s interface – a skill check, but the same exact generator *pop* sound gets old very quickly. Overall, the quality of both the graphics and the sound design appear to be the result of, once again, a quick, hastily-done port.
Despite the game’s weak points, Behaviour’s Dead By Daylight still manages to be an enjoyable game. It checks all the appropriate boxes of a survival horror game, providing an exciting cat-and-mouse experience that can be enjoyed from both sides, rather than going the predictable route and pitting survivors against a forgettable AI. Though the console port is marred by many issues indicative of a rushed port due to a desire to capitalize on the release of a similar game within the survival horror genre, Dead By Daylight’s replay value and overarching thematic presence helps it stand out amongst other survival horror games.
Ryan "Cinna" Carrier1376 Posts
Ryan is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he isn't reading and writing, Ryan is likely considering yet another playthrough of Final Fantasy IX. He's also the DFTG cinnamon bun.