Horror games are usually very typical in terms of content: random jumps, scares, and sounds to escalate the player’s sense of fear. Death by Daylight is no typical horror game; it is pure terror.
Playing the role of an engineer attempting to repair engines in order to escape, the protagonist must navigate a maze while evading a number of obstacles–namely, a large, towering figure holding an axe attempting to sacrifice the player to an unnamed deity. However, the tension builds over time.
The player rarely sees the monster, except for when they happen to mess up repairing their engines. In the midst of turning gears in the calm, serene atmosphere of the night with the moon twinkling down on your face below—you slip, the engine is exposed, and you are left, with your heart racing, in the middle of an open field. Then, in the blink of an eye, your brief moment of peace in the beautiful woods of Random Farm, USA is lost in the chase.
The chase for your life. Will he see you? Probably. Will you outrun him? Maybe. Of course, you are an engineer—the developers at Starbreeze leave room for tinkering. Granted, the typical RPI student, just like the engineer in the game, should not be expected to outrun a 15 foot beast.
Objectively, the best feature in Death by Daylight is the ability to manipulate your surroundings in order to evade, or unfortunately locate, your pursuer. It’s really just an elaborate game of cat and mouse. Upon pursuit from the monster, the player is capable of erecting barricades, jumping through windows, or hiding in mysterious restroom stalls in order to evade detection.
If none of these work, you are left at the mercy of a blood-thirsty predator. The tension builds and before you know it, you’re on the floor attempting to squirm away—begging for help.
Upon being captured by the beast, you are put on a meat hook and left to perish as giant clamoring spikes grow, slowly, encompassing you until your soul leaves your flesh. The only way to stop this process is to be freed from the hook by a survivor.
Of course, you are not alone in the maze. Other survivors are also attempting to outrun the beast and repair generators in time to escape. It really should be a cooperative effort.
Where the game falls short is in the map design, which makes it incredibly difficult to rescue fellow survivors. You have to choose whether to sacrifice everyone or go forward as a team in most situations.
Arguably, this also contributes to the game’s unique atmosphere that will leave you returning for more. Every game is completely unique and difficult decisions guide the game’s progression.
Overall, I appreciate this game on so many levels, but in many ways playing it has been more about self-discovery than anything else. Will you save your friends or vanquish the beast yourself? That’s up to you to decide and I expect that we all will be hearing more about this game soon. It is sure to be huge.