Dead by Daylight review

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Need to know

What is it? A slasher simulator with surprisingly deep mechanical chops.
Reviewed on: Windows 10, GeForce GTX 1070, Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, 16GB RAM  
Price: $20/£15
Release date: Out now
Publisher: Behaviour Interactive
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Multiplayer: Multiplayer only, five players.
Link: Official site

When Dead By Daylight released in 2016, it was received as an outrageously silly Halloween romp, a game to enjoy with friends who wanted to indulge in a brief, terrifying blood orgy before migrating to other, more refined multiplayer experiences. The premise is simple: Four players take the roles of survivors stuck in a ghastly, Saw-like bloodsport, repairing generators to power an exit gate before hightailing it to safety. The fifth player is a killer, either adopted wholecloth from a prominent horror franchise or heavily inspired by one. The killer’s job is to prevent the survivors from escaping, impaling them on ghastly meathooks and leaving them for a mysterious eldritch force known only as The Entity. It’s pure camp—a cinematic murder simulator—that delivers gauche slasher glee. What I don’t think anyone saw coming was for Dead By Daylight to mature into one of the best cooperative and competitive multiplayer experiences around.

In the five years since Behaviour Interactive released Dead by Daylight on Steam, the game has developed razor-sharp mechanical intrigue, an ultra-complex web of versatile builds and strategies, and a diverse suite of characters, each equipped with relative strengths and weaknesses. What was a comedy-horror romp mutated into something much closer to League of Legends and Dota 2 in terms of depth. It may be bewildering to consider that hardcore players can spend months scrutinizing the relative power-level and optimization path for Ghostface from Scream, but that’s where Dead By Daylight finds itself at the beginning of 2021: an esports-worthy venture hosted by Freddy Kreuger, Bubba Sawyer, and Michael Myers.

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive Inc.)

This is the jostling, hedging, and pre-match sizing up of an uber-competitive MOBA or FPS.



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