Dead By Daylight review
I bought Dead By Daylight on launch day and played maybe five hours or so of it over the following week. I enjoyed it (mostly as survivor), but for some reason it didn’t stick with me. I tried it again out of boredom in November of 2017 and I don’t know what’s changed, but it somehow has its hooks in me (no pun intended).
As such, this review is based on the current version of the game, and I can’t speak to how it was in the past, especially before the legacy cosmetics from the old, grindy bloodweb. It’s also primarily from the survivor viewpoint, as I’d say 70 of my (currently) 83 hours are from survivor gameplay.
Overall, I’m impressed and quite like Dead By Daylight. It is equal parts tense, frightening, frustrating, and what-the-hell inducing.
As the survivor, your job is to repair enough generators with your team to power doors, which you then need to open to escape and survive the match. As the killer, your job is to stop them from repairing those generators and therefore stop them from escaping.
Survivors and killers can both equip themselves with various perks and offerings, which make your job easier. For example, survivors can equip a sprint burst that gives them a big burst of speed to try to lose the killer, and killers can equip a perk that lets them see survivors whenever they injure one. There are a ton of various combinations.
Leveling up is accomplished by filling out a blood web. Bloodpoints are earned to your account regardless of who you play as, so you could use your highest level character with the best perks to grind points and then level up your other characters.
Graphically, the game looks good. The environments are both dark and creepy, and there’s lot of little details in pretty much every aspect of the world. Sound plays a huge role, as you’ll be able to figure out where the killer is and which side they’re coming from, potentially giving you that extra few seconds you need to escape. The core gameplay loop doesn’t ever change (repair gens > rescue friends > escape or kill people), but it somehow remains fun.
Assuming you own all the DLC, there is a large amount of survivors and killers to level. The max level is 50, but you can prestige three times, making the unofficial level cap 200. The game will keep you playing for a long time if you choose to.
On the flip side, bugs. There are countless bugs that BHVR (the developer) seem to not give a damn about. You’ll join a lobby and despite only three of four people being ready, the game somehow starts, and the scoreboard at the end will only show you. Or there are a ton of visual bugs, such as your rank never changing despite you earning enough points to warrant it.
My biggest gripe is that the game uses peer-to-peer matchmaking, and it’s always the killer that acts as host, so you’re at the mercy of a killer who may be in the middle of nowhere, or stuck on 20 year old dialup and refuses to update. This also leads to many types of disconnection issues, to which there is no recourse. You use an expensive offering and the killer disconnects before the match even starts? Oh well, screw you.
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BHVR has stated that it’s a “complex” and “involved” issue to figure out how to punish disconnections, but if they had used dedicated servers, it wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, they chose not to spend the money so now they’re in a “oh well, we’re too lazy to figure it out kthx” position. Sadly this does not seem to ever be something that will change, and therefore will always be the biggest issue with the game.
My second biggest issue is, as survivors, you cannot see who the killer is, but the killer can see your name. So, BHVR basically protects the killer against survivors who may recognize them as someone who camps or plays in a way they disagree with, forcing them into a game and either dealing with it, or leaving the match and incurring a penalty.
- Super fun gameplay loop that keeps you on your toes
- Tense gameplay
- Surprising amount of variety for what the game is
- Lots of survivors and killers to fully level
- Enough map selection and random placement of items to keep the game fresh
- Great licensed DLC (Nightmare On Elm Street, SAW, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween)
- Tons of various loadout and perk combinations to keep the game fresh
- Ridiculous amount of bugs
- Fairly inattentive developer who focuses more on DLC and streams than actually fixing any issues, especially those that have been around since launch
- Peer-to-peer matchmaking
If you like horror and tense multiplayer gaming, you’ll love Dead By Daylight. Its gameplay loop will keep you occupied, whether you focus on survivor or killer, and there’s always something different, no matter how much you play.
However, be prepared to lose offerings when you eventually, and quickly, find a killer who disconnects and causes you to lose your items with no punishment to them. There are so many QoL enhancements that could be made that BHVR simply refuses to do.