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Daylight Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

4.5

Gameplay:

 

2.7

Sound:

 

3.4

Control:

 

4.0

Replay Value:

 

1.0

Overall Rating:       3.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Atlus

Developer:

Zombie Studios

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Survival/Horror

Release Date:

April 29, 2014

To create an effective horror experience, the developer must generate a believable, freaky atmosphere in which the player quickly becomes immersed. It’s all about the atmosphere and ambiance. It’s the sound in the darkness you can’t identify, it’s the creeping, terrifying sensation that something is stalking you, it’s the feeling you get when you’re hopelessly outmatched. Whatever is out there, it wants you dead, and you can’t stop it. This is a driving theme behind previous successes like Outlast.

Unfortunately, the same attempt falls flat on its face in Daylight.

One of the first games to take advantage of the new Unreal Engine 4, the game doesn’t look too bad. Strangely, though, it doesn’t look good, either. You won’t be impressed with the detail and design, and there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the special effects. Most of the time, you’re just wandering around in a dark, uninteresting environment. Even when it tries to scare the hell out of you, the lackluster visual presentation doesn’t quite do its job. Still, the graphics are definitely the best part of this disappointing production.

The sound isn't atrocious, thanks to some effects that satisfy the aforementioned ambiance requirement. You’ll hear slamming doors and screams somewhere in the distance and every once in a while, they might actually make you jump. But the soundtrack isn’t anything special and as such, the overall audio presentation falls well shy of expectations. It just doesn’t do a good job of raising the hair on the backs of our necks; at no point do we believe anything we see or hear. We’re just along for the ride and rather than freaking us out, it bores us. And the lagging technical elements are at least partially responsible.

Those who helped bring you F.E.A.R. and Condemned worked on Daylight, which is why its failure is so confusing. Perhaps they got too enamored with the idea of using a smartphone in a horror game, because that’s this adventure’s defining characteristic. It doesn’t really work, either. Most of the time, you’re just annoyed at the inherent limitations of your only tool, and you’re left wondering if the quest has a point besides illuminating dark hallways. Well, sadly, it really doesn’t. There are some legitimately frightening moments, but even those quickly lose their luster.

Sure, the darkness is always scary, basically by default. Some nasty thing that’s always chasing you adds to the tension and urgency, so perhaps you’ll enjoy this aspect of the quest. After all, the cornerstones of a great horror experience are here; they’re not elaborate or intricate but hey, they don’t have to be. Give us a darkened building, a bunch of creepy sounds, otherworldly specters that want to hurt us, and a background story that is so twisted and sordid, it’s almost hard to believe. What’s hard to believe is that Zombie Studios didn’t deliver on any of this. Well, there are a few creepy sounds.

We work our way through procedurally generated mazes, desperately seeking the exit. You have to collect notes and other clues in order to find the sigil that unlocks the exit door. The combination of the procedurally generated pathways and the always-hungry ghost that’s chasing you should result in a pulse-pounding experience. Instead, we’re either annoyed or bored. The first problem is this: The thing that’s chasing you? Yeah, not so scary. And it's not even that difficult to avoid; it slowly lumbers toward you, and you can easily run away. Even when you’re in a tight spot, you can just pop a flare and the thing will run away.

It’s just a stupid setup. The weirdest part is that you can’t use a flare after you find the sigil; it’s supposed to amp up the difficulty but really, it’s just illogical. It would help if the story was effective but again, expectations are not met. Some of the lines are just plain painful, especially when they’re supposed to sound deep and profound and instead come across as comically corny. In great horror games like Silent Hill, we had narratives that kept us interested in both the main character and the world around us. Here, we’re never remotely interested in either. That’s a big problem because if you’re not emotionally invested in anything, what’s the point?

I could forgive the disappointing story and even parts of the less refined gameplay if the experience simply had some effect. From a psychological perspective, all horror-based interactive experiences need to hit home. They need to make us jump out of our seats; our palms are supposed to be sweaty, and we’re always tense. That’s how it felt when playing Outlast, and there were times when playing Lone Survivor that I was very much on edge. At no time was I even remotely affected by Daylight and that’s because the entire adventure felt downright clichéd and silly from start to finish.

Okay, so you can connect your quest to the Twitch.tv channel, and you can interact with other players. Certain keywords can pop up at any time and potentially scare you but the mechanic just doesn’t function well enough. Everything feels rushed and poorly constructed because we never care about who’s reacting or why. Someone in your Twitch channel typed something and there’s a frightened reaction…well, so what? What does that have to do with the story? Why should I be scared? The nonsensical and badly written narrative doesn’t allow me to focus on anything, and the protagonist is faceless and boring, so why am I still playing?

Daylight tries to offer horror fanatics a unique, dynamic experience by giving them a procedurally generated environment and an intriguing system of “social” integration. However, just about all of it falls well short of the intended goal. The gameplay is uninspired and repetitive, the story is a mess, nobody will care about the protagonist, and the challenge is minimal. And the worst part? Nothing about this is scary. You’ll stumble across a few appropriately freaky parts but even those begin to dwindle with time. If you want frightening, play Outlast. Otherwise, save your money and wait for something else.

The Good: Tries to be ambitious by implementing the Twitch.tv aspect. Offers some minor thrills and chills.

The Bad: Despite UE4, graphics are nothing special. Protagonist is faceless and one-dimensional. Procedurally generated environment just feels repetitive. Story is badly constructed and never interesting. And oh yeah: It’s NOT SCARY.

The Ugly: “Still can’t believe anybody involved with F.E.A.R. or Condemned made this.”

5/7/2014 Ben Dutka

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Comments (14 posts)

Knightzane
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 @ 11:19:27 PM
Reply

This is obviously 100% opinion so I won't question it.

But as someone whose played every horror game, to the maximum, I can seriously say: I got scared a few times, legitimately scared. I jumped a few times. Knowing it was behind me terrified me and forced me to look places but it, even though it was right next to me. Not the best though mind you, but certainly good for a one time adventure. Kinda like Journey, just not as pleasing to the eyes.

Its average, just with some one time scares. I really don't scare often, I really really don't, but it got me a few times enough for me to say I didn't find it to be god awful. I'm young but I like the old fashioned take-your-girl-to-the-movies kinda thing and everytime I spend over 20$. You want absolute crap? go watch paranormal activity the marked ones. Least this game was 10$ so I saved a bit for that quick thrill lol

Good review though irregardless of what I say.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 @ 11:25:29 PM

That last line better be a joke #grammarnazi

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 @ 11:24:24 PM
Reply

Ouch, I'll pass.

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Xombito
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 @ 11:27:34 PM
Reply

For something I got for less than 10 dollars it certainly isn't a bad as the scores the game is getting. The "oh crap, she's nearby!" stuff is better than many of the other Slender clones. But I just got Outlast the Whistleblower and with only an hour in its already better.

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Big_Boss90
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 3:27:19 AM
Reply

Reviews are nothing but opinion 100% of the time. There are very few that i agree with and this is one that i do, so glad i did not buy this.

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Underdog15
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 9:50:37 AM

100% opinion, eh?

I'd love to see you write a review of quality. In fact, I encourage you to do one in the User Review section of the site.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 11:33:36 AM

No, reviews are not all opinion.

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Big_Boss90
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 3:27:28 AM
Reply

Reviews are nothing but opinion 100% of the time. There are very few that i agree with and this is one that i do, so glad i did not buy this.

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___________
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 4:25:18 AM
Reply

knew this was going to be crap from the get go, just had a bad look to it.
sad to see that survival horror finally makes a return, but does so in this outlast and daylight crap!
lets hope the evil within does a much better job, otherwise we can kiss horror goodbye!

heres hoping this wont do so bad, the studio isnt instantly shuttered, and they get together and bring back condemned, or at least another but proper F.E.A.R game!
pisses me off so much the crap that franchise has gone through, i mean the original was one of the best most scaring games ive ever played!
ive played god knows how many horror games in my life and none of them have etched moments into my memory so vividly.
id do ANYTHING to see another proper F.E.A.R title!



Last edited by ___________ on 5/8/2014 4:27:36 AM

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 6:25:08 AM

Just as an FYI, Zombie Studios contains members from the F.E.A.R./Condemned teams, but it isn't the same developer. That was Monolith, who are now working on Shadow of Mordor. Odds are that unless WB outsources a new F.E.A.R., we won't get another.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 12:05:02 PM

Damn, I really wanted to see a F.E.A.R. 4 game

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 7:02:14 AM
Reply

I hate when horror doesn't work out, i loves it so much. Poor Amy

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Big_Boss90
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 11:51:08 AM
Reply

Yes opinion especially on here considering the fact that mr.ben don't even beat the game half the time in order to give a valid review. Anywho this one i can agree with as i said before.

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Underdog15
Thursday, May 08, 2014 @ 12:15:46 PM

You'll notice how we can reply to a post and it appears directly below your original? You can reply by clicking "reply" to the original poster in a stream of posts.

I encourage you to use that! It helps keep fluid discussion, I find.

As for beating games, I challenge you to find one single, solitary professional reviewer who beats every game they review. You don't need to complete a game to give a solid review.

And it's impossible for it to be completely opinion. There are objective measurables to games that you absolutely can draw conclusions from. You're saying it's impossible to see quality work, and there is nothing to support that.

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