If you’re one of the many horror aficionados who wish the niche survival/horror genre would return, who wish Resident Evil hadn’t gone all action-y, and who wish Silent Hill would make a triumphant return, we’ve got the game for you. It’s a little light on the freakish thrills and you won’t even be utilizing weaponry, but it will undoubtedly push the tension boundaries. It’s the indie game Dying Light from Condemned developer Zombie Studios; Atlus is set to publish the promising title and it’s coming to the PC and PlayStation 4 early next year.
Built with the Unreal Engine 4 and written by Jessica Chobot – who also lends her voice to the main character – this unique adventure-oriented perspective on the horror quest begins in an abandoned hospital. The interesting part is that each time you start a new game, the hospital will be different; a randomly generated environment really ups the replay potential. You play in a first-person view and use your cell phone as a form of illumination. You’re trying to avoid the ghostly apparitions that haunt the former healthcare institution. If one of those ghosts grabs you, you have to shake it off with the analog stick.
On the surface, the gameplay doesn’t sound all that enthralling. But at the same time, we have to understand that the atmosphere and situation should deliver a really powerful sense of fear and urgency. And because every clue, hallway and ghost is changed when you start up a new adventure, you’ll never have the same experience twice. The game should also excel on the PS4, as the system’s unique capabilities should allow Daylight to shine. For instance, the developer is saying the PS4 iteration will boast the “most immersive graphics to date” and you can always Share gameplay online if you wish.
Players will further have the option of using the PlayStation camera, which we can use to snap pictures of the most frightening moments. There’s also RealD 3D support, which ought to significantly increase the immersion and scare level, provided you’ve got the requisite tech in your living room. As for the story, it’s told through scattered paper scraps you’ll find scattered throughout the hospital, so the focus is firmly on the gameplay throughout the adventure. And perhaps that’s the best label for this title: “Adventure.” True adventure purists recall the days of Myst and Monkey Island games, and they know that such experiences are few and far between these days.
But if Daylight is produced and balanced correctly, and we’re always on the edge of our seats, I’d call that a horror/adventure triumph, wouldn’t you? In my opinion, developers don’t do enough with the idea of psychological drama in the video game industry, and games like this can really give us a new perspective on interactive entertainment. It’s not about what’s lurking in the shadows, and it’s not really even about survival. It’s about the creeping sensation that starts at the base of your spine and travels upward; it’s about staring at a door, debating whether or not to open it. If we’re feeling especially involved in our environment, Zombie Studios could deliver a truly engaging and rewarding experience.
11/27/2013 Ben Dutka