Dead by Daylight (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 21.10.2019

Review for Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Horror games are predominantly a lone wolf's playground that provides single-player, story-driven experiences. This makes sense; the feeling of isolation that a good horror titles instils is wrought from physical aloneness. However, Dead by Daylight - which has been around since 2016 - opts to shake up that formula and provide a novel and intriguing form of horror that relies on a multiplayer, versus experience. Behaviour Interactive can't be faulted for their ambition, but can they be lauded for their execution, particularly in this latest port to the Nintendo Switch?

In Dead by Daylight, players can be in one of two teams: there is the group of four Survivors whose goal it is to escape the game map, and one single Killer who is tasked with hunting down the Survivors and sacrificing them to the mysterious "Entity;" a supernatural being who in the lore is responsible for isolating the Survivors in this killing ground in the first place. Survivors must use all their guile to sneak around one of the multiple randomly selected game maps, activating a handful of generators to power an exit gate while avoiding the stronger Killer who roams the map, attempting to halt any escape effort by incapacitating Survivors and placing them on meat hooks for the Entity to gobble up.

Screenshot for Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

The formula is easy to learn but hard to master. The Killer has the advantage in any one-on-one situation, forcing Survivors to play it smart in order to escape. This perfectly captures the classic slasher horror aesthetic of the '80s and '90s, both in tone and style. To make things even more interesting, there are multiple Killers and Survivors to choose from, each boasting unique skills and attributes to cater to a variety of playstyles. The Killers are far superior in their variety, ranging from a killer clown who uses clouds of gas to corner his pray to a decrepit hag that can teleport around the map by way of symbols that she etches onto the ground. Each requires a different play style that ranges in difficulty, which ensures that the skill ceiling doesn't stagnate easily.

Various game-altering perks and items can be equipped by both Killers and Survivors, which can be at least a welcome boost and at best a game-changing tiebreaker. For example: the Trapper's Agitation perk grants a movement speed increase when carrying an incapacitated Survivor to a hook, while Survivors can give themselves an edge with similar perks as well as consumable 'Offerings' that increase the Survivor group's luck and other stats. Offerings are single use consumables that alter the way each match is played, ensuring that no two games are ever the same as long as you're playing with the right people. Beware, though - the Killer can make an Offering as well!

Screenshot for Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Another interesting touch is that Survivors view their surroundings in third-person which grants them more spatial awareness, while Killers play in first-person in order for them to be more focused on their prey. It makes sense, and is a real neat design caveat which definitely augments the way the game plays - sneaking past a Killer's periphery is an adrenaline-fueled and satisfying experience. Unfortunately, the horror can peter out once the game's mechanics and flow are fully learned, causing it to become merely competitive and at its worst, repetitive. A horror game that loses its horror is certainly not a great selling point.

As mentioned earlier, the fun gleaned from Dead by Daylight can entirely depend on who ends up in any given match. With the right people it's a blast, whereas any troll or otherwise unpleasant player can totally suck the joy out of the experience. To make matters worse, the matchmaking settings are simply lazy, matching players with entirely mixed skill levels every time, which can be frustrating for the pros and discouraging for the newcomers. Occasionally, though, the stars will align and make for a really good match. These, unfortunately, are a dime a dozen.

Screenshot for Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Other issues such as inconsistent Killer hitboxes and long load times plague an otherwise intriguing game, while the problem of not having cross-platform play severely hinders the experience on the less-trodden Switch. Finding a match as a Survivor is relatively quick, but those who prefer playing as the Killer can face very, very long wait times, some even exceeding five minutes. Other platform-specific issues include long load times, heavily downgraded graphics and laggy menus. Of course, the online-only thing means that it doesn't cater well to the Switch's portability, unless you're in an area with good connectivity.

For this reason, as well as the advantages that the Pro controller provides, it's best played docked. The biggest irritation, however, is that the DLC bundled in with this edition is underwhelming, consisting merely of some additional maps and a few cosmetics. All the licensed Killers that have been released over the last three years are locked behind a paywall, with only the original nine being included in the base game - but even then, some of the DLC characters available on other platforms are not even present on the Switch. This means that in order to play as some of Dead by Daylight's coolest Killers such as Michael Myers, Ghost Face or Leatherface, you'll need to indulge in some micro-transactions.

Screenshot for Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Dead by Daylight has the groundwork for a great game but stumbles in its execution. It could be so much more with just a little more polish. Hopefully, it will inspire better products of this variety, because the concept contains a bundle of promise. Horror fans will find a lot to love - as long as they keep their expectations low. Nevertheless, for all its sins it is still quite addictive and undeniably fun, at least in the right conditions. It's easy to see how it has amassed a fanbase and warranted a port to the Switch.

Developer

Behaviour Interactive

Publisher

Deep Silver

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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