Daymare: 1998 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 15.06.2020 1

Review for Daymare: 1998 on PlayStation 4

Before Capcom remade Resident Evil 2 and its sequel, Invader Studios was hot on the heels of every fan's desire of crafting a remake themselves. For reasons that will become clear, Capcom passed on Invader Studios, and went forward on its vision for a remake, and the latter was forced to rebrand its project. Without a powerful IP like Resident Evil attached to its game, the Italian developer had to do their best to make the most lawyer-friendly knock-off of the long enduring Japanese survival-horror. Daymare: 1998 is sadly the best it could do.

Daymare: 1998 is meant to be a homage to survival-horror games from the '90s. It takes inspiration from the original Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis to craft its '90s setting. Outside of the frequent puzzles that pop up here and there, though, this ultimately has nothing in common with the horror games it's meant to "imitate." Outside of the inventory and reloading mechanics, there is nothing unique about Daymare: 1998 to distinguish it from all the other third-person games available.

Moreover, it is remarkably ugly, and has some of the most hideous looking human-character faces. Much older PlayStation 2 horror classics like Silent Hill 2 have much more appealing and natural looking human faces than the mummified looking moppets that make up the cast. One aspect that did shine was the dismemberment during gameplay, which was something that Resident Evil 3 remaster scaled back on. The one beacon of hope is sunken deep in an abyss of mediocrity, though.

Screenshot for Daymare: 1998 on PlayStation 4

Every action is frustratingly slow, much slower than necessary. The simple act of opening up the status menu requires the playable characters to casually and calmly perform an animation to open up a menu. There is no urgency in their motions, no energy at all. The actual zombies show more of a pulse in their actions than any of the three playable boys. There are three different moving speeds, when there really only should have been two. The slowest is walking, which more closely resembles sleep-walking. "Jogging" is the second speed which should have been the standard movement speed. Sprinting being the fasted mode of movement makes sense, and even consumed stamina which is a fair trade-off.

Things get really rocky when having to fight anything that moves, because Daymare: 1998 is tragically unoptimized on the PlayStation 4. This is an ugly title that looks like a low-budget, early PlayStation 3 game, so its perplexing to see something like this make the PlayStation 4 struggle and wheeze to maintain a stable frame rate when the performance is extremely erratic. When nothing is going on, it might hover in the upper 20s. When there are threats lurking about or hallucinations occurring, the fluidity hits the single digits, and then expect to have cheap things happen. All animations are extremely rough looking and very stilted. Nothing looks natural, and the atmosphere is less so uncanny than it is just ugly and unappealing. All character faces are especially unattractive, resembling rugged mannequins that have been sculpted from cheese. The completely expressionless models are voiced by uninterested actors who sound like they are doing their first practice line reading.

Screenshot for Daymare: 1998 on PlayStation 4

Unreal Engine 4 is a very versatile and flexible tool to craft games, making it easy for developers of all sizes to realize their vision. From a small developer like Red Barrels making the impressive looking Outlast 2, to the enormous Square Enix, and its Final Fantasy VII Remake, the only excuse for anyone making something so vile as Daymare: 1998, would be due to them being complete amateurs. Enemies rag-doll into choppy animation and then vanish. Repeating textures are sloppily mapped to models with low poly-counts, and an informed observer might even notice several stock assets strewn about the scenery. Even the bland environments are poorly assembled, being more authentic to fan-made GoldenEye 007 maps, than anything from Capcom.

The monsters in Daymare: 1998 are a depressing lot of obvious knockoffs. Invader Studios apparently had an artist who had experience working on Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Whoever the artist is, the poor devil phoned this one in, because there is no inspiration behind any of them. At best the enemies can be described as bland, but it isn't until they are animated when things get really bad. At times it seems like enemies move at different frame rates, and the added judder compounded with the poor animation might lead to some to think that the game is glitching. It is no glitch - it is just Daymare: 1998. The narrative presentation is also devoid of all the charm of the unintentionally hilarious classics that Daymare 1998 tries to copy. Scenes are exhaustingly long and overly expository, with very bored sounding actors droning on and on. This kind of self-indulgent writing extends to the readable files that are scattered throughout the story. Pages upon pages of dense paragraphs that completely fail to get their point across. The worst part is that reading these files becomes necessary to solve the many puzzles.

Screenshot for Daymare: 1998 on PlayStation 4

Frequently in classic survival-horror games, players will find themselves having to tinker with some exoteric items. Traditionally, it means finding a thing and sticking it into another thing. The classics will often have survivors having to man some kind of system of switches or buttons, and they will be given cryptic clues to figure out the sequence. Daymare: 1998's approach is in line with the ethos of puzzles in a horror game, but the execution is all wrong by making them incredibly difficult to understand. It is less like trying to understand the meaning of symbols or a simple mathematical formula, and more like figuring out stereo instructions written in Pidgin English. The interface for these sequences is also frustratingly slow, adding minutes to something that already requires several tries.

One gameplay flourish that is needlessly extra busywork is the reloading mechanic. In Daymare: 1998 characters have to actually hang on to their empty magazines, and to manually reload the bullets into them before they can slam them into a firearm. It is something that could have been an interesting mechanic in a traditional survival-horror with fixed camera angles and where combat was more about placement over accuracy. This is something that just does not work in a typical third-person shooter, because magazines are dropped out of view to the player-character's feet, and most gamers have muscle memory of reloading after firing anyway. Chances are high of losing a crucial loading chamber because the stupid Park Ranger dropped it 40 minutes earlier, and will result in tedious backtracking to find it.

Screenshot for Daymare: 1998 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

The broad and generic story is the least offensive aspect of Daymare: 1998. The rotten gameplay and ugly presentation that support this roof of mediocrity won't shelter even the most desperate horror fan. There is nothing classic about the gameplay or story; it is every bit as derivative as most of the soulless schlock that modern studios excrete from their focus group testing. There is no attempt at having any guts at trying to make something that is a throw-back, and the best Daymare: 1998 can offer are a few Easter Eggs and obvious nods to the games that inspired it.

Developer

Invader Studios

Publisher

Destructive Creations

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

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   

Comments

That reload mechanic sounds pretty cool actually, other than the bad way it was executed.

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