When Darkness Falls
Horror games have been quite the rage recently as it’s rather emphasized on the experience and thrill of the game rather than actual skills. You’re not facing a horde of enemies, nor destroying terrorism – this is about the ride and how you get from point a to point b without well… quitting the game. Many horror games follow the simple rule and layout: put scares here and here and wait till the player triggers it. While still scary to an extent, the path is linear and offers no boundaries for re-playability. This is how Daylight changes up the genre, adding a procedural layout so no two games are the same. Talk about unpredictability.
Daylight throws players into the shoes of protagonist Sarah, whom regains consciousness in an abandoned hospital. With no clue of how she got there, players must rely on her smart-phone to discover and escape the secrets of the hospital and beyond. I would like to discuss more about the story but being as short as it is, I don’t think I can explain much more without going into spoilers.
Game-play is rather similar to previous ‘survival-horror’ games as players don’t have access to any weapons, instead using tools to fend off monsters in the game. Each level, the player is tasked to find notes or ‘remnants’ hidden around the map. After a certain amount of ‘remnants’ collected, players must find a Vigil within the level to progress to the next chapter. Finding ‘remnants’ also help shape the story’s progression which is molded together through these notes. It’s pretty much vital to read these remnants or you’ll find yourself confused at what happened in the end.
The more you progress into Daylight, the more unstable the monsters or ghosts get and you’ll have two options to defend against them. One of them is by using a collected flare that deters the enemies away from you and the other one is to basically run. Flares are limited and finding them as you progress is vital. You can die in Daylight, so you better have that extra flare handy… also make sure you check behind you all the time.
While the game is not long, the procedural generating levels help replaybility – if you’re keen that is. In my review phase, I played the first level about three times to see how much the game changes and every single walk-through had a completely unique path. While the obvious Point A to Point B is still present for the sake of having a narrative, the level between the points are pretty much random. My first playthrough saw a standard set corridors with a few rooms to explore. The second playthrough saw weird bathrooms and more intersections generated while the last added stairs and a basement. Yes, a basement, as if things weren’t scary enough.
The procedural setup is great for an unpredictable layout where most games offer only a linear path that scares you at the same point all the time, Daylight offers a completely unique level with random scares that will leave you unsuspecting every time.
Daylight focuses a lot on presentation with both visuals and sound providing an immersive atmosphere which the player will seemlessly lose themselves in. Being one of the first games to support the new Unreal Engine 4, Daylight was able to create some incredible lighting settings, shifting the tone from scary to… “I don’t want to walk through here”.
As short as roller-coaster rides are, they provide the most gut wrenching “oh my” thrills you can throw your money at. Daylight is similar but it takes that concept further throwing you into a different ride every time. If the base game was longer with more variant in enemies, Daylight could be more and I would have rated it higher but for what it’s worth, it was great ride.
Developer: Zombie Studios
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), PC