Zombie Studios has released its latest survival horror game, Daylight! But is it horrifying for the right or wrong reasons? 411's Marc Morrison checks in with his full review!
Publisher: Zombie Studios
Developer: Zombie Studios
Genre: Action RPG
Rated: M for Mature
I generally try and approach every game I have to review with an open mind. If I like the series, then I generally have hopes for the next game, but thatís about it. If itís a game Iíve never heard of, Iíll give it the benefit of the doubt and play it for a few (to several) hours, forming an opinion on it, where I then write about it. Within 10 minutes, I wanted to turn Daylight off, and uninstall it from my computer.
Daylight is a ďprocedurally generatedĒ first person horror game. You play Sarah, a character only armed with a cell phone (used as a map and partial light source), glowsticks and flares. You wake up in an abandoned mental hospital/prison and have to escape it, being guided by a Doctor on the other end of the phone line. The goal for each area is to pick up 6 ďRemnantsĒ (notes) left by past patients/staff, which lets you pick up a Sigil (special item) to unlock a magical door, that gates the next area. Rinse & repeat for as long as you can stand.
Oh, also, there are box puzzles which are so laggy, slow, and poorly controlled that it makes doing any of them a chore.
The only real items you use are the glowsticks and flares, the glowsticks are used to provide green light, letting you see markings on specific objects in the game (which you can search through more), and the flares are used to damage the shadow people that occasionally chase you for no reason at the outset.
First off, the game is not scary in the slightest. Iíve heard it compared to Slender: The Arrival and Outlast (both games I havenít played), but I can only hope they actually elicit some terror. The ďscaresĒ in this game are all relegated to jump scares, which you can telegraph from a mile away, especially if youíve seen any horror movie in the past 30 years.
The controls are another sticking point, both in the game and just with the actual game logic. Sarah has an infinite sprint, you can literally hold the run button down, and sheíll go forever. Yet she canít do things like jump on a random box, or duck under a shelf unit. There are box puzzles strewn about, you have to move a box to a specific area to form a make-shift ladder to hit a switch, things like that. The inherent problem ith this is that moving the box is slow and imprecise. You can only move boxes with rope (God knows why), and they are essentially confined to a small area for you to do business. Jumping onto them also proved to be plodding with my character usually trying to move the box again instead of grabbing the rope.
Inconsistent logic also rears its head when youíre just playing in general. In my opening area (levels are randomized to a certain degree) there was a pack with infinitely spawning glowsticks. This tends to break game tension when you can quick run back to the start for a pick-me-up. You can only carry 4 sticks at a time, but with the magic bag oí plenty, this wasnít a big issue for a good chunk of the game. Nothing is explained in this game at the start. The game gives the player no incentive or reason why they should care about Sarah in the slightest, how/why monsters appear (aside from a threat meter that still makes no sense), why finding Remnants/Sigils are important in the slightest, etc.
Lastly, I couldnít even finish the game, so I canít comment on the actual ending. After the first Sigil lock/door thing, I would go for a little while, and the game would crash out. Even still, it is better then some. I had another reviewer friend who just canít get the game to boot at all. It just gives an Unreal Engine error and stops working. When she told me this I actually said to her ďYouíre so lucky youíre not able to play it.Ē
Expect to see a variation of this screen a lot
One final thing: the big bullet point about this game is that it uses Unreal Engine 4, the newest Unreal iteration. Considering the game is bathed in about 85% of darkness at all times, why even bother? To its credit, it does have some decent lighting effects, but the textures are ugly, the game world is uninteresting, and almost every room looks the same.
Good lighting effects
Randomized level design
Extremely buggy/unplayable game
Game logic makes zero sense
Not scary in the slightest
Daylight was a thoroughly unpleasant experience for me to try and play. The gameplay is boring, itís not a horror game, itís ugly looking, the logic is bad, and after about 20 minutes, the game would crash on me. I would wager that you would get more scares, or just basic enjoyment, out of almost any other horror game around right now.
The few lighting technics are good, and some weird things work well. The game is bathed in darkness though, and the environment up close is ugly
Itís functional (when the game works) but just barely. Moving boxes is a painful experience and the game is just dull
The music plays a lot and is reasonably ok, but the voice acting is pretty corny, and the sound effects sound like from a Halloween tape
The generated content is interesting, but I donít assume the story changes any. Itís a horror game, so itís only playable the first time or so
I imagine someone might have fun playing this game but I didnít. If the game actually worked, I might, but that bridge has sailed