12th May2014

‘Daylight’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


As a horror fan I love games based on the genre. I like to stick my headphones on turn off the lights and actually feel the creepy atmosphere take over as I get lost in the game. Recently we’ve had two games, Outlast and Daylight both feature a character stuck in a spooky old hospital where things appear to have gone badly wrong. Where Outlast goes for a more story driven adventure, Daylight goes for a more random maze style environment where the map is randomly created and enemies procedurally spawned.  In theory this should create a game where you never feel safe, everything is always different, in truth it never really feels like that.

The aim of each section of the game are to find remnants (evidence) of why you are trapped in the hospital, and then find a key that will unlock the next section of the hospital. As you walk around the abandoned corridors you are stalked by ghosts that you have to either run away from or frighten away using flares. To aid your investigation you are also given glow sticks which reveal where remnants or other objects may be hidden.

In truth this is so far so good, but then the environment that you are placed in becomes a factor and this is where the weakness of Daylight shows. Imagine every jump scare that you would get in a horror movie featuring an abandoned hospital, chances are you’ll find them here. This works a lot of the time, and until you’ve wandered the corridors a few time looking for the required remnants, but then you realise that you’ve only found three out of six, this is where the repetition starts. You find yourself walking through corridors you’ve been through too many times looking for something stuck on the wall or hidden away and the fact that Sarah only has a few lines of dialogue that she repeats continuously soon becomes annoying.  The quicker you find what you need the better, as the game stays fun. Miss something out then you will start to get annoyed.

It is lucky that the annoying nature of exploration doesn’t creep up on your too quickly because on the first play at least you’ll find the story interesting. You do want to see how it ends, though expect it will be a very common horror ending but still end up still creeping along the corridors to find what you missed. The atmosphere is creepy, and when the witch/ghosts do move in for the attack it is a moment that does make you jump, though even with these you tend to know how to deal with them straight away. That is unless you are like me and walk around a corner to find one of them right in front of your face.

As Daylight is one of the first games to use the Unreal 4 engine you do look at the game hoping to see something that shows off some new features, but for the most part I myself didn’t notice any. This is not to say that the game doesn’t look good, the hospital does look like a typical horror movie abandoned hospital. It looks good and controls well, it’s just a shame that the way the maze like sections of the hospital aren’t as random as they should feel, and tend to end up feeling rather boring. When you do get out of the building though it is fair to say there is an improvement.

Daylight is far from perfect but I would recommend giving it a try just for the initial playthrough. Once you know the storyline and know just how trundling around the corridors of the hospital feels, there isn’t really anything to pull you back to the game. In a battle between Outlast and Daylight, I’d go so far as to say Outlast is the winner.

Daylight is available now on Steam

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