After queuing into a game with three other survivors, Dead by Daylight puts you in one of several eerie horror environments–a dilapidated farm, a run-down manor, a rickety junkyard–and tells you, very simply, to fix the generators to escape. When you find the generators, you then need to repair them–a painstakingly slow process, where you hold the left mouse button down while crouching in front of it. If you’re alone, repairing the generator can take more than a minute. As you crouch next to the very noisy generator, the game will throw skill-tests at you by way of a rotating bar–if you fail the QTE, the generator will backfire. This creates a noisy explosion, and the killer is visually alerted to the location of the backfire, turning you into a target.
Death Is Not an Escape. Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer (4vs1) horror game where one player takes on the role of the savage Killer, and the other four players play as Survivors, trying to escape the Killer and avoid being caught, tortured and killed.
Horror in games (and films) is too often characterised by jump scares; shocking, startling events designed to trigger a fight-or-flight response. Dead by Daylight, to its credit, eschews these in favour of real horror–a gradual increase in tension resulting from the unshakeable sense of impending doom. That it manages to do this in an asymmetrical competitive action game is what is truly impressive about it.
Dead by Daylight features two teams–four survivors and one killer–and pits them against one another in a battle for all the marbles: The four survivors need to repair five generators to power the gates which will allow them to escape. The killer needs to find the survivors, knock them down, put them on hooks and then sacrifice them to their otherworldly gods. The odds are skewed heavily in favour of the invincible killer, and as a result playing Dead by Daylight as a survivor can be a nerve-rattling, sweat-inducing, terrifying experience.