I have a confession to make. I am a huge horror fan and my addiction is not confined to only horror movies, but it spreads into almost everything I enjoy. I am a person who enjoys watching horror anime, reading horror mangas and playing horror video games–graphical, psychological, supernatural, or the even more impressive genre that only a few know of and is simply called mind fuck horror.
You can imagine my enthusiasm when I heard about Daylight, a next gen survival horror for PC and next gen consoles. Fueling my excitement was that the game is running on Unreal Engine 4. Yes kids, we now have a 4th Unreal Engine. Doesn’t that make you feel old and wonder what happened to Unreal 3? Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Daylight–is it any good? Yes it is, but is it very good? not by a long shot!
The plot is pretty thin and has you wake up in a mental hospital with nothing but your phone that will serve you as both a map and a flashlight. You also receive rather mysterious messages on it from a person who seems to be a scientist keen on helping you explore the background of the institute.
Along the way you will pick up clues in the form of letters that expose the macabre past of the place you are exploring. These clues are easy to find since they are mostly hidden in plane site or can be highlighted through the help of glow sticks that expose hidden areas and locked up secrets.
The aim of the game is so simple that it is literally mind boggling. You go from point A to point B while collecting scraps of papers, then go back to point A to collect an item that you have to use at point B to proceed. Rinse and repeat for two hours and you have Daylight–I hope that wasn’t too complicated for you, but that is pretty much the game in a nutshell.
So what is keeping this game from being called the worst game ever? Well, it is the whole experience of it. Daylight plays like an experiment into something far more greater in the future. For starters, this game is the first to use the 4th version of the Unreal Engine and is a visual treat, with details like the fog, cloths and the whole graphical filtering being quiet impressive.
Second, the jump scares are there–if ever did a game make me jump out of my seat or creep me out, this is it. Daylight has an impressive use of light and sound to make you feel uncomfortable, even from normal things like a wheel chair moving or a night stand opening by it’s own. When the real ghosts show up, you will find yourself running for dear life, at least the first few times because as impressive as the scares are, they do run out of steam by the time you learn how to exploit these encounters. Luckily, the game is short enough to make you not hate it to the point of giving up, but Daylight feels like a one trick puppy, and that is a shame.
Daylight is a huge disappointment. It is not a bad game, but it feels more like a tech demo for a new engine, aimed at horror-hungry fans looking for something to enjoy for a few hours, or so they claim. Personally, I think many developers are riding on the bandwagon that horror games sell and after the runaway success of a few impressive games, it feels like Daylight just stole the idea behind a vastly superior game ( cough cough Slender cough cough) and gave it new clothes hoping it would sell.
As a player, I have to admit that the marketing plan for Daylight was good, especially with the huge discount that was applied for pre-orders on steam and PSN+. So, discounted, Daylight is worth checking out as it can provide you with a few hours of fun and give you an idea about the graphical wonders that await us in future games. The lack of a proper plot, the repetition, the staleness of the scares and some serious frame rate issues sadly keep this game in the realm of mediocrity. Close, but no cigar.