Daylight PS4 Review: Witch Trials
First person horror games are really popular right now. The PC is overflowing with these titles, like Outlast and Amnesia. Thankfully consoles like Sony’s PS4 are getting extra love from indie developers like Zombie Studios with Daylight, a brand new procedurally generated horror game that released on April 29th.
The game puts in the role of Sarah in various haunted environments. Little reason is given for why Sarah is dropped into this hell hole at the beginning of the game with only her cell phone. Not only that but a mysterious voice that seems to know her speaks to her, guiding her throughout the game.
Gameplay is largely a mix of Outlast and Slender: The Arrival. Players are required to find a set number of relics or notes through each environment to progress. Only after acquiring the necessary amount of items can the player find the exit in that area. But don’t go to this exit without the sigil, an item found in each environment that will unlock the exit. This could be a pair of scissors or a bible. Once you grab this sigil you’ll be forced to bolt for the exit so its best to find the exit first and plan a safe path for your escape because you can’t use any weapons while holding the sigil.
What weapons are there in Daylight? Flares are found throughout the environment and eliminate shadows, ghostly apparitions that appear randomly. You can only hold four flares at any moment so its best to use them only when absolutely required. Glow sticks reveal hidden items around you but don’t do any damage to ghosts, limiting their use to mostly puzzle solving.
The game has two types of areas: A rest area that has blue notes and has no ghosts, only puzzles to solve and ghost areas where, as you probably imagine, you have to find relics before the shadows find you. This gives Daylight a good flow to its gameplay, allowing players to relax after tense moments running through a haunted prison or hospital.
Puzzles in Daylight really shouldn’t be called puzzles and feel like they were thrown in their to add variety alone and don’t seem all that fleshed out. These are usually just moments where you push or climb boxes. Not a single puzzle ever comes close to puzzles in recent first person horror games in terms of complexity or ingenuity.
One major problem with Daylight comes from being procedurally generated. Environments tend to look the same and get very confusing, despite taking place in very different venues. Bathrooms, offices, and rooms tend to blend in together and make each level hard to navigate.
In addition to that, shadows pose no real threat unless they catch you by surprise. Flares take them out so easily and they don’t really threaten the player until near the end of the game. Their character models are thoroughly creepy and unsettling which is good. They should be creepy and the few pop-up scares here are very frightening. So Zombie Studios gets points for crafting creepy enemies even if they are relative push overs.
I’m not sure if this was intentional by Zombie Studios but Sarah shouts out in fear often, even when nothing is going on. This could be annoying to some but I found it as a nice mechanic to make players more tense. Yes, its illogical and over-done a bit but it did keep me tense as the game went on. It helped to increase the fear of what could be around the next corner.
Visually Daylight is probably going to be the first Unreal Engine 4 game most people play. While it could be underwhelming if you bought into all of Epic’s hype, Daylight is a very pretty game. The art style is very well done and looks just as good on PS4 as it does on PC.
The plot of Daylight pretty requires players to replay the game which is hard to do considering how repetitive the game can be. Its really hard to make sense of the story on the first go-through. The ending is satisfying enough but comes very suddenly, cutting the game short around 2.5 hours. With such a short campaign length players shouldn’t have too hard of a time replaying it at least once to see how different things are but the gameplay does start to grate on you after a while.
Daylight should be given credit for being a creepy adventure even if it is rough around the edges. The whole experience is scary and will keep you on your toes. No one can say the game isn’t creepy and in terms of being a survival horror game it does good on the horror part of that.
This is a decent first installment in a new franchise by Zombie Studios. Daylight may have some issues with non-threatening enemies, repetitive gameplay and confusing environments but it shines with good visuals, creepy enemies and good atmosphere. The scale of pros and cons are a little lop sides towards the cons but Daylight has a decent foundation. Hopefully Daylight gets a more fleshed out sequel to live up to this game’s initial promise.
Daylight isn't a bad game by any means even if multiple aspects feel under-developed. Its thoroughly creepy and has a good foundation and you'll enjoy your time with it if you can get past some mild repetition. Review copy provided by Atlus USA. Game completed in roughly 2.5 hours.