There is a reason why developers create scary games and there is also a reason why I do not play them at all. You see – I am a very sensitive person and I take things very close to my heart be it a romantic moment in a film or a scary game I play. However, at the same time I feel nothing when I have to kick somebody’s selfishness out of the body, if you know what I mean. Anyway, despite y pathological hatred for scary games, one day I was too upset because of not going for a trip I planed, so I’ve made a decision to beat the sadness out of me in a scary way by playing the recently released horror game Daylight. Was it good? Well, you are about to find out. But here’s one thing you should know: I totally forgot about my trip.
Daylight is the first horror game build on the new Unreal Engine 4. In other words – people put lots of expectation on it and do want to see something special in it, not to mention – scary. As for the scary moment – the game does it pretty well during the first 50-60% of the gameplay. As for the special part – it kind of misses something. Maybe, it’s because of the fact that people get used to things, even scary ones, or maybe it’s because the game is missing something. Let’s hope it’s the first one.
It’s better to walk in Daylight, Sara!
It all begins in pretty usual manner. You wake up in a dark place, with nothing on you except for the phone lying nearby. The phone is your everything: it gives you directions and lightens the way. I am not sure if you can go further without taking it but still, even if you do have this opportunity – do not use it, OK? As you open your eyes, a strange voice of a man will approach you telling to do this or that. Listen to this voice because usually it gives pretty nice advices, not to mention – adds the atmosphere to the game. By the way, this particular voice will call your name for the first time which will be Sara. Sarawho? Who knows… maybe the game will give you answers.
As you will find out later – you are in an abandoned asylum that previously used to be a prison. And from what you can see – this establishment did not receive enough daylight back in the days. Maybe that is why everything went so wrong and you are now in here with no clue on what to do next. While the game is full of collectibles, for some reason they are not very helpful, not to mention – useful. Most of the items are here to create the atmosphere and to make you feel the fear more. I am not a big fan of reading too much stuff, even though I try to be as deep in the story as possible. At first it really seemed like a good idea but except for lots of paper writing I would really like to find other things. I do understand that there should not be much in the abandoned facility like former asylum and that this is the way developers want to present Daylight, but, maybe less on the notes and scary old photos and more on other stuff like pieces of forgotten past, broken glass, toys and else. Again – just a though.
Make the Daylight Come Back With Glow Sticks
One of the most valuable thing in the game is the light and the more you have it – the better. The only problem is that storing light sticks and burning flares is not that simple. First of all, because you can carry only a limited number of those, and second of all – they kind of disappear pretty quick. But, using them is vitally important because they are good for two thing: while the first one simply highlights interactive wardrobes and places that can provide you with the clues, the other ones can be used as weapon. Not directly, of course, but they do keep the monsters away and by saying monsters I do not mean zombies and monsters as you want to see them. In Daylight you will be forced to fight so called Shadow people (at least – I call them like this). These are shadows, half real, half not but despite their half unrealness, they do can harm and actually kill you. So, whenever you find glaring fires – do not waste them but wait for a proper moment and light it when the shadow approaches you.
I’ve totally forgot to say that you will have to deal with two colors – blue and red. The blue objects are here to create the atmosphere (I spoke about them earlier) but the read objects are the key ones and you need to pay all the possible attention to them. They are not missable but sometimes might be pretty hard to find. First of all – because of the dark corridors and scary atmosphere (luckily, the first part of the game is pretty good with that stuff). But, there is another reason that makes scavenging the scary place of shadow people a lot harder – the shadow people themselves. In order to open the doors you will need to collect 6 red notes. No matter how you do it but just do it right and quick because otherwise you will be chased by the witch with not that friendly smiles and definitely not friendly intentions. By the way, the closer you get to the number 6, the more active the shadow people become. Well, technically, there is only one shadow – the witch shadow, but it’s so creepy, that scares like the whole battalion of witches.
If you are afraid to miss the witch coming – don’t be. Your smartphone and scary sounds will do their work and you will be notified that the witch is close. Just remember – if your gadgets starts working bad and the creepy sounds appear (kind of reminds Silent Hill, doesn’t it?) – it’s time to light the glaring fires or to hide somewhere. Sometimes, the hiding option does not work.
Find the Teddy Bear to See the Daylight
No, this is not some kind of a joke – this is really what you are supposed to do. This game has no keys – just random objects that you also need to find. For example, after you get all the notes and pick up a Teddy Bear, you will be able to open a door. The door itself is not common and kind of reminds the portal door or a pentagram for black magic. Anyway, to open that door you will need a certain object. All objects have a certain value for Sara because they give her flashbacks. In most cases, it is really hard to tell what they mean because flashbacks look like random pictures with no particular sense. But, if you manage to see something special out there – good for you!
So, when you find the Teddy Bear or any other object, what should come next? Nothing strange, I should say. Now, just start running and try to reach the doors as soon as possible. Though, that might not happen quick and might not happen at all. In this particular maneuver lies the whole problem of that game that kind of makes you feel bored, if you are not lucky to be quick and clever. If you manage to run to the exit from the very first attempt – it’s really great. If not – you will be forced to restart the running from the very beginning of that part. In most cases, the shadow witch is more clever than you because she knows the place and because she is a witch! The other bad news is that you will be out of glaring fires pretty fast, even if you try to save them for later. So, in the end the picture looks like this: you need to walk through the circles of hell for another time with no guns, armed with light only, and there is a witch coming after you ready to eat Sara alive. If you succeed – you are lucky as hell, if not – welcome to the repeat club.
Closer to the End, Closer to the Daylight
People working for Zombie Studios and responsible for the game Daylight do know how the horror should look like. This is not about rivers of blood and parts of the bodies flying here and there. Thisallisabouttheatmosphereandlittlethings. You start to realize that from the very first seconds of the game: narrow corridors, only dark places and strange noise coming from all directions. But, that happens only in the first part of the game. The further you go – the better everything becomes (in a good way, of course): corridors become bigger, there is more light around and the world seems to be a better place. Wider places allow you to feel better about yourself and also give opportunities for better escape plans and maneuvers. And trust me – in Daylight this means a lot. But, on the other hand – you do lose the atmosphere and game becomes lighter, smoother and even a bit kinder. You know, everything should be felt in comparison.
Daylight is a very special game indeed but, unfortunately, lost its potential a bit. After a couple of hours of the gameplay you do lose a feeling of horror. Partially, because of the lighter atmosphere in the end of the game and partially because you get a feeling of déjà vu. Daylight uses the very same principles of horror movies and horror games people used before: scary music, unexpected appearances and things alike. Sure, it makes sense and gives players a start (and a good one, I should say), but… it is not new. People have been scared this way before and they know how to make it to the end without pooping in their pants.
What’s So Special With the Daylight?
There is one big beauty about the game that might actually encourage you to play the Daylight one more time. You see, Daylight uses a special algorithm that partially randomizes the levels you play on and, for instance, if the first time the corridor went left and right, now there might be no corridor at all. This particular algorithm does not influence the key parts of the game and you still will find them at the places they are supposed to be but as for the corridors and stuff – do not even expect to walk the same road twice. They will look familiar but they won’t be.
And, the game is scary as hell. At least, I was under very big impression when playing it. Yes, I know that I’ve told you before about the methods of scaring people and that they are not new. This is true but in Daylight it still happens to be very and very horrifying. I guess, it’s because they created a very special atmosphere. But, the problem is that this atmosphere lakes the sense of gameplay. Walking the scary corridors should happen for a reason and in this case – it happens for something I could not even call. Here is an example of strange logic that surprised me a lot: so, I am a person in a dark place with no way out and with a witch on my six. I do not have weapon to fight the witch and I do not know what to do to make things right. BUT! I do have time to stop in almost every room and read the notes that have no connection neither with me nor with the witch. Like, really? I guess, that if the evil was on your six, running after you, you would not stop for a coffee break to read the note. You would do anything to disappear around the next corner as soon as possible. Please, correct me if I am wrong!
I’m glad I saw the Daylight
Even though I could have sounded skeptical, I do not feel like being one. Daylight is a good game, probably, the scariest one I ever played. It knows how to scare and when to scare even though it uses the old methods. However, it misses the story and the telling. I would really like to see more scenario twists and deeper connection with the character than tons of notes that you get tired to read after 30 times. If you are not into playing long, it is actually possible to complete the game in an hour or so. All you have to do is to run through the corridors, pick the notes up and get away. But, in this case you will lose all the fun. Turn the lights off, put on your headphones, start the game and learn its every corner. Maybe this time you will see the Daylight.