Running through the dark forests while being chased by a terrifying masked killer isn’t my favorite way to spend a Tuesday evening, but beggars can’t be choosers in the horror game Dead by Daylight.
This asymmetrical multiplayer survival game has been one of the staples in the genre for seven years now, since its release in 2016, and that’s for good reason. With four survivors and one killer, the objective is simple yet effective. As the survivors, all you need to do is fix the generators, which will open the exit before the killer can hunt you down, impale you on a spike, and take your life.
Despite Dead by Daylight's horrific premise, eerie setting, and monstrous killers, I never found the survival game all that scary. When you know that the killer in a pig mask chasing you is really just a friend with whom you had a beer last week, the panic begins to rapidly drain out of you. While there may be one or two clips of me begging for my life as I get increasingly desperate to outlive the killer hunting me, the fear in my voice stems from my all-time phobia of being chased. I get jumpy if a stray Reinhardt chases me down in Overwatch 2. However, the lack of prevalent terror in Dead by Daylight is actually a good thing.
Watered down terror
Dead by Daylight places a large emphasis on being a multiplayer game. While you don’t have to play with friends thanks to a bustling online community, chasing your mates whilst armed with K-pop throwing stars is an experience no one should pass up.
For this reason, the lack of actual scares in Dead by Daylight is a good thing. We all have that one friend who claims they like Halloween but nearly faints when you surprise them with a tap on the shoulder, otherwise known as the scaredy cat. There’s no reason why this friend, in particular, should be left out of the spooky fun in Dead By Daylight - though recommending games like Devour or The Outlast Trials may not end well.
Instead, Dead by Daylight provides a muted horror experience. Sure, it’s still terrifying, but getting chased around by friends is much better than some automated monster hell-bent on scaring you in the worst ways possible. The fearful friend can even take matters into their own hands and become the killer, dishing out the scares instead of receiving them.
One of my favorite features is the ability to wind up or down the horror in Dead by Daylight. There are tons of horrifying games out there, so if all you’re looking for is to be scared out of your mind, that’s not particularly hard. However, it’s hard to find something that treads the line between terror and fun, as well as this multiplayer survival game does. If you want to scare the socks off your friends, there are plenty of opportunities to jumpscare players as they pass by or silently stalk them through derelict hallways. That being said, you can also tone it down with funny quips, casual conversation, or even by blasting music through your mic.
Dead by Daylight is a horror game that everyone can enjoy, no matter your tolerance of terror or frightening activities, and is perfect to play over Halloween. After doing so, the possibilities could become endless; who knows, maybe it will even help those more timid friends in a group build up a tolerance and experiment with scarier titles this spooky season.