‘Procedurally generated’ was a big selling point for Zombie Studios horror game. After being showcased alongside Outlast as being one of the first revolutionary horror games for the PS4, I waited for the release date like a fat child stands outside the sweet shop door at 8:59am; eager to burst in and taste the goods. After playing Daylight I can say with complete safety that I will never be visiting this sweet shop again, because all of the fruit pastilles taste like balls. I overdid the effects when I typed Outlast before because I was subtly hinting that you should most definitely buy that game. First of all it was free on PS+ (if for some unknown reason you didn’t download it as February’s free game, you’re a silly silly person). Getting any game for free is good enough, but when the game is one of the first genuinely terrifying horror games I’ve played it’s even better. Secondly, Daylight is shit. Yes, that’s a valid point in buying Outlast. They should have called it Dayshite (hyuk hyuk hyuk).
You start the game lay down in front of a mobile phone. You pick up the phone. Some generic creepy old man/scientist tells you to go and find “remnants of the past”. You go find them. After collecting a set amount in an area you have to go and find the “sigil” and take it to a weird portal thing to progress to the next area. Repeat that process 4 times and you’ve completed the game. Congratulations on your brave and valiant achievement. You may now go and wash the taste of being ripped off out of your mouth and go play Outlast instead, or even ET for the Atari.
Back to ‘procedurally generated’; this means that every time you load up a saved game the layout of the areas change. So where there may have been a chair to the left when you saved the game last, it will now be on your right. And that’s about as far as this mechanic goes. A corridor will go right instead of left, a door will open to a different room with nothing in it, a wheelchair will move on its own instead of a box moving on its own. So we can conclude that ‘procedurally generated’ actually means ‘big pile of bums’. Daylight suffered from the same disease that Dead Island had. It had a pretty creepy trailer that made the game look very good, and I was excited to play it because I had finished Outlast and that was such a good horror game. But when you play Daylight it really is just a horrible game to play. The environments are boring, there is no story (you can’t really do much of a story in 1 hour of game time), and most disappointingly for me, there was only one enemy in the entire game.
The enemy is a witch, and for the first 20 minutes or so doesn’t even have the decency to appear (maybe she got lost on the way to the procedurally generated bathroom?). She only starts giving you grief when you get to the second area, and the first few times are only during scripted scenes. Now I must admit for about 30 minutes I was creeping slowly through corridors, soiling myself every time I had to open a door and jumping from the noises of creaking floorboards and children laughing on the floor above me. And the first few times the witch appears you’ll have to pick your manhood back off the floor, dust it off and continue playing. But then you figure out a very lazy pattern of actions. Every time the witch is near you your mobile phone (also used as a light source and mini map) begins to have a hissy fit. It crackles and distorts in a very unsubtle way.
Whenever this happens the witch is behind you. As I said, terrifying when it first happens, but not so bad after a while. The witch can’t hurt you as long as you don’t look at her (much like any angry woman, or so us men seem to think), so when your phone starts crackling just don’t turn around. Once you figure this out you never have to look at the only enemy in the game again. I ran through the game a second time (trophy whore, wanna fight about it?) and never once saw the witch unless it was in flashback type scene.
Also, fighting off the witch is less creative than throwing a hard-boiled egg at a jar of mayonnaise and claiming that you made the best egg mayonnaise there ever was. You get glow sticks for finding remnants/more glow sticks/empty drawers/flares. If you find a flare the credits may as well start rolling. You see a flare is the only way of attacking the witch (aside from looking forward), and once you strike it up they last about 2 minutes. While you are holding a flare you can run at the witch all you want and she’ll burst into flames and disappear (presumably to find work on a better game). The game really is as simple as that. It’s a shame that during the final area (very Slenderman-esque) I began to feel slightly uneasy again, but then the game throws an ending at you that I’m still not sure I understand.
Coming off the back of a solid E3 teaser and effective pre-release trailer, Daylight was a massive disappointment. Just as Outlast had redeemed the console horror genre it seems that people just can’t figure out how to make a game scary (tip: it’s not shy screaming women). Speaking of Outlast, for maybe the fifth time, the new DLC was released at the beginning of May, and it’s very, very good. Better than Daylight…Maybe I should have reviewed Outlast instead?
Daylight Score: 3/10
+ Genuinely creepy beginning
– Boring gameplay – Repetitive
– Extremely short
– Procedural generation lacks any effect