Daylight starts promisingly with a haunting soundtrack which leaves you feeling unsure what lies ahead, though the suspense is destroyed a little bit by the fact it takes a very long time to load. This is no doubt because of the randomly generated maps
You play as a character called Sarah who awakens in a darkened room, unsure of where you are with a voice telling you that ‘you must succeed’. You have a mobile phone which acts as your map and is primary light source. It appears as though you are in some kind of abandoned building.
Quickly into the game you stumble across some glow sticks which do offer some light and also highlight objects you can interact with. These sticks also show where you have walked so that you can retrace your steps if you need to double back because you have got lost in the labyrinthine corridors. Unfortunately, the glow sticks are entirely pants at lighting the surroundings and offer none of the security of Outlast’s night-vision mode. Even with glow stick in hand, you are stumbling around aimlessly in the dark. Clearly Sarah isn’t the most physical person in the world as she can only carry 4 glow sticks at any one time before her inventory is full. Surely, if you are stuck in an abandoned asylum you would be shoving as many glow sticks as you could into your pockets.
The objective of the game is very similar to that of Slender, in which you have to find 6 fragments of memories hidden around the stage before you can make your way to the exit. All the while, trying to not be killed by sinister supernatural witches. These will kill you if you look at them too long, not entirely unlike the Slender Man. Your ways of combating these are either running for your life, or igniting a flare which for some reason destroys the paranormal threat. Unfortunately, like the glow sticks you can only carry a limited number of these.
The levels are randomly generated each time you play which keeps the game fresh on multiple play-throughs. However, this does make the layout of the stages a bit chaotic and without all the charms of Outlast’s lovingly crafted asylum. Another downside to random levels is that the game can get a bit laggy as it is generating the environments at the start of each stage. That is not to say the game isn’t scary, the music and sound design is very well done and there are still jumps a-plenty. It is just lacking that little ‘je ne sais quoi’ that other horror games on the market have. On a second play through we encountered an entire area much different to that of our first play through. This gave the game a distinctly different feel and kept up the tension as we couldn’t head through on auto-pilot. This is one element where the game does beat Outlast, but only if that level generates.
Interestingly, this is the first game to be released using the brand spanking new Unreal 4 engine. Disappointingly, it is hard to tell the difference between this and a last gen game and it certainly doesn’t use the console to its full potential.
As you are walking though the deserted environment the atmosphere becomes more tense when you hear the distant sound of running feet and the glimpse of a paranormal terror. Strange sounds and unsettling string do make this a creepy game, with strange moans and phones which ring as you pass. It is just a shame that the rest of the game isn’t as polished as the sound design.
The game would be better for the user if you were given a little more illumination. I understand why they wanted the game to be difficult to navigate, however, I do think just a touch more light would allow you to see more of the creepy set pieces. The fact that it has been released so close in time to Outlast means that it can’t avoid any inevitable comparisons to Red Barrel’s fright-fest.
“What the Hell is this?’ asks Sarah as she walks into a room filled with crazy markings on the walls. She experiences some kind of freaky flash back and is transported to a room with un-nerving photos on the wall. Not to forget the battered teddy which she is clutching in her left hand. No explanation is given, just that this is a key artifact in escaping the terror she is living through. Unfortunately, when holding said bear, you are unable to use glow sticks or flares. This does increase the terror as you are left with minimum vision.
At points in the game you feel like you are wandering aimlessly as you encounter dead end after dead end with nothing occurring in between.
If you are a fan of horror it’s definitely worth a play. Especially as there is currently a discount for PlayStation plus subscribers, however, in all honesty, your money is better spent on the truly terrifying Outlast and it’s recent expansion, Whistleblower.
Daylight is available on PlayStation 4 for £10.25 (£8.20 for PS+ members)
It is also available for PC on Steam for £11.99