Daylight Review

Developer: Zombie Studios

Publishers: Guy Studios (PC), Atlus (Ps4)

Release Date: April 29th, 2014

Available on: PC, Playstation 4

Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the Playstation 4. There may be differences between versions.

It’s finally here! No, not Daylight, I wasn’t really excited about the game in much of anyway. Rather, the technology behind it and that it’s the first game using Unreal Engine 4. Similar to how the Unreal Engine 3 was used for a vast majority of games the last generation, you’ll likely be seeing a lot of the Unreal Engine 4 as it will get used for a majority of AAA and indie games alike. I just have one real problem…

Daylight is an absolute pile of shit.

In Daylight you’re trying to collect scraps of papers called remnants that are spawned randomly in a procedurally generated maze. After finding enough remnants you’ll have to find the sigil and, upon finding that, can exit the stage. To make this challenging you’ll have to deal with witches. When you first enter each maze they don’t bother you much, but each remnant you pick up causes them to go after you more aggressively. They’ll teleport, sneak behind you, wait for you around corners, and all sorts of tricks. The just can’t hurt you unless you’re looking directly at them. So yes, I’m serious here, you can complete the entire game by looking at your feet and just watching the map as you go about your work and you will never get any trouble from the witches at all.

This is pretty much what 9/10ths of the game looks like, really.

This is pretty much what 9/10ths of the game looks like, really.

If you choose to play the game somewhat properly you do have some tools at your disposal. Glowsticks allow you to see if there’s items inside objects by highlighting them, while flares scare the witches off as long as you got one active. You also have your cellphone, which will double as a map and a flashlight, and also lets the mysterious Doctor Mercer talk to you, though I’m still unsure what the point of him is. Between mazes you’ll find yourself in bigger rooms with set piece puzzles for you to solve. These puzzles are often so easy, requiring you to do little more than push a single box or flip a single switch, that I’m still pretty unsure what the point of them are other than to pad out the game’s length. I guess I’m just glad that, despite these rooms, Daylight is only around 2 to 3 hours long.

In those hours you’re also treated to a completely incomprehensible story. You play as Sarah, who wakes up inside a hospital for… reasons that she doesn’t remember. Reasons that I honestly don’t think are ever explained even. She is then hunted by witches for reasons that I also don’t think are ever really explained. You’re supposed to piece together the story through the remnants you find, which work like newspaper clippings and diary entries. It’s just difficult to care when the story is blatantly not only completely uninteresting, but difficult to follow. The most I can figure out is that there were twelve witches that was betrayed by a thirteenth witch and so they’re… angry I guess? And haunt the hospital/prison/construction site the game takes place in for reasons. That’s the best I got.

That’s Daylight in a nutshell though. It doesn’t even manage to use the fancy new Unreal Engine 4 that efficiently. The game is kind of ugly, though not extremely so. Worse, though, is that it suffers from extremely long loading times and the frame rate stutters when there’s absolutely nothing going on. It’s a mess and it makes me wonder why they even bothered using the new engine if they weren’t’ going to actually utilize its advantages.

Daylight is a mess. Fro the bad and boring gameplay, the all-over-the-place story, to squandering the impressive Unreal Engine 4. No part of this works anything like it should and that’s a real shame.

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