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Daylight (Video Game Review)

Daylight is a new horror game from developer Zombie Studios and publisher Atlus. The game begins players in a dark and abandoned mental hospital with only the light of a cellphone to see how to get around the game early on. The game is pretty scary with ghosts, spirits and other supernatural beings lurking around the hospital, though the game isn't quite as frightening as other games such as Outlast. Daylight is still a fun game though, and it's the only horror game of its type that has been released in quite some time, so gamers looking for a scary new game should look no further.

Daylight begins with the main protagonist named Sarah awakening in the middle of an abandoned mental hospital. The woman pulls out her cellphone to see around the dark facility and communicates with an unnamed man that seems to know a lot about the main character and the hospital. The voice has plenty of good information for players to use to solve puzzles and progress through the game while also helping to move the game's storyline forward as well. The narrative is further explored through finding remnants and other pieces of paper scattered around the hospital that gives information on patients and the building's employees. Daylight has a pretty interesting storyline that fans will want to follow closely in order to fully understand what is happening throughout the game.

The cellphone is easily the most important tool available to players in Daylight. The device is used to light the way through dark rooms and hallways in the hospital, but it is also used to pinpoint where the player is currently located. Walking through different rooms will highlight the areas on the map located on the GPS of the phone. Players can then use this new knowledge to help trace their steps and find important areas or item spawns when needed. The in-game world of Daylight is procedurally generated, so though there may be similar looking pieces used to create certain rooms and adjacent hallways, no two games will ever be just alike. This makes using the GPS on the phone even more important, since there is no way to follow the same exact path from a previous playthrough or from watching someone else play the game.

Another important tool available to players are glowsticks. These items produce a large amount of green-tinted light for long periods of time. Even more importantly, players can find hidden secrets while using glowsticks that will light up while the item is equipped. This feature can be used to search desks, cabinets and other containers for additional items, hidden pieces of paper, remnants, or sometimes, nothing at all. Remnants are different from other notes found in the game in that most levels require that all remnants about a single patient be found before a key will appear that allows players to travel to the next area, so you can easily see why glowsticks end up being such an important item.

One other important item in Daylight are road flares. While these items likely produce the most light of any item, their red glare doesn't last too long. Instead, players will want to save flares to scare away ghosts and other enemies. Players will notice an indicator at the bottom of the screen that notes how much danger a player is in, but an easier warning to recognize is spotted on the cellphone. If the screen begins to flicker and crackle, a spirit is near, and it's time to light up a flare. Flares are rarer than glowsticks in the game, so players will sometimes want to run past enemies if possible rather than using up one of the valuable and very limited tools.

The notes scattered around the game do offer some interesting looks into the history of the abandoned mental hospital, but they also take away from the horror experience. Far too many times during a playthrough, the tension will be nearing too much to bear, when a series of notes that pauses the game each time while forcing players to read or skip through completely ruin the moment. There were even times when an enemy was right behind us in our playthrough of the game, but a momentary pause to pick up a note broke the tension and gave a chance to catch our breath and carefully plan the best way to lose the enemy. This is one of the issues with Daylight that will likely divide gamers and even cause some to lose interest in the game as time goes on.

There are also some minor puzzle elements featured in Daylight. The puzzles are never too difficult or intrusive on the storyline or the creepy setting. A puzzle early on has players moving around boxes to climb on in order to reach the other side of the room, but the scariest moment of the room happens just before the puzzle begins, so the moment isn't ruined in the same ways that notes and remnants affect gameplay. Other puzzles in the game require more intuative thinking, but the puzzles never get too difficult or will take players an uncessary amount of time to complete.

Daylight is a decent enough looking game but won't blow anyone away even on PlayStation 4. The randomly generated levels means many of the same set pieces are used to create environments in the game, so players will often notice some of the same rooms and patterns appearing over and over again. The game does feature a nice sound design that includes some creepy tone setting music and sound effects that will cause players to jump out of their chair. The main character is spooked for the entire game and tends to be a bit of a blabbermouth throughout the game as a minor annoyance. Daylight does feature controller support on PC, but players will likely have a tough time adjusting certain controllers to the speeds and settings they would like in the game though.

Overall, Daylight is a enjoyable game that is scary enough to spook even the hardest acting gamer and features a storyline that is interesting enough to keep players engaged for the few hours it takes to complete the game's campaign. There aren't a whole lot of collectibles or unlockable content in the game, but the randomized levels does give the game a little replay value. Players can pick up Daylight on sale during its launch week on both PlayStation 4 and PC, and it's a pretty good deal for the asking price, so download your copy today!

Daylight is now available for PlayStation 4 and PC. Daylight is rated M by the ESRB for Violence & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Daylight website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Randomly Generated Levels
  • Scary Storyline and Gameplay
  • Available for Discount During Launch Week
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Zombie Studios
Publisher: Atlus
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & PC (reviewed)
Release Date: April 29, 2014

Score: 7.5 out of 10

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