Dead by Daylight Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Behaviour Interactive

Published By: Behaviour Interactive

Reviewed By: Alex Laybourne

Thank you so much to Behaviour Interactive for providing a review code

A Killer Game

Dead by Daylight is a game that needs little to no introduction. First launched on PC in 2016 it has grown into a mainstay on Twitch and other streaming channels and has both a loyal and dedicated fanbase. An excursion onto home consoles came the following year.

Now, in October 2019 it is making its debut on the Nintendo Switch. How does it fair? After all, it is a game that requires a lot of power. The worlds are rich and the need for good shadows is a must to capture the true spirit of the game.

Well, keep reading to find out.

A Deep and Detailed Backstory

Dead by Daylight is an online multiplayer survival game. Played with a team of 5, you can choose to play as the killer or one of the four ‘survivors.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Dead by Daylight is the story and the mythos around it. There’s a lot! Too much to cover in a review, but if you like that sort of stuff, backstory, and motivations, etc., then check out the Dead by Daylight wiki.

In short, there’s a supernatural evil called ‘The Entity’ and it resides within the Bloodweb. The Entity requires sacrifices in order to survive. So, the Entity summons the killers to do its bidding. Each of the available stages is an otherworldly recreation of the place where the respective killer’s reputation was made.

Each killer also has its own sub-story and background explaining how they become such a villainous character.

The survivors are merely unlucky souls who got to close to the locations where the killers were ‘born’. Taken to the Bloodweb world they are nothing but food for the beast. Yet hope is not lost. If they can fix the scattered generators, they could open the doors to freedom. The question is, can they survive long enough to find their way home?

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Ready to Play a Game?

Dead By Daylight is played from a third-person perspective, and while objectives are simple, kill or survive, each character brings something different to the table.

Having played Dead by Daylight (albeit briefly) on the PlayStation 4 I was wondering how this game would perform on the Nintendo Switch. I am very happy to say the game runs very smooth. Yes, it’s at 30fps, but it hits 1080 in docked and a good 720 in handheld mode. You do hit the odd hiccup here and there, but nothing that damages the gameplay.

Upgrade Before the Hunt Begins

Before any good fight, you need to make sure you are well prepared for battle. In Dead by Daylight, this means getting your extras and boosts in order.

Each killer can be strengthened before a game in several ways.

Perks – These are bonuses that can be bought from the Bloodweb. Depending on your killer level you can add one, two or three perks. Some of which can be staked for extra effect. Some perks are available to all killers while others are character-specific.

Offerings – Offerings are made to the entity and can help you influence elements of the game such as which level you are most likely to be sent to. These are also bought from the Bloodweb with the blood points you earn in the game.

Killer Power Add-Ons – These are bonuses that can be added to amplify the killer’s individual power. This included reduced cooldown time between uses.

Much like the killers, there are perks that can be used for the different survivors that can boost their specific skill sets. While you cannot fight back against the killer, there are certain things you can do to aid your cause.  

There are totems that will appear in the world. These can be prayed to in exchange for the removal of one of the killer perks. While this may not necessarily change the tide of the game, it is something that can help slow the killer just enough.

Chests can also be searched to yield bonuses such as a medkit that can be used to heal either yourself or injured teammates, or a flashlight which, when shone in the eyes of the killer will temporarily blind them giving you a chance to escape.

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Playing as the Killer

There are 9 different killers that you can choose from when playing Dead by Daylight, and each one has a different play style and difficulty grading associated with them.

My personal favorite was The Clown, who was graded as being of intermediate difficulty. This grading is how difficult the character is to play with and properly utilize. While the killers share the same basic premise, they have different styles and techniques that require a different approach to the game.

Their base controls are the same. They can walk, run and strike with a weapon, but their special move is what sets them apart. The Clown, for example, has jars of ‘tonic’ that he can throw. If a survivor is caught in the cloud of toxins that come from the tonic, they grow disoriented. The play style for the clown is more tactical, using the jars to either herd survivors into prime killing location, or to try to shock them out of hiding from a distance.

Even the tonic has a backstory, as to why this is used by the clown. As I said, for those that love lore, there is a deep mythos running here. I enjoyed playing the killer characters the most and found they had the biggest swing in play styles. This did make for some tricky games, but once I settled on a few killers I enjoyed, I worked out my battle strategy with them.

Playing as a Survivor

There are 10 different survivor characters that are available in the base version of Dead by Daylight.

The main goal of a survivor is generator repair. These disabled generators are scattered around the level and it is up to you all to work as a team to repair five of them and open the exit gate.

It’s not as easy as it sounds as the killer is alerted to generators as they are repaired. Each repair happens in several stages, and while it can be attempted in a single sitting, it is best approached in a more cautious manner.

One aspect that constantly caught me off guard was the skill checks. While carrying out repairs with the ‘R’ bumper you are suddenly prompted to press the ‘L’ bumper stopping the gauge in the indicated range. Failing to do so sets your repair progress back a little and makes a huge noise that will alert the killer of your whereabouts. Passing the test gives you a small bump in progress and extra bloodpoints, but more on that later.

With all of the generators fixed, it is time to escape. Find one of the exit gates, open them and you and the other survivors have your way back home.

The survivor characters control very well, and while it took a little getting used to having run and creep commands on the same side of the controller, once I had it down it was very easy.

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Navigating the Bloodweb

Bloodpoints are the in-game powerup currency, that is awarded for all manner of actions for both killer and survivor alike. These will accrue over time and can be spent on the Bloodweb.

The Bloodweb is the reward and upgrade scheme that runs through the game. Each level of the web presents you with an interconnected selection of offerings and perks. The board must be cleared before the next level is hit.

As you get to be a higher a more thoughtful approach to how you spend your Bloodpoints is needed, as The Entity will start to claim one or more items from the web themselves, blocking off the way to certain items.

The skill matrix and depth of character-building is deep and complex. Only through playing the game and trying different combinations will you really get the hang of what is best used when. Even now, I am still learning new things, and finding new ways to stack the deck in my favor.

Play Online or Organizing a Private Slaughter

As with most online games of this sort, I’m thinking of recent releases like Obakeidoro and Friday the 13th you can play this online with a randomly connected group, or you can arrange a private game for you and your friends. You know, if you wanted to have an event where you stalk and brutally assault your closest mates, baying like a triumphant banshee as you cut them down and hang them up like pigs at the slaughter.

I will admit, I have no friends on the Switch, and my life doesn’t lend to planned online play, so I never got the chance to try the local game, but the concept is the same, there are no gameplay differences to speak of.

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

DLC and Customizable Components

The game is chockfull of extras. Along with the Bloodpoints you can invest real money in the game and buy Auric Cells. These can be used in the in-game store to buy new outfits for your characters, both killer and survivor alike.

You can buy individual upgrades, to faces, body’s and weapons or for a discount a full character set.

There are multiple skin and weapon looks in the game for each character, but none of it gives a gameplay bonus. There is no pay to win mentality, and while you would have to classify the Cells as microtransactions, they are only there when you go to the store, there is no push from the game to make the purchase, which is always a pleasant thing to find.

Along with the skins, there are several DLC packs for the Nintendo Switch version of the game including the Stranger Things pack, which offers both Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler as survivor characters and the Demogorgon as a killer.

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

A Visually Impressive Port

As I alluded to earlier, when compared to the other versions of the game there are cuts that have been made, but that was to be expected. I was however very pleased to see how nice the game looked and felt. The textures of the worlds and the shadows were nothing short of incredible. Especially when playing in handheld mode.

Sitting there on a bus, playing a game of Dead by Daylight on my phone’s hotspot was a strange yet satisfying feeling.

The main sacrifice I found in terms of visuals was in the characters, in particular, their faces. These appear rather blurred and low-fi at times, but I’m fine with that. The developers focused on the core areas, performance, and terrain, and that’s what really matters.

The worst performing part of the whole game was, in my opinion, the main menu. There were constant frame rate issues on both movement and input when moving around the menu and making purchases in the Bloodweb. They were short and unobtrusive, yet oddly noticeable at the same time.

From an audio perspective, the game also excels. Again, this is not a surprise as audio clues are a vital part of the strategy for both character types. Listening to the sound of frightened and bleeding survivors is a great way to home in on their location and move in for the final kill. Likewise, I found it vital to rely on the survivor’s heartbeat to tell me where the killer was, especially if I was carrying out a repair or healing one of my teammates.

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

No Major Issues

Overall, I found Dead by Daylight to be a high-quality port. I did encounter a few frame rate issues in matches, but nothing that ruined my experience with the game. I found everything ran better than I expected, and the gameplay was much smoother than on the game’s main competitor Friday the 13th.

The worst issue I encountered on a guaranteed basis was when playing as the Hillbilly killer, which luckily wasn’t one of my favorites anyway – although he is one of the two easy to learn killers. The problem was with his Killer Power move, a chainsaw that lets him both sprint long distances and slice through whoever gets in his way. The lag I would get at both the start and end of the sprint was not only agonizing but also rendered the whole point of the chainsaw sprint moot.

So, I just don’t play as the hillbilly, no big loss as I said. I saw a few others comment on it online too, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this gets fixed in an upcoming patch.  

Dead by Daylight on Nintendo Switch

Conclusion

If you are new to the game or don’t own any other consoles, I feel this should be a must-own and a vital component to your collection. Dead By Daylight has a solid community, and it really shows. I rarely had a long wait for a game, as either killer or survivor. Survivor was often the quickest to load, but that makes sense given the character ratio, and I liked that you got to choose what you wanted and didn’t have the ‘luck of the draw element’ that Friday the 13th has.

That being said, if you are a fan of Dead by Daylight and already play it on other systems, should you buy it for Nintendo Switch? Unless you are a collector or really want to play it on the go, then maybe you can pass it by. This doesn’t mean it’s not a great game, because it is, but there were sacrifices made that seasoned players will surely notice.

All I know for sure is that I loved my time with this game and I’m sure to be playing it for a long time to come.

9/10

Pros

  • Great Looking Port Despite Some Noticeable Downgrades
  • Diverse Group of Survivors & Killers
  • No Long Waits to Find a Game
  • Impressive Performance
  • Deep Character Customization

Cons

  • A Few Glitches (Especially The One With The Hillbilly)
  • Occasional Frame Rate Drops in Game
  • Frame Rate on The Main Menu is Rough

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