A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dead by Daylight is a survival horror game available on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Taking its tone from "slasher" horror movies, players take on the role of either a Survivor attempting to escape a sacrificial ritual or the supernatural Killer hunting them down. The game is filled with violence and gore, with characters getting impaled, slashed, and otherwise killed in a variety of ways. Teams of Survivors have the best chance of surviving when using teamwork and communication. But the online nature of the game and communication does leave players open to potentially offensive language from other players, outside of the occasional profanity already built into the characters' dialogue.
What's it about?
DEAD BY DAYLIGHT is a slasher film brought to life. Four strangers, lost and presumed dead to the world at large, awaken to find themselves trapped in strange and unfamiliar surroundings. Their only way out? Work together and find a way to fix the generators needed to open the massive gates blocking their escape. It won't be easy though. The group is being hunted by a supernaturally powered killer, determined to fulfill its goal of sacrificing these four to a malevolent force known simply as "The Entity". In this online 4v1 asymmetrical horror experience, you must choose your role: Survivor or Killer. As a Survivor, will you be able to escape fate and make your way to freedom, adding your tale of survival to the lexicon of horror legend? Or as the Killer, will you be able to appease your dark master, guaranteeing that his offerings are "Dead by Daylight"?
Is it any good?
This slasher movie game is exhilarating and can be a lot of fun to play, if you can get past some of the online hiccups. It's hard to deny that there's something oddly engaging in a horror film. You watch the tension build. You argue with the people on the screen when they make some ridiculous decision. Sometimes you even yell "WATCH OUT!" when the killer is stalking his prey. You always think you could have done better, that you would have lived to fight another day. Dead by Daylight gives you the chance to put your money where your mouth is, either by slipping out of the clutches of a supernatural killer … or by proving there's no escape from your wicked grasp. The game's presentation is fantastic, with environments that are suitably creepy, an audio track that builds on the tension, Survivors that react with pure terror, and Killers pulled right from your nightmares. The game also does a great job of making things feel fairly balanced. Sure, the Survivors have the odds stacked against them, but never completely feel helpless. And the Killer, though outnumbered, feels like a force of nature as it stalks its prey.
When everything comes together, it's an exhilarating adrenaline rush that can leave you with your heart in your throat and a cold sweat breaking out on your face. The key part of that statement, unfortunately, is "when everything comes together". The online-only nature of the game opens it up to a number of frustrating issues. For starters, the matchmaking leaves a lot to be desired. Unless you're diving in solo for some quick play or you already have a party of at least four people to play Survivor, it can take an excruciatingly long time to get into a match, with more than a few disconnects in between. And once you do actually get in, the human factor comes into play. You might get a good group looking to get the most out of the game, or you might run into online trolls simply looking to ruin the fun. Worst of all, if you do manage to find a good group to play with, after the match, there's no way to stick together for another match. Even with friends, players have to start all over (inviting each other, setting up lobbies, etc.) before jumping into a new game. Hopefully, this will improve in time, as Dead by Daylight is a genuinely terrifying experience when at its best, and a must play for horror movie fans up for a good scare.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. What is the appeal of horror movies, particularly the "slasher" style of many films? How much is "too much" when it comes kids being exposed to blood and gore?
Talk about teamwork and online gaming. What are some good ways to work with others online in a gaming environment, and what are the best ways to deal with "toxic" players?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Starbreeze Studios
- Release date: June 20, 2017
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.