By: Casey Curran
A horror game that is not scary is usually a bad thing. Sometimes it works, the Dead Space series found much critical acclaim with a large number of fans not feeling scared by it. In the case of Daylight, however, well, let’s just say not being scary is the least of its problems.
While the controls do not feel as polished as I was like, there was nothing that I could really complain about. The game contains almost no action, so occasionally having difficulty bringing up the context so I can pick up a note or a glow stick is an annoyance I can deal with. The slow pace of the game removes any need for precision.
Daylight is a very generic looking game if you have ever seen a first-person horror game. The area is abandoned, and therefore everything is a mess. Creepy things sometimes look like they could be in the distance or the corner of your eye, but they vanish once you look at them. And every now and then there is a creepy sound. These are not bad elements at all, but there is nothing to distinguish the game and give it an identity of its own.
Well, except the motion sickness. While playing Daylight, I slowly but surely felt like I was going to puke, and only putting the game down would make it go away. The game was already average looking, but this element made the game painful to look at.
The best way to show how Daylight is going through the motions is with the building you wander around in. I am pretty sure the most recent of the three purposes the building was used for was a hospital, which is now abandoned. Before that, it was a mental asylum and a prison, though the game never made it clear which came first. It felt like a checklist of how to make a game scary rather than a vision of how to game one.
The gameplay itself is little more than roaming through the halls, offering minimal exploration. Every now and then you will run into a locked door that requires backtracking to find the most bizarre keys (such as a teddy bear; seriously). As you meander through, a desk may shake or there may be something moving right past you. These never feel like they present any real danger, however, as they tend to stay far away from you, making me wonder if this is like a fox in the woods where they want to stay away from you as much as you want to steer clear of them.
There are also notes littered around that give background info like every other game that takes place in an abandoned area. These notes are not terribly interesting or insightful, however, so they do little to flesh out the story. The main character is also horribly boring, which works against the story when it reveals a character-oriented plot twist — not surprisingly it falls flat because of how bland the protagonist is. Though in the game’s defense, you do use glow sticks rather than a flashlight to light up dark corridors. Who doesn’t love glow sticks?
Daylight is the kind of game that tries way too hard to be scary in all the wrong ways while phoning in the ways it should. It feels like one of those haunted house attractions at a carnival, where all attempts at scaring are so comical it’s impossible to feel threatened. I would have a hard time recommending this game, even if it did not give motion sickness. If you want a good horror game on your PS4, I would go with Outlast instead.