There was a moment early on in Daylight where I noticed myself passing through the exact same room over and over again. Initially, even with the map pulled up on my phone, it made me feel as if I had lost my sense of direction. As if the walls of the hospital were shifting so that I would just endlessly walk in circles with no hope of ever escaping. In these moments I could hear someone whispering in my ear, footsteps from down the hall, and ambient noise growing louder and louder as if to signify that something dangerous was near. In its first few moments Daylight shows promise in atmosphere that might genuinely send shivers down your spine. Unfortunately, it all crumbles and the illusion of ever being in danger is quickly broken. What’s left is a game in which there’s no tension, no reason to fear the dark and no reason to be mindful of your surroundings.
In Daylight you begin in an abandoned hospital with only your cell phone (which acts as a map and a flashlight) to guide your way. The phone light is rather dim, however so you’ll need to collect glow sticks and flares to help you see through the dark. Glow sticks will highlight things that you can interact with while flares can be used to ward off the ghosts that haunt you throughout the game. Without much of an explanation given you are simply tasked with finding hidden remnants to uncover a sigil that will help you escape each of the game’s four main areas. While doing this your character will often say things like “I know someone is in there”, “What is that?”, and “there’s no escape” over and over again. This gets old fast and typically took me right out of the experience. At the same time there’s a man who speaks to you through your phone that will periodically chime in with phrases that don’t do much to shed any sort of light on what’s actually going on. On top of that, some of the things this guy says are just mind-boggling considering the context. (“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…and you’ve scorned them all!” was particularly strange.)
It also took me about a minute just to load my save file.
In each of the four areas you’ll walk around finding remnants (which are essentially just journal entries or newspaper clippings) that will eventually reveal a sigil. The sigil is apparently supposed to be an item of importance to your character, but it also acts as a key that will grant access to the next area. As you explore you’ll periodically find the map on your phone distorting and spooky sounds will play signifying that a ghost is near. If the ghost catches you you’ll die and restart at the last checkpoint, which is typically at the beginning of each of the four areas. Flares can be used to ward off ghosts, but this whole game starts to break apart when you realize that by simply turning away from the ghost you can ensure that you’re never in any danger. As long as you are not directly looking at them you will never be harmed. They’ll simply stand just a few feet away from you and eventually vanish. Suddenly the one thing that you are fleeing from poses absolutely zero threat to you. (This makes managing glow sticks and flares pointless.)
Without any sort of threat you are left with a game that simply asks you to repeat the same boring task over and over again for two hours. On top of that the randomly generated layouts ultimately amount to just a few pre-made sections that are repeated over and over again. There’s a lack of variety in the design of each room and hallway that even a completely different layout won’t fix. You’re still just going to be collecting six notes randomly placed throughout each area without any sort of tension. Daylight isn’t scary; it’s boring.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Sound design
What I Dislike:
- Dull gameplay
- Bad frame rate
- Very easy to ensure that the ghost will not attack you
- Predictable story/poorly written
- The handful of phrases that the main character repeats throughout the game
- Not scary