Daylight Review

Daylight begins with you trapped in a long ago shuttered insane asylum, with only a disembodied voice to provide you with occasional advice and a cell phone to light your way. It soon becomes clear that the asylum is haunted, very haunted, and your goal quickly becomes simply to escape.

That premise may appeal to fans of horror games, but, believe me, everything about the game goes downhill from there ... and fast. First, there's the asylum itself - and as a side note, everything applies to the game's small handful of environments that come after the asylum as well. The asylum is "procedurely generated", which is a fancy way to say that the layout is randomly created with each new game, and it certainly looks it. Only an architect suffering from insanity himself would create a building with such a hobbled together collection of hallways, rooms, and staircases, and it's a mystery to me how the upper floors could actually be supported by the lower ones in such a building. And everything looks the same; one drab, uninteresting, indistinguishable room after another.

Making matters worse, you must trudge through each level looking for notes and letters that serve to convey what there is of a story in the game. Find enough of them, or find the right ones, I'm still not sure which, and a key of some kind appears in one special room that then must be carried to another special room in order to exit the current level and begin the next. This is a process fraught with endless backtracking and only serves to pound home the fact that the level layouts are both terrible and mind-numbingly mundane. On occasion you'll run into some sort of basic environment puzzle such as those that involve dragging a box a few feet so you can climb over an obstacle, but they are few and far between and all can be solved in a few seconds.

Daylight screenshot 4

As for the horror aspect of the game, most of the frights are relegated to the soundtrack which is filled with whispers, wails, and thumps. It's a little unsettling at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that nothing ever really happens, it just sounds like it will, and that the whole thing is played on some kind of loop. It all sounds like the kind of scary noises that are played through the windows of a house that goes all out on Halloween, and you'll find yourself just tuning it out.

There are rare moments when a ghost actually does show up, but these identical and nonchalant specters can easily be dispatched by lighting a flare - flares which are conveniently left lying around each level. There's nothing more to surviving a paranormal encounter than pushing the flare button and then continuing on your way. The only other type of items in the game is glow sticks. Light one and you'll see notes more easily and be able to see your footprints, which is actually a bit helpful considering how easily it is to accidentally go around in circles in the game.

That pretty much sums up the entire game, and all of that in turn can be simplified to: pick up notes, get key, exit level, repeat, and if you see a ghost, light a flare. And if I had to sum it all up in one word, that word would be 'boring'.

Final Rating: 30%. Frighteningly boring.

 



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