How Scary Is… ‘Daylight?’

Daylight

Jared Gerritzen of Zombie Studios is a self-proclaimed aficionado of Japanese horror. He is also the proud owner of perhaps the most brilliantly craptacular beard I’ve ever seen. The latter fact has very little bearing on this article, but it was worthy of mention anyway, because damn.

Anywho, on to those Japanese sensibilities, and how they influence the studio’s latest title, Daylight.

The game’s focus is upon ‘psychological horror,’ a notion more typical of the East. The idea is that what may be lurking in the shadows is infinitely more worrisome than anything that currently is chewing on your butt. This approach, when handled well, can keep us on tenterhooks through much of a movie or game. It really depends upon the individual’s ideas of what ‘defines’ horror: direct and brutal knife-slashy violence and gore, or a slow burning unsettling atmosphere.

Not that the two can’t coexist, of course, but Daylight almost entirely eschews the former. There are jump scares and creepy floating undead witch-things, granted, but they’ll kill you horribly off-screen. All you get is something like Resident Evil’s dramatic YOU’RE DEAD screens, minus any sort of blood.

"And what time do you call this? Your dinner's ruined!" "...sorry, dear."
“And what time do you call this? Your dinner’s ruined!”
“…sorry, dear.”

This enigmatic tale stars a woman known only as Sarah, who awakens in a dingy hospital clueless as to how she got there. She is armed only with a cell phone, which functions as both a flashlight and a map of the area. Needless to say, the hospital is of the pitch-black abandoned asylum variety, and there are rumours of… things lurking about its halls.

Your are guided by a sinister voice, which crackles through your phone at regular intervals. This old dude has some relation to the hospital, and to you, but it’d be spoilerific to delve into that. Suffice it to say that the game is divided into brief ‘chapters,’ each of which contains several Remnants you must collect to proceed. These are small notebook-y files, which provide fleeting insight into what has happened/is happening at the hospital.

It’s a game of exploration, not of combat. The only ‘weaponry’ you’ll find are glowsticks and flares, which have different helpful functions. The first will place an eerie glow over points of interest in the environments, such as desks and drawers which contain Remnants. Meanwhile,the flares are your only means of escaping the Shadows (except simply running in the opposite direction in an underpants-on-fire hurry).

Lighting one will cause any of these witch-beasts in the vicinity to burst into flame and die/melt/whatever the hell happens to them. Which is, y’know, pretty darn handy. Naturally, both are in equally scant supply, and you’ll have to be thrifty.

It's the ACTUAL LAW that a horror game must include a creepy doll.
It’s the ACTUAL LAW that a horror game must include a creepy doll.

So just how scary is Daylight? Again, that’s up to the personal experience of the player. It’s full of all the typical tropes you’d expect of the genre: the distant ghostly wails, the disembodied footsteps, the thing-falls-from-the-ceiling-as-you-pass-in-an-attempt-to-make-you-foul-yourself… it’s very much business as usual. Attacks from the witch-things are rather rare, but their unpredictable nature ensures that they’ll get a jump or two out of you, and you will find wandering flare-less unnerving.

What the game does have on its side is a very oppressive atmosphere. The hospital reminded me somewhat of tromping through Dead Space 2‘s nursery, though without Isacc Clarke’s weapons of mass destruction for protection. The creepiness of the Remnants ramps up slowly and very effectively too. The first files you receive tell of the charming new doctor and his hopes for this fancy establishment. As you proceed further into the hospital/game, increasingly sinister facts begin to come to light. I found this to be a fascinating hook.

Others will disagree, and it’s certainly valid to do so. Daylight is a game in which much of the scariest subject matter is strictly implied, or rather vaguely hinted at. For this reason, some players have simply scoffed that ‘nothing happens,’ which is a fair enough conclusion on a certain level. If you’re looking for the more actiontastic horror of Outlast or perhaps Resident Evil 4, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

If you crave a more methodical experience, you might find that Daylight will –as Mr. Sinister Cell Phone Voice promises– consume you. It’s available now, for PS4 and PC.

Best Games Coming Out April 2014

Games

March is almost over and another month filled with enthusiastic game releases is approaching. April 2014 promises to deliver a huge diversity of gaming genres and cross-platform games titles. Innovation and creativity won’t be forgotten in most of the next-gen release this month. And even if April doesn’t include many AAA releases, there’s still plenty to explore and enjoy.

Here’s an extensive list of the best games coming in April 2014:

The Elder Scrolls Online1. The Elder Scrolls Online (PC, MAC)

The Elder Scrolls universe is finally embracing the MMO world. The wonders of exploration and role-playing from the original series will allow players to experience the real essence of Elder Scrolls in a cross-platform online game. The expectations towards this MMORPG are tremendous but not everything is remarkably appealing, the monthly subscription and the lack of original features have been diving the public opinion. Still, it’s surely the most anticipated release of April 2014. Check it out here.

Release Date: April 4th     Genre: MMORPG

Access: Purchase + Monthly Subscription     Official Website: elderscrollsonline.com

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks     Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios

The Amazing Spider-Man 2-22. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

Peter Parker and his alter-ego are back for another enthusiastic adventure in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. A new wide cast of villains approaches New York City and players will be forced to choose between hero or menace, a new reputation system that brings different consequences. This upcoming Spider Man title has brand new combat mechanisms, skills and visuals, which will create a more immerse and dynamic gameplay. Click here to check it out.

Release Date: April 29th     Genre: Action-Adventure

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.theamazingspidermangame.com

Publisher: Activision     Developer: Beenox

Daylight 3. Daylight (PC, PS4)

Daylight presents a dramatic horror story, in which players rely simply on their cellphone to survive. The main protagonist is Sarah, a memory loss patient who regains consciousness in a haunted hospital. To escape she must explore and unveil the hospital’s secrets but that won’t be easy. The horror-survival genre has been quite numb lately but Daylight’s breath-taking gameplay might give a refreshing image to the genre itself.

Release Date: April 8th     Genre: Survival-Horror

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.playdaylight.com

Publisher: Atlus     Developer: Zombie Studios

War of the Vikings4. War of the Vikings (PC)

The Viking Age is coming to the present days through the eyes of Fatshark and its most recent creation, War of the Vikings. In this action multiplayer game, players will be able to create a personalized warrior and sack England as a fearless Norseman or defend it as a valiant Saxon. Customization is the main key feature of this title – combat, skills, tactics, characters, equipment – everything can be chosen and defined by players to create the ultimate warrior. Available as a digital download on Amazon.

Release Date: April 15th     Genre: Action

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.warofthevikings.com

Publisher: Paradox Interactive    Developer: Fatshark

Trials Fusion5. Trials Fusion (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U)

Trials Fusion dignifies the next generation of racing gaming. It combines the best of classic racing with stunning visuals, intuitive mechanics and addictive competition. It also features spetacular fantasy and sci-fi scenarios, turning every race into a dignifying spectacle. Check it out here.

Release Date: April 16th     Genre: Racing

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.redlynx.com/games/trials-fusion

Publisher: Ubisoft     Developer: RedLynx

Child of Light

6. Child of Light (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

Ubisoft’s next release is Child of Light, a platforming fantasy RPG for all ages. Centered on Aurora, a young girl who wakes up in mythical world of Lemuria, Child of Light challenges players to recover the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars stolen by the Black Queen. This game features a turn-based combat system and it has more than 200 different skills and 600 crafting combinations. Download the game here.

Release Date: April 30th     Genre: RPG

Access: Purchase     Official Website: childoflight.ubi.com

Publisher: Ubisoft     Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Moebius Empire Rising7. Moebius: Empire Rising (PC, Linux, Android, iPad)

Moebius: Empire Rising presents an intriguing metaphysical story centered on Malachi Rector, an historic dealer who travels the world hunting down artifacts. The game challenges players to unveil the mysteries behind seeming common events that turn out to be something much deeper. Someone is trying to play with the fabric of life and Rector must measure his actions and the following consequences. Download a free version here.

Release Date: April 15th     Genre: Adventure

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.postudios.com/company/games/moebius

Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios     Developer: Pinkerton Road

Other game releases this month: Goat Simulator (April 1st); Life Goes On (April 16th); Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance (April 3rd).