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Dead By Daylight Switch Review: A Port That's Very Much Alive

Dead By Daylight's ability to dash around as a survivor or killer in handheld mode is something any fan or newcomer to the game will love.

The recently acquired Dead by Daylight property has been released for the Nintendo Switch through a partnership between Behavior Interactive and Koch Media. The game was released for the PC in 2016, and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017. Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch port is outstanding, and the ability to dash around as a survivor or killer in handheld mode is something any fan or newcomer to the game will love.

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Survive The Insatiable Killer

At its core, Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer experience where four survivors seek to escape from an environment while stalked by a killer. Survivors all experience the world through the third-person perspective, which is beneficial for juking the killer, who experiences the game through a first-person perspective and has a slightly larger hitbox than the survivors.

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The difference in hitbox is only useful for hugging corners and moving around the map, since players do not fight the killer. Each killer is an indomitable mythical character and they are not meant to be defeated, only escaped.

Players choose from a broad range of killers and survivors, each with their own unique toolkits. The Trapper, for example, was the first killer available in the beta of the game in 2016 and is an original character. Since then, more killers have been added; all either original creations or licensed from the most well-known horror films, such as Mike Myers from Halloween. Players must learn how to cope with the many tools that each killer has at their disposal.

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The Nintendo Switch release comes with nine killers, ten survivors, and three cosmetic packs. Other characters are available for purchase in the game, while more will be available in future releases. Note that Steve Harrington from Stranger Things in the image below is an example of a character that must be purchased in the in-game store. Oddly enough, some DLC is not available for purchase, namely Leatherface and Freddy.

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Graphics That Survive The Night

Like most ports to the Switch, the graphics are not as detailed as they are on a PC, but the game still looks great in both docked and handheld mode. During development, Behavior Interactive discussed what to expect in terms of visuals compared to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and they stated, “We will offer the highest level of quality possible to maintain a good balance between performance and quality while respecting the hardware capabilities.”

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Despite such a cautious statement, the graphics look crisp in docked mode at 1080p and handheld mode at 720p. Being locked in at 30fps for both modes is not a detriment at all, and there are only a few dips in certain maps when there is a lot going on at once. Overall, the benefit of playing in handheld mode is absolutely worth the slight graphical downgrade when compared to a PC at high settings.

Smooth Controls For Escaping and Stalking

Playing either in handheld or docked mode with a controller, in this case a 8BitDo SN30 Pro, works perfectly well, much like on other consoles. As a survivor, juking the killer and hugging corners is a simple process with the dual analog sticks, and at no point were there any unpleasant surprises.

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Only one piece of the gameplay took a while to get used to, and that was the skill checks associated with actions like repairing a generator or healing. One hears a familiar sound that the skill check is about to begin, and then a circle appears on screen with a smiling needle that players must stop with the “L” button within a small range. I missed far too many of these skill checks for the first couple of hours.

Perhaps it was the shift from playing on a large monitor to the handheld Nintendo Switch and its smaller screen, but eventually, the skill checks felt like second nature. Going back to the PC to play Dead by Daylight and compare the skill checks felt a bit easier, but this is more of a subjective point, and again, after a while, it was a non-issue on the Switch.

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Issues That Barely Survive

The largest complaint is reserved for the cursor used in the menus outside of gameplay. It feels a tad too sensitive at first and can be annoying to use. Its inclusion is a bit strange since the user interface lends itself to simply having an option highlighted and then using either the analog or directional buttons to cycle to another option.

Still, this is a minor issue, and it is great to be able to say that the biggest issue with this port lies in that slight inconvenience which has nothing to do with the core gameplay of Dead by Daylight.

Something else to consider for those who seek titles with long-term replayability is that Dead by Daylight lives or dies with the strength of its online community. This is a multiplayer game, pure and simple. If the number of players dwindles, queue times to find a match will increase. There is no reason to assume that the player base will diminish anytime soon, but with no current plans for crossplay, that day will come.

Deadly DLC

Some players may be turned off at the idea of buying Dead by Daylight and then seeing several items available for additional purchase as DLC. On the one hand, yes, there is a lot more to spend on in-game, but most players do not need everything. I, for example, love playing survivors exclusively and will purchase DLC for them, but as for the killers, there is nothing more to buy. This will come down to personal preference, and it is merely something to be aware of so as not to face any surprises.

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Here Comes The Sun

Dead by Daylight has already proven itself to be a fantastic game with staying power on other platforms, and seeing it ported so well onto the Nintendo Switch is another indication that the game has a bright future. Be sure to give this one a go, as it is an excellent addition to the Switch library.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

A review code for Dead by Daylight was provided to TheGamer for this review. Dead by Daylight is available for the Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with a mobile port planned for release in November of this year.

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