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Should you play Dead by Daylight in 2022?

Dead by Daylight is quickly approaching its sixth year, and in that time many similar games have been released – so what sets Dead by Daylight apart in 2022? Is Dead by Daylight even worth playing in 2022, you may ask. Well, let’s talk about that.

In the nearly six summers since its release, Dead by Daylight has only continued to improve. In that time, the game has amassed an army of new characters and tons of new maps. All the while it has also grown and continues to expand on its lore exponentially. From characters to maps, to abilities – there’s something in this game for everyone partial to the asymmetric PvP genre. You can enjoy the fear and paranoia of being a helpless Survivor, or the murderous powertrip of being the Killer. If you enjoy the latter a bit too much though, we may need to unpack that later – from a safe distance.

The gameplay

A big draw of Dead by Daylight is the asymmetric multiplayer – which pits four Survivors against one Killer. The Survivors must work together by repairing, healing, and sabotaging their way to freedom, all the while working to escape and survive the Killer whose goal is… well, to kill them. This opens up opportunities to gang up on poor Killers with a squad of your most troll-minded friends or to punish arrogant Survivors as a spooky murder-lover.

The game is a lot more fun in a group as well, whether you’re playing as a Survivor or Killer. Generally, playing with friends consists of a group of four Survivors. Custom games allow for an extra friend to join and hunt as the Killer. This allows up to five friends to play together, rotating out the Killer and making for some – potentially unfriendly – competition. With a variety of semi-procedurally generated maps, your surroundings may not always look how you remember them, which keeps the game fresh.

Matches can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes (or 40 sometimes, if you’re me) but will usually average around 10 to 15. This makes Dead by Daylight a great choice if you’re low on time or want to play a couple of quick games.

Dead by Daylight rush
The Ghostface after I finish a generator while staring him down – Image by SQUAD

How it stacks up to similar games

Dead by Daylight’s longevity, genre, and variety are a big part of what keeps the game fresh and enjoyable. Due in part to its popularity, it only gets better with each new iconic horror IP license acquired. Gameplay-wise Dead by Daylight has stayed popular due in part to the ever-growing roster of characters, abilities, and maps. While similar games do exist, they are usually limited in comparison to Dead by Daylight in one way or another.

Secret Neighbor only has 10 playable characters – four Killers and six Survivors – only gaining three new Killers and a few maps since releasing in 2019. Others, like Friday the 13th: The Game, and Last Year: The Nightmare had their merits – but both games died for one reason or another. VHS seems promising but is also still in beta, so we’ll have to see how it turns out. As it stands, Dead by Daylight is still the apex predator in its own corner of the gaming space.

The characters

Character-wise, the cast of Dead by Daylight is a mixed bag of original and licensed horror characters. The Survivors range from badass horror icons to your stereotypical timid, wimpy geek (I’m not sorry, Dwight.) Killers can range anywhere from the supernatural to your regular everyday unhinged murder-maestro. Sprinkled throughout are the licensed characters – horror icons like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and more. Every character has its own set of abilities and augments, making each Killer and Survivor unique.

With a roster of 57 playable characters, even non-horror fans have enough variety available to enjoy themselves. There are characters that fill out any kind of gameplay and style you could be looking for. Altruistic saviors, aggressive brutes, methodical tinkerers, and even cocky a**holes all have their place in Dead by Daylight.

The progression

The inherent challenge of this style of gameplay mixes well with the progression of Dead by Daylight as well. Your progression in the game dictates the flow of your experiences. Through playing a character you can unlock their perks to use with other characters. By experimenting, you gain the ability to work around the Killers you square off against with the knowledge you’ve gained. The further you progress, the more items and Perks you get – giving you more flexibility in your future endeavors.

DbD Bloodweb
Very…webby.  Image by Behaviour Interactive

Unlocking those Perks and items is done through the Bloodweb system, using Bloodpoints accumulated in matches. The amount of Bloodpoints you get per game is really dependent on how your game goes. What objectives and actions you can get done in that time is a big influence on Bloodpoint gain.

An experienced play can usually net around 20k Bloodpoints per match on average, which is enough for a decent amount of nodes on the web. It’s not too bad, and you can get some decent Bloodweb progress out of just a couple of matches. That isn’t acounting for Challenges, which could bump you up quite a bit higher. Some of these Challenges are easy enough to do through your regular gameplay. Others may end up forcing you to play a certain way or with certain conditions. Overall, the progression of Dead by Daylight should not feel grindy, unless you go into it with a grinding mentality.

The lore

The aforementioned progression also helps you unlock new lore excerpts and rewards. The Archives are host to plenty of challenges and stories. Every few months, Dead by Daylight players are treated to a new Tome. These Tomes serve to further expand upon the lore of Dead by Daylight. Each new Tome unlocks new Challenges – which in turn reward you with Memories, Logs, Cinematics, Bloodpoints, and cosmetics.

If you really want to understand Dead by Daylight, there is a lot of reading (and watching) to do! If you’re a big fan of stories centered around horror, intrigue, mystery, and murder – you may just love the lore of this game. At this point six years in, Dead by Daylight’s setting and narrative are actually quite in-depth and should keep you busy for quite a while. If you’re a big fan of storytelling in games, Dead by Daylight may just pleasantly surprise you.

So, should you play it?

In my opinion, yes! Dead by Daylight definitely has enough content to draw you in one way or another. It’s also still going pretty strong even six years after release. With it having been free on Epic Games for a bit back in December 2021, you probably already have it. I mean, that may even be why you’re here. In that case, why not, right? It’s easy enough to get into as a beginner, and if you play with friends it ends up being a lot more fun – whether you’re with or against them.

The horror, atmosphere, variety, and content all come together to make Dead by Daylight a great game in a genre that is still relatively niche. If horror isn’t for you, but competitive survival is, then Dead by Daylight is still a worthwhile game to try.

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Kevin Dewan

Writer for SQUAD, runs after things a lot. Won't BM you to your face. Okay with losing as long as it's funny.
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