4v1 horror game Dead by Daylight allows players to play as horror icons

The asymmetrical 4v1 horror game Dead by Daylight allows players to do just that, pitting four survivors against one killer in a variety of environments to appease the in-game world’s entity. Composite photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

If anyone has ever wanted to run for their lives from Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers while attempting to repair complicated machinery, they’re in luck.

The asymmetrical 4v1 horror game Dead by Daylight allows players to do just that, pitting four survivors against one killer in various environments to appease the in-game world’s entity. Though the premise is relatively simple, the world is rich with lore and offers in-depth backstories for each character and map, with bonus unlockable stories from the game’s Archives.

The survivors’ goal is to repair five generators scattered throughout the environment, which open exit gates that can be used for escape. The killer’s goal is to hook all four survivors and sacrifice them to the entity. 

Survivors face challenging muscle memory and focus-filled skill checks while repairing generators. At the same time, they must look over their shoulder for the killer, listening for the killer’s Terror Radius (a heartbeat sound indicating they’re nearby). This creates tension that could easily make one feel like they’re in the middle of a horror movie.  

Each match is uniquely horrifying. With 36 maps for players to navigate, horror fans will likely find some map locations familiar. Some include Midwich Elementary School from Silent Hill or the recently-added Raccoon City Police Station from Resident Evil. Other locations are original to Dead by Daylight but pay homage to classic horror locations — like the Red Forest, a dim realm darkened by looming trees, or Lery’s Memorial Institute, an unsettling, deteriorating asylum.

Survivors do not know which killer they’re facing at the beginning of the match, which effectively creates a suspenseful atmosphere among players. Each of the game’s 24 killers boasts their unique ability, creating opportunities for incredibly diverse gameplay. 

In one game, survivors could face Michael Myers, known in-game as “The Shape,” who can stalk survivors from afar, strengthening his power as he stares them down before swooping in for a kill. In the next round, survivors might face The Hillbilly, a chainsaw-wielding maniac whose loud approach eliminates any chance at a stealthy playstyle. 

Nearly all killers are significantly faster than survivors, allowing them to win a simple chase easily — but it takes two hits to down a survivor, and survivors can use various methods of counterplay. 

Survivors can run to vault locations throughout the environment, where they can vault faster than the killer, giving them an edge in a  chase while other team members work toward the objective. Survivors can also throw down pallets in the environment to stun a killer or blind them with a flashlight.

Survivors and killers both gain additional game-changing abilities through perks. Killers and survivors can equip up to four perks, which boost their existing powers and give new opportunities for counterplay.

For example, a killer may equip the perk, Insidious, which negates their Terror Radius while standing still and attempt to sneak up on a survivor. At the same time, a survivor could equip Spine Chill, a perk that lets them know when the killer is looking in their direction. This warning could give them the edge they need to get away.

While Dead by Daylight is often more strategic than deeply horrifying, the game throws players into an immersive environment that feels like a horror movie in all the right ways. With 96 survivor perks, 84 killer perks, and 24 unique killer abilities, the game has enough content to pour a few thousand hours into. Considering the game recently celebrated its  5th anniversary, it’s likely there’s more content to come.