September 21, 2019

Daymare: 1988 PC Review - If The Suspense Doesn't Kill You, the Boredom Will.

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TL;DR: Daymare: 1988 is a decent horror/action game that's plagued with repetitious gameplay and broken fight mechanics.

resident evil light

I decided to not write this review until I completely finished Daymare: 1988. I stuck with it through the first three levels, but constantly kept wondering to myself, why? The storyline is interesting, the genre appealing, and the only reason I wanted to continue was to see how the story and characters developed towards the end. But that's really about it for the good stuff.

The environments are detailed and vast, but are also very simple in design and architecture. Many of the rooms are nothing more than cleverly placed 3D models that force you to go in the right direction. The placement logic, however, is questionable. I mean, my tough-as-nails character can walk, run, shoot, and melee his way out of a room, but can't access an adjacent hallway because a small obstacle the size of a shoebox is in his way? C'mon now.

Poor fella. Hope he had hazard pay.

In fact you don't even have to fire a single shot to escape a room full of the undead. They'll simply chase you for a while until they eventually get bored and leave you alone.

the dead don't play here

The plot, while interesting, is as old as time and the story-driven characters each have their own distinct look and feel but lack any discernible charisma. Unlike the characters from Resident Evil or Silent Hill where you felt a strong connection, the characters in Daymare: 1988 are so devoid of any personality that controlling them felt more like a chore than an adventure. The enemies fare no better with predictable attack patterns and vulnerabilities that quickly get old. In fact, you don't even have to fire a single shot to escape a room full of the undead. They'll simply chase you for a while until they eventually get bored and leave you alone. This is where the fights quickly become monotonous and uninspiring. You're better off just running around and avoiding any nasty encounters.

Another unbalanced feature is the puzzles riddled throughout the game. Many of them just didn't make sense and after scratching my head a few times, I simply gave up and looked through a guide. I know these puzzles are meant to keep the gameplay challenging, but a few of them bring absolutely no value to the gameplay other than to add unnecessary frustration.

But the biggest disappointment has to be with the fight mechanics. Too many situations have I emptied my magazine at an enemy that was literally a few feet away and still, it kept coming even as I blasted it with headshots. There are mind-boggling events when the AI goes through a scripted action before taking a tumble forcing you to waste precious ammo because of the long-winded death animations. The reloading system is slow and the much-touted melee feature is pretty much useless.

It's good to see people like a good BBQ

As it stands now, Daymare: 1988 doesn't really add anything to the genre to warrant a purchase especially when you can get more value from other survival horrors games out there. Save your money and grab one of the Resident Evil remakes instead.

the boring dead

Included with these shortcomings are the average sound effects and soundtracks that are suitable but not memorable. I believe the developers were trying to go with a more intense cinematic theme, but a more ambient approach would have been better. I know it seems like I'm bashing the game, but it's only because I want it to succeed. It has all the ingredients to be so much more: it has the retro vibe and the classic horror adventure gameplay that I haven't felt since the days of Resident Evil.

If the developers had just allotted more time polishing up the gameplay and improving the fighting mechanics, this title could have broken out of mediocrity. As it stands now, Daymare: 1988 doesn't really add anything to the genre to warrant a purchase especially when you can get more value from other survival horrors games out there. Save your money and grab one of the Resident Evil remakes instead.

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