Survival horrors are one of my favourite genres when it comes to video games. I remember when I got my first PlayStation and playing Resident Evil and Silent Hill, they were so much fun and for their time quite scary. Over the years we have had so many new survival horror games jump onto the scene and bring new stories and scares to the table, but Invader Studios decided not only to make a new survival horror but one that went back to the roots of survival horror altogether and offers players a massive nostalgia overload with Daymare 1998.
The game has been out for a while on Steam and will see itself coming to Consoles later this year. Daymare 1998 is a third-person survival horror that sees you play as various different characters as the story unfolds, this is pretty cool as you get to see it from other characters perspective. It begins with your character that is a part of a special security team, being sent to a secret research facility to investigate a possible security breach. Once there you start to realise there is more to this mission then you have been told and eventually, you end up turning a peaceful town into a deadly zombie infested mess. The three characters that you play as are, Liev who is a member of H.A.D.E.S. which stands for Hexacore Advanced Division for Extraction and Search. Next, we have Raven, a senior pilot for Hexacore Air Force after being discharged from NASA after a failed mission and then finally Samuel, who is a ranger in the Redcrest Mountains, who suffers from a medical condition called Daymare Syndrome. The illness causes anxiety disorder, paranoia and hallucinations. Getting the chance to play as these three characters was a nice twist as not a lot of games do it and it worked storytelling wise because it helped with the story flow. The game plays heavily on its classic 90s era homage, with hard enemies, barely any health packs or ammo, puzzle solving and of course backtracking. I came to realise two things while playing Daymare, the first one being just how far video games have come in such a small period of time and the other being just how challenging survival horror games were back in the day compare to them now. I feel like you’re being spoon-fed a bit more in modern survival horrors whereas Daymare 1998 literally says good luck and try not to die.
We have come a long way since the days of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and all the other 90s Survival Horrors but what Daymare does is make them feel as if they haven’t gone anywhere. With the mechanics solely based off of the old days, it makes for some nostalgic moments. For example, when zombies would jump scare you from around the corners or where you are in a mad panic that there are limited weapons, ammo and health for you to use and every bullet must count. Though, sadly I personally realise that because of modern-day games playing Daymare was really frustrating. I have become too accustomed to the modern mechanic we see nowadays and the spoon-feeding like systems that I felt lost and frustrated in Daymare. The fact that one zombie was enough to kill you in this game whereas in other games one isn’t a problem and you could just brush it off, but Daymare 1998 makes every enemy a challenge and I wasn’t ready for that. The lack of ammo was a huge bugbear for me as I would just find myself dying way too much or just running away from zombies to get to the next checkpoint, then we have the confusing reloading system. You have to keep going into your inventory to reload your weapons unless you were lucky to find an empty mag on the floor and use it as a quick reload mag but I found these hard to come by and when I did find them I would die and go back to the last checkpoint. The HUD in the game is all compacted into an arm device that shows your Health, Inventory, Map and a few other things, so visually your screen is just purely the game world and not a load of health bars and maps which is pretty neat. It can become annoying having to access it mid-fight or on the fly to heal or reload as it drags you out of the situation at hand. It’s like asking an enemy for a time out while you just sort yourself out. I think what I’m trying to get at is that you definitely feel like this game is straight out of the 90s but it’s up to the player whether you can get on board with that. I personally feel like I have a love-hate relationship with Daymare 1998 because at times I’m pulling my hair out due to getting stuck on puzzles or having no ammo and at times it’s like, I remember the good old days and look at how far we have come. Thanks to the gameplay and mechanics we see in Daymare we can see where the foundations for the survival horror genre came from.
After you have completed the story or fancy a change of pace you can always sink your teeth into the extra game mode called H.A.D.E.S. Dead End. This has you retrieve three randomly located items in a map and then have to evacuate in the quickest time possible, you can lower your time score by killing various enemies in the area. This feels more like an arcade sort of mode where you’re trying to get the lowest time possible to be at the top of the leader boards. I enjoyed this mode and liked that you are offered different classes before playing so that you can pick your preferred loadout.
Visually the game looks like a polished PlayStation 2 game, you can tell while playing that it’s not next-gen quality, but I believe that this is what the company was going for when making it. However, it does get quite off-putting when sitting through average cutscenes with what only can be said to be poor voice acting and a blandish story. Daymare 1998 does manage to keep you on your toes with jump scares and hordes of zombies, it also helps that the audio in the game helps keep the tensions while traversing through the world.
I personally believe that there isn’t much replay value with Daymare 1998, once you complete the story you might want to try a harder difficulty if you didn’t choose the max one the first time round but other than that it falls down to the collectables, Steam achievements if you want to get them all and the other game mode H.A.D.E.S. Dead End.
Daymare 1998 is a blast from the past but would it appeal to you? If you liked Resident Evil back in the day or just fancy experiencing what games used to be like back in the day then I would highly recommend you check this game out but sadly if you are to accustomed with the game of today you might not like what Daymare 1998 has to offer. The average story, dated mechanics and confusing puzzles have made it hard to play at times and have even had me looking at walkthroughs for help. This game, I believe, has a certain market that it is aiming for and with that in mind, I think that it hits the nail on the head and is a perfect match, however, if you do stumble across it or decide to pick it up without doing your research first you might be disappointed with the bland cutscenes and gameplay. It is a difficult one to review because I personally enjoyed it at times but wouldn’t say I was taking away by it, it was nice to go back to days of old but sadly for me it made me appreciated how far gaming has come more than anything else. Please don’t let me put you off this game, go check it out for yourself as there is a free demo on steam available and from this, you can make your own opinion. Overall, I would have to say it was an average game and that was all. For these reasons, I’m giving Daymare 1998 a 6/10.
Daymare 1998 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
This review is based on the PC version of the game which can be purchased here if interested
The game is Developed by Invader Studios and Slipgate Ironworks and is published by Destructive Creations and All in! Games.
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DAYMARE: 1998 is a third-person survival horror with hardcore survival mechanics and hard to kill enemies. It requires a strategical approach to combat and puzzles and offers a multi-character point of view on the story, revealing a deep and obscure lore. The scene is set with a secret research facility, a deadly chemical weapon and a special security team to investigate this incident with the potential to become much more than just a security breach. Follow the steps of an elite soldier, a helicopter pilot and a forest ranger, as they play out their roles in an event that transforms one peaceful small town into a deadly zone and its citizens into bloodthirsty monsters. Take the creatures down first, before looking for any clues and evidence to bring more sense to the mess. Keep track of your itinerary, as resources are scarce in a situation like this! Anything can happen when your daymares become real…
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 24.99