Death By Laughter.
I'm not really into horror games. Dead Space scared the living shit out of me. Alan Wake had a similar effect. It's something that's always struck me as being a little odd - I'm fine with horror movies, but as soon as I'm given some agency beyond watching the torture and gore onscreen, I find myself extremely unsettled by it all. I had some fun with Friday the 13th when it first came out, but hadn't really thought about revisiting it.
It was recent clan events that led me to check this one out. The gaming clan I'm an admin of has been facing an identity crisis of late - we were originally formed as a Destiny clan that transitioned to Destiny 2, but as players walked away from it we didn't put enough effort into maintaining a presence in the game - to the point that a lot of the most hardcore Destiny players wandered away to set up their own new, more active clan. Fair play to them, but it did leave the admins of DoD Storm wondering what purpose we were to serve. We've settled on the idea of trying to be a general gaming clan, playing a variety of games - and as a way of reinforcing that we're trying to get a load of people online every Wednesday to play... something. A different game each week is the idea, until favourites inevitably begin to appear. This week, it was Dead By Daylight.
I didn't know much about it going in other than that it was a similar asymmetrical multiplayer game to Friday the 13th - one player is the killer and has to murder all the other players. Their job is to escape - a process that involves avoiding the killer and slowly repairing a bunch of generators to power a door, which then has to be opened very slowly. If the killer catches a player, he can incapacitate them using whatever weapon it's equipped with and then carry them to a spike - where he impales them. The player can struggle free if they're lucky, or can be rescued by other players. It's all fantastically blood spattered and brutal. What I wasn't expecting though was to spend as much time laughing as we did.
Looking at the marketing for the game, it looks like it takes itself fairly seriously. The box art features a serious-looking masked murderer looking at you over his shoulder. It's all darkness and firelight and rusty bloodied blades. It's like looking at a poster for a slasher movie, or torture porn. Playing the game though... is a very different vibe. Dead By Daylight, whether accidentally or deliberately, is absolutely hilarious when played with mates.
Over the course of an evening with the game, we sang threatening songs to one another in silly voices, hummed the Benny Hill theme tune as a hapless killer chased a survivor endlessly around a tree stump. The killer trolled the players, and the players trolled the killer. While playing as the killer, I hooked up a victim and then laid beartraps around the area and waited for the other players to launch their inevitable rescue attempt. The quality of our gameplay was low - as we were mostly new to the game - but that was what made it all so funny. I think it's a game that could be as creepy as hell - especially playing it solo or in a group where the killer cannot be communicated with, but in a custom game and party chat, it was one of the funniest nights I've spent playing games in a long, long time.
Is it going to become a Wednesday night staple for us? The consensus was that it very well might. We're going to try Friday the 13th together in the next few weeks and will probably settle on whichever one's best I guess. For now though, I've found another game to play with mates which is guaranteed to bring the hilarity. If you'd told me that would be my takeaway from Dead By Daylight the day before I played it, I never would have believed you.