PLAY IT OR SKIP IT?
Play it! Reboots are a time-honored tradition in the horror movie genre, but it’s less common to see a developer completely give up and relaunch any game, much less a live service title. But this week, just under three years from its initial launch, NetEase and Behavior Interactive has released a totally reimagined version of Dead by Daylight Mobile, a revision that brings it much closer to parity with the much-loved console and PC versions of the game. The new Dead by Daylight Mobile isn’t without issues—especially for those who sunk considerable time into the old version—but overall it’s a large step in the right direction.
I’ve spent around six hours playing Dead by Daylight Mobile over the last few days. This has included playing a bunch of matches in both survivor and killer roles, plus engaging with the various live event, battle pass, and typical free-to-play elements. You can expect each match to last between ten and twenty minutes, depending on how evenly matched the killer and the survivors are.
• Graphical upgrade. Dead by Daylight Mobile looks fantastic now. Obviously it’s not one-to-one with the visuals of the PC/console version, but it’s much closer. The change is even more noteworthy given just how bad the old mobile adaptation looked.
• Technical stability...most of the time. Sometimes a big visual upgrade means that the game runs worse, but that largely has not been my experience with the new Dead by Daylight Mobile. I’ve had no crashes, and outside of one match where I experienced some strange slowdown—possibly just online lag—matches have run smoothly and at a high framerate.
• Controls. While I’ve seen some complaints about the reboot’s smaller on-screen buttons, personally I’ve found the controls in this version of Dead by Daylight Mobile to be much more responsive. That means intense chases, whether on the hiding or seeking end, have been much easier for me to control and plan around. The options menu also offers a lot of customizability, so players should be able to find something that works for them.
• The Rift battle pass. I know, I know, battle passes are everywhere these days, and it gets kind of annoying. But one of the biggest differences between the console/PC Dead by Daylight and its original mobile iteration was that the latter lacked the Rift, a seasonal battle pass equivalent that provided goals and rewards for players. The Rift is finally here in Dead by Daylight Mobile, and while it’s not quite as fully-featured as I wish, it still provides lots of guidance for content and plenty of unlockables, even on the free track.
• Stripped back content, including removal of paid cosmetics. This one is going to sting the most for players who already spent time with the old version of Dead by Daylight Mobile. The relaunch has a smaller number of maps and playable characters to start from—presumably a tinier base from which to build back up to where the game was at previously. Players who sunk time and money into the old game have received some in-game currency, including premium, to help make up for items or characters they unlocked that are no longer available, but it’s still less than ideal for a live service game to essentially remove content.
• Gacha nonsense. Among the multiple new systems added to Dead by Daylight Mobile, the Entity’s Treasure has earned the most ire from fans. When players enter the Entity’s Treasure screen, they are presented with a list of six possible rewards. They can choose one reward to lock into place—meaning it will not get replaced by something else until they manage to unlock it—and then they must spend the game’s premium currency to unlock up to three of those rewards at random.
This gacha system would be a minor annoyance if it was only for cosmetic items. But for the launch of the reboot, there’s a special Entity’s Treasure pull that can reward players with early unlocks of survivor Yoichi Asakawa and killer Sadako, characters that have been added to the game from the Ring franchise. Tying early access to those characters to gacha rewards with a one percent pull rate feels like a cheap money grab.
• Still no controller support. I praised the touch-based controls above, and I stand by that. But inexplicably, Dead by Daylight Mobile still lacks controller support. This is baffling to me, as the game has obviously been built with controllers in mind on console and PC. Making it work on mobile shouldn’t be a big deal, and with the pace of this game, I don’t think controller support would even provide a massive gameplay benefit. Come on, NetEase.
• Still no lore! I’m a dummy who will never stop banging this drum. One of the big things missing from the old version of Dead by Daylight Mobile was Tomes, the source of lore and backstory in the game. With the addition of the Rift, I was hopeful that Tomes would come to this relaunch as well, but no such luck. As of right now, the only lore you get in Dead by Daylight Mobile is from a handful of extremely short videos that play during the tutorials. Boo! Let me find out more about this goofy world and the creepy Entity that controls it!
💬 Will you be hopping into the horror of Dead by Daylight Mobile, or is this new version still not enough? Let me know what you think!