While Halloween has been over for a while, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy some of the best spooky games out there. Many fan-favorite horror games are solo experiences: Dead Space, The Last of Us Part II, and most Resident Evil games. But one survival horror title has captured a wide audience with asymmetrical multiplayer and endless crossovers that give competitive and festive-casual players a reason to check it out. Best of all, this game is free to claim for free right now on the Epic Games Store. So you have no reason to miss out on adding it to your game library. But what makes this multiplayer horror game so fun?
Multiplayer horror at its finest
From now until December 9 at 11 a.m. Eastern, Epic Games Store users can download Dead by Daylight for free. Unlike PS Plus or Xbox Games with Gold, the EGS freebies are actually free, without the need to purchase a yearly subscription. And you get to keep it forever once claimed. That’s fantastic news, as Dead by Daylight is well worth your time, especially at its zero-dollar price tag.
You play as one of four survivors with the goal of escaping the map or the lone killer with supernatural powers who has to hunt and murder all of the other players to win. It’s a gruesome premise, but it’s a lot of fun.
The survivors cannot attack, but they can set traps. They have to activate generators in order to escape safely. Survivors are played from a third-person perspective, while the killer is presented in first-person. The killer also has a number of perks and skills that can help you take out the survivors effectively. For instance, the Bitter Murmur perk allows you to see a survivor’s aura for five seconds after they activate a generator, while the Unrelenting perk allows you to recuperate faster from missed attacks with your main weapon.
A balancing act
This dichotomy of different gameplay styles is enough to mix things up and keep the game fresh, even five years after launch. But beyond variety, Dead by Daylight always feels balanced, as every action has a counter, with none of them entering overpowered territory. For instance, the Wraith killer type can turn invisible but must ring a bell before attacking, letting the survivors know where he is, at least for a brief moment.
Likewise, although the killer is faster and can attack, the survivors can see more of their surroundings thanks to the third-person perspective. Dead by Daylight somehow makes both roles fun, which is unexpected for a game that features characters who are practically defenseless.
Coordinating with your team and executing a thoughtful plan is immensely satisfying if you’re a survivor — as is outwitting your opponents as the killer. Developer Behaviour Interactive nails the asymmetrical multiplayer formula, with interesting mechanics that keep you on the edge of your seat.
While this game features many original killers – which are interesting and worth checking out – there are a number of licensed characters from famous horror films and games. These include Michael Meyers from Halloween, the Demogorgon from Stranger Things, Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, Ghost Face Killer from Scream, and Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 to name a few. These characters all have corresponding stages called Realms, which feature iconic areas from the source material. We’re fond of the Racoon City Police Station, but almost all are at least worth visiting.
Dead by Daylight isn’t a perfect game. It certainly shows its age with somewhat outdated visuals and long matchmaking times, but in general, it’s a blast, especially if you’re a horror fan. The smart balance of each role makes the survivors feel like the yin to the killer’s yang, with plenty of fun to be had, no matter which side you’re on. At its normal $30 price, we’d recommend this game anyway, so it’s absolutely worth playing for free on PC.
Dead by Daylight is free on Epic Games Store until December 9.