The developers at Invader Studios, in collaboration with publishers Destructive Creations and All In! Games, released more than an hour’s worth of footage for the upcoming third-person, survival-horror shooter, Daymare 1998.
They had announced back on June 28th, 2019 that they would be demoing the footage that Friday night to interested gamers. Well, the footage is up and available for the whole public to see and some YouTubers like SHN Survival Horror Network uploaded the videos for everyone to see.
At the start of the video they make it known that the game is not represenative of the final build of the game, and that it’s still a work in progress.
The demo features two difficulty settings and once you get done with that, you can modify some of the basic control and HUD settings. From there you can head into the game and there’s a brief cinematic sequence that sets up the game’s story.
A corporation known as Hexacore have been working on a virus that ended up leaking, creating a bunch of zombies.
A special group known as H.A.D.E.S., is sent in to terminate the survivors and take out the zombies along the way.
The cinematic is pretty rough around the edges, but it reminds me of something from out of the PSX era back in the 1990s.
Once the cinematic ends you’ll be put into the role of Liev, one of the special operators sent into Hexacore.
There’s a brief tutorial that allows you to view the basic inventory setup and options menu, which is all handled from a neat little pull-up menu on the character’s wrist.
I’m impressed that indie devs have managed to make a compact and easy-to-use inventory screen that doesn’t completely take you out of the game.
Once the cinematics finally end and the tutorial instructing you how to navigate the inventory are finished, you’ll be in full control of Liev.
The walking and jogging animations are absolutely on point. While walking, the characters are slow and methodical, paced to match the horror-vibes of the environment. The jogging animations also look good and convey both a sense of weight and urgency.
Much like Resident Evil you’ll need to collect items along the way by searching the environment, examining the bodies, and opening up crates and lockers.
Again, much like Capcom’s survival-horror series there are also puzzle inter-mingled between the exploration and combat.
The puzzles, based on what was showcased in the demonstration, were pretty simple.
Majority of the first half of the demo centers around receiving instructions and having to head to the designated objectives. After solving the first puzzle the zombies start appearing more frequently, which will challenge players to either engage or run away.
Later into the demo we see that there are also hacking mini-games for accessing locked doors, and a variety of different environments that really help bring the horror atmosphere to life.
I can’t say that the zombies are all that scary, though. Maybe if they got back up or clawed at your ankles it would make them seem a lot more threatening. Later on in the demo we do see a couple of zombies that stand back up after getting shot a few times in the chest.
Additionally you can melee attack the zombies if they do attempt to grab at you, or you can push them away by rapidly tapping the action button.
The first boss fight in the game is also a little underwhelming. It’s a bullet sponge that you just have to run away from and pump full of lead like a dingo in the backyard of an Aussie.
Once the boss is dead, Liev retrieves the samples and is tasked with finding his missing teammates.
Along the way you’ll learn how to combine items in your inventory so you can reduce the amount of space taken up by extra items, as well as how to use the wrist pad to listen to audio clips you recover along the way.
It’s worth mentioning again that the environmental designs are absolutely top notch. It puts so many other games to shame as far as realism and atmospheric depth is concerned. It definitely looks and feels like a real place, and most certainly draws a lot of similitude from Capcom’s Resident Evil series.
Later into the demo the puzzles ramp up in difficulty, showing that Invader Studios certainly plans on keeping players guessing by throwing harder and harder puzzles at them later into the game.
Things pick up when Liev meets with a scientist, killing him and then activating the evacuation process.
On the way out of the building, Liev is trapped in the lobby where a bunch of zombies attack him. This part of the level is actually quite intense and reminds me of a few scenes in Resident Evil or Silent Hill where you’re trapped and under siege by enemies.
There’s actually a lot more gameplay showcased where after another cinematic where Liev betrays his team and kills the rest of H.A.D.E.S., he ends up in a town overcome with the gas that turns the residents into zombies. In this segment players have to race to a building to avoid the gas spreading throughout town, but there are a lot of obstacles and zombies in the way. Surprisingly this is a well-made segment where you have to balance the remaining oxygen in your mask with a bunch of zombies flooding the area.
The hook for the segment in-town basically sees players having to race through the streets to get into the relatively safe houses in order to replenish their oxygen. It’s a nice departure from the more slow-paced laboratory settings.
Overall, Daymare 1998 actually looks and plays so much better than it has any right to. Visually it’s about on par to the Resident Evil 2 remake, save for the fact that the cinematics are definitely not up to scratch. But the actual in-game textures, models, and environments are about par the course with any other AAA title out there.
The weapon handling and combat is serviceable. The enemy animations for some of the monsters also still needs work, but overall it’s a quality-looking game the likes of which EA or Activision could only ever dream of producing.
Animation blending between running, jogging, and walking could use some improvements, but the character overall moves quite well. Not everyone in the comment section on the YouTube page was impressed, but he at least moves like a human, which is important. The voice acting is cheesy, but that kind of comes with the territory, and the cinematics are rough, but nothing that you haven’t seen from the PSX and PS2 era.
I would say that Invader Studios has a definite sleeper hit on their hands with Daymare 1998. Hopefully the game isn’t bloatware and doesn’t murder your PC. The biggest obstacle I can see facing this game is optimization for lower end machines. The game is scheduled to release on Steam at some point during the summer, so we’ll see how that turns out. For more info feel free to visit the Steam store page.