DAYMARE: 1998 Review

We are generally spoilt for choice in the horror genre in this generation of gaming. Resident Evil 2 and 3 have both had complete reworks and you can purchase almost every Resident Evil game ever created on current generation consoles. Personally I love this type of game and I’m a massive fan of the Silent Hill series. There really is no feeling like sitting in the dark alone playing these types of games, it gives you a feeling of dread like no movie could give you. What is behind the next door, around the next corner, having to go back on yourself to recover your tracks as you puzzle solve to progress. The adrenaline always keeps you on edge from start to finish.

Well, if you’re a fan of what I’ve spoken about above then you’ll want to keep reading. Daymare 1998 was intended to be a Resident Evil 2 fan remake, back five years ago in 2015. However Capcom caught wind of the project and forced this to be cancelled. Now we know the obvious reasons behind this and that was because they were developing their own remake at the time or at least thinking about doing so. Obviously, now that the Resident Evil 2 remake has been and gone and was one of the best experiences in 2019, Daymare 1998 managed to get the green light on a release.

Daymare 1998 managed to get a PC launch at the tail end of 2019 with consoles following in early 2020. April 2020 has now arrived and I’m now lucky enough to get my hands on a copy for Xbox One and my playthrough was completed on my Xbox One X. Invader Studios who have developed this title have had a rough ride at getting this out on the market, but I have to say I’m glad they stuck with the project because it is a royal salute to the horror genre and you’ll instantly notice this when you get to grips with the mechanics of the game.


The story itself follows two soldiers trying to extract sensitive information from a laboratory which is under quarantine. I found this quite fitting seeing as the whole world seems to be in lockdown at the moment. The only issue is you only have a distress signal that has come through on the radio to work from. This aspect was fantastic as you literally have no idea what you’re expecting whatsoever. That’s what’s so great about this niche market, is that it always brings tense encounters, suspense and usually a pretty solid plot with puzzles and problem solving en route.

When you get into the game you have to bear in mind that Daymare 1998 was worked on by a team of less than twenty people. Some indie studios have more members of staff than this so, visually, I was astounded that what we are seeing here is the quality of a AAA experience. Sure, graphically it’s probably not on a par to the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes but remember, this game has been in the pipeline for years. The control system is very similar to Resident Evil, Dino Crisis and Silent Hill. The perspective is third person and you navigate the world and search every crevice for clues and pointers on where to head next.

The combat is fairly solid and the weaponry in the game packs a decent punch. However, what I did find when I exhausted my ammo was that it was extremely difficult and slow to fell the zombies that you came across, as you had to smash them in the face with your fists quite a few times. It was fairly slow, as you’d be waiting for them to stand back up, I’m guessing they went for realism rather than speed in this respect. The visuals seem to deplete a little when being attacked by zombies, but this is a minor critical point from myself and didn’t hamper the gameplay or my enjoyment. But visually, I do think it could have been improved here but I did find it less of an annoyance than that of the Resident Evil games where zombies would lock onto your neck and you had to button bash to wriggle them off. I particularly like the quick reload function for an emergency scenario and saves precious time by dropping the old magazine to the floor so you can start firing off shots.


The audio and sound quality of the game is spectacular and really adds to the intensity of the world you’re playing in. Zombies are very audible and you know when to expect them, you’re also aware that if you haven’t ended them with a bullet between the eyes that they will still be groaning on the floor. The atmospheric music and effects really do add tension to the game at the correct moments.

Daymare 1998 took me down memory lane to my early gaming days in my teens where I’d sit and play Resident Evil, Dino Crisis and Silent Hill and I adored them. I always aimed to master them at various difficulties and always without a walkthrough. Daymare 1998 pays homage to all of these games, its gritty nostalgic feel makes it a game worthy of playing if you enjoyed those types of games. It’s not going to be all bells and whistles like Capcom’s popular titles, but it does the job well and I finished the game in a ten hour playthrough at a fairly medium pace. If I took more time it could play out a bit longer but for the price point it’s worth investing in this one. All in all, a nice surprising game that flew under the radar this year.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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DAYMARE: 1998 Review
  • Gameplay - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Graphics - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Sound - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

Daymare 1998 is a salute to the horror games of the past and replicates games such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Dino Crisis and the result is a intriguing superb slice of nostalgia

Pros

  • Solid storyline.
  • Nostalgic gritty feel that replicates horror games from the 90’s/2000’s.
  • Sound effects and lighting is superb.

Cons

  • Zombie interaction could be improved.
  • Would love to see more weapon variation.
  • Could be shorter than people would hope.