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Performance Analysis: Daylight on PS4 and PC

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Daylight on PS4 and PC

Digital Foundry compares both versions of Unreal Engine 4's gaming debut.

Survival horror release Daylight has the honour of being the first PS4 game to use Unreal Engine 4, also carrying the onerous burden of showing how next-gen consoles might take to the technology, giving us our first opportunity to stack up a UE4 console release with its PC stablemate. Released as a digital download, Zombie Studios forges a terrifying experience by procedurally generating a maze of hospital corridors and prison cells for a player to explore. It's deliberately minimalist in detail, and every turn is engulfed in shadow - but even with this simple setup we find the PS4 version struggling to match PC in several aspects.

Each playthrough is defined by a unique mish-mash of building blocks. Corridor layouts are randomised to stave off familiarity, and texture and object placements in each room are remixed at a micro-level - each peppered by jump-scare events like a toppling chest of drawers, or bathroom doors slamming shut. Most of this happens towards the edges of your (limited) field of view, and in the tradition of the excellent Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the more that's left to the sound design, the more tension begins to ratchet up.

The randomised nature of the game ensures that a standard Digital Foundry Face-Off with all the trimmings is off the table but after a short session of performance testing on PS4 and two PC configurations, it's clear that Daylight isn't the most flattering example of Epic Games' new technology. We count a full 1920x1080 native resolution on PS4, with post-processing AA to help the effort. But rather than subdue the remaining stair-stepping on high-contrast edges, jaggies are instead amplified with eerie post-effects - such as a distortion filter which splits each edge into a rainbow-sequence of red, green and blue.

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Daylight, the reasonably impressive horror game from Zombie Studios that marks the public debut of Unreal Engine 4, isn't exactly shy about its two-hour playtime - thanks to its procedurally generated environments, it's a game that can boast of being infinitely replayable.

Daylight review

Daylight review


A long-abandoned mental hospital situated in a sleepy fishing village; corridors that itch with maggots; hallways strewn with rotting sofas and lonely hospital trolleys; a breathy, fearful female protagonist who shrieks at every turn ("I know there's someone there!"). Stained walls, glowing pentagrams, squeaking wheelchairs, doors that open with a metallic suck, ghosts that flicker about in Victorian dresses and stare from hollow eye-sockets: Daylight is a misery of horror clichés. Perhaps the only novelty here is the fact that you principally explore the groaning hospital by the light of your smartphone.

And yet, over-familiarity with the props and the setting has done little to rob the game of its horrifying impact. Play Daylight in the dark with the sound turned up and your screams will wake the neighbours.

Sarah, Daylight's quaking yet resourceful protagonist, has few resources with which to hold back the shadows of Mid-Island mental hospital. Her phone acts as a pitiful torch, a spotlight with a short and fuzzy beam. She can also carry up to four glow sticks. (Try to pick up any more than this number and the game warns: "You have too many glow sticks," as if you're an over-encumbered raver.) Later in the game, she gains access to flares.

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Video: Daylight live stream

Hold your breath.

Daylight! It's possibly one of Sylvester Stallone's greatest movies, where he takes on his greatest role (Kit Latura!) and in which he faces his greatest foe. A tunnel! And one that won't stop exploding at that. Plus Aragorn's in it, so even though I've never seen it one look at the trailer has convinced me it's amazing. Over on YouTube, EpicFart89 puts it best: 'Tunnel go boom boom! :D'

VideoMeet Daylight: randomised horror for the YouTube generation

Watch interview and footage of the PC and PS4 game.

This qualifies as forward thinking: Zombie Studios, maker of the so-so shooter Blacklight, is putting together a procedurally generated first-person scare-fest called Daylight. It's one of the first Unreal Engine 4 games and it's coming to PC and PS4.

Unreal Engine 4 game Daylight announced for PlayStation 4

Unreal Engine 4 game Daylight announced for PlayStation 4

Psychological thriller to shadow Sony's next-gen console.

Zombie Studio's supernatural thriller Daylight will get a release on PlayStation 4.

The Unreal Engine 4 title was previously announced as a PC exclusive. A trailer released in March showed a woman exploring creepy surroundings armed only with the compass app on her smartphone.

The PlayStation 4 version was confirmed last night on GTTV (thanks, SixthAxis).

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