Dead by Daylight: Curtain Call DLC Review (PC Game, 2018)

Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer survival horror game. You can either take on the role of a survivor or a killer. As a survivor, you work in a team of four players to repair five generators that restore power to the exit gates, allowing you to escape. As a killer, you hunt down the four survivors, knocking them to the ground and hanging them on meat hooks to sacrifice to the Entity. The match ends when all survivors have died or escaped.

 Poster for  Dead by Daylight's Curtain Call  DLC, featuring an image of the new Clown killer on a smokey purple background.

Poster for Dead by Daylight's Curtain Call DLC, featuring an image of the new Clown killer on a smokey purple background.

The base game featured four survivors and three killers to choose from upon its release two years ago. Now, with the new Curtain Call DLC, there are 13 survivors and 12 killers. Curtain Call adds a new map, one new survivor, and one new killer.

There are quite a few quirks to Dead by Daylight that can be confusing to a new player. Despite having 13 survivors, they all can play the same way. You unlock different perks--abilities--that are available to specific characters by leveling up those characters in game. Get everyone to level 40 and all your survivors can unlock and use the same perks. It's more of an aesthetic choice rather than a strategic one. Pick who you want to play as based on their lore or appearance and go at it.

Killers, however, all have different gameplay mechanics. You can unlock their individual perks for all killers the same way, but you'll never be able to to take the chainsaw ability from the Hillbilly and apply it to the Nurse. Killers' weapons, speed, and gameplay mechanics are all different and add the true variety to the game. You have to play around with the different killers you have to learn which ones you enjoy playing. 

The new survivor in Dead by Daylight: Curtain Call is named Kate Denson. She is, by lore, an aspiring folk musician with an angelic voice. Her specific perks are all related to movement and chance. 

 Kate Denson, a young folk singer with curly hair, in the character select screen.

Kate Denson, a young folk singer with curly hair, in the character select screen.

Dance With Me removes scratch marks--a way for killers to track survivors who are running--for three seconds when you sprint out of a locker or vault through a window. This is probably Kate's best perk, as three seconds is plenty of time in a sprint to lose track of the killer. The best decision for balance in the game is how the perk levels up. You don't get a longer period of movement without tracking--you have a shorter cool down period. Tier I is 60 seconds, Tier II is 50 seconds, and Tier III is 40 seconds.

This matches up well with a lot of other perks in the game. I tend to be a stealthier player, so I've been bringing Dance With Me in with Balanced Landing (lets you drop from a ledge or upper story with significantly less of a stun effect and sprint for three seconds at 150% speed) and Quick & Quiet (reduces the noise you make while vaulting or hiding in lockers) to let me be a bit more aggressive while sneaking around the map.

Windows of Opportunity allows you to see the location of pallets--used to block paths or stun the killer--and vault/window locations with auras. Auras in the game let you see the silhouette of an object or character who might otherwise be blocked by walls and other scenery. This gives you, as a survivor, more information about where you should run to when chased by a killer. These obstacles favor the survivor unless the killer has certain perks, so knowing where they are during a chase is great. The downside is, once you drop a pallet or vault during a chase, you lose the ability for 60/50/40 seconds, depending on the tier of the perk.

There aren't any particular clear matches for perks already in the game. Open Handed would give you an extra four/six/eight meters of visibility in seeing pallet and vault locations, but that's not that useful. Lithe (150% sprint after vaulting for three seconds) or Sprint Burst (150% sprint for three seconds) could take advantage of the map knowledge when avoiding the killer.

Boil Over is the weakest of the new survivor perks Kate brings to the game. When you are grabbed by a killer, you can struggle to try to break free and run away. Boil Over makes your struggles more disorienting to the killer. The faster you struggle (with or without the perk), the more you can physically throw the killer off course. Unfortunately, even at Tier III with 25% increased force, Boil Over won't make much of a difference. It doesn't make it easier to escape; it just slightly inconveniences the killer as they carry you to a hook.

The better half of the perk is hiding hook auras from the killer for 10/12/14 meters, but the killer can probably just see a hook without the aura at that distance. If you want to be a troll, you can pair it up with Sole Survivor, a perk that relies on your teammates being killed to obscure the killer's aura reading ability by 40% to 100%, depending on the tier and amount of sacrificed teammates. It's...not a good plan.

The Clown is the new killer and he's something else. He is, unsurprisingly, a killer clown. His character model is disgusting--tall, obese, literally popping out of his jacket, and wearing a collection of fingers he has cut off from his victims. It's an unnerving figure that still reads far more human than most of the killers in the game.

The Clown's ability is probably one of my favorites in the game right now. He mixes up an elixir called The Afterpiece Tonic. He throws vials of it at survivors, creating a toxic cloud of purple gas that disorients the survivor, slowing them down and preventing them from vaulting or dropping pallets when hit. The Clown's gameplay is all about control, as you have to use the tonic to slow down the survivors and attack them with a small knife. 

 The Clown, a new killer in  Dead By Daylight , wearing a ringmaster costume that barely fits him and wielding a knife in the character select screen.

The Clown, a new killer in Dead By Daylight, wearing a ringmaster costume that barely fits him and wielding a knife in the character select screen.

The Clown's perks are all about slowing down the survivors. Essentially, this killer is designed to counter looping in the game. Part of the way survivors escape the killer is to circle through different sets of obstacles faster than the killer can--vaulting, dropping pallets, threatening with pallets that can stun the killer. The Clown's ability and perks physically slow down the survivors or cut off their potential paths in the game.

Bamboozle has two effects. First, it speeds up the killer's vault speed by 8/10/12%, bringing vault speed much closer to what survivors have naturally. Second, it locks any window the killer vaults for 8/12/16 seconds. The killer can still pass through the window, but the survivor will be physically unable to reuse that location. The survivors either need to constantly change their paths to escape the killer or actually abandon a relatively safe area for a chase because their path won't work anymore. Bamboozle is strong for any killer. There aren't specific perks that pair up naturally, but they don't have to when the point is being a nuisance to looping survivors.

Coulrophobia decreases healing speed of survivors by 30/40/50% if survivors are in the killer's terror radius. Survivors have three ways of healing after being hit once by a killer. They can rely on another survivor to heal them, they can use a med-kit to heal themselves, or they can bring in the Self Care perk and heal without a med-kit. Coulrophobia makes it so a pretty lengthy process in the game takes even more time.

Survivors have to choose to either waste more time not fixing generators to escape (risking the killer finding them crouched and unready to run away) or continue in the game injured (leaving a trail of blood that the killer can track, producing more sound that the killer can hear, and making it so that one hit instead of two will let the killer pick them up). Coulrophobia is especially dirty when paired up with Distressing (increases your terror radius up to 26%) or Unnerving Presence (increases the amount of skill checks--quick time events survivors have to hit or they lose progress and alert the killer to their location--by up to 10% and makes the success zone up to 50% smaller). That's a lot of disadvantages to throw at a survivor once you hit them in a chase.

Pop Goes the Weasel is the new killer perk I've been using the most. After hooking a survivor, the killer can regress (set back progress on) a generator by 15/20/25% of the total progress. This regression applies to the total amount of time necessary to complete a generator, not just the survivors' progress. You can, potentially, reset generators with Pop Goes the Weasel Tier III.

This perk is for killers (like me) who focus on map control. Every time you hook someone in the later stages of the game (where the survivors tend to be in a smaller area of the map), you can buy yourself a lot more time to find and down the rest of the survivors. Combined with Ruin Tier III (a totem/hex perk that makes it so great skill checks cause no progress and good skill checks actually regress the generator 5%), you will make it incredibly difficult for any survivor to win the match.

 The new Father Campbell's Chapel map in  Dead by Daylight , featuring an abandoned church with glowing stained glass windows.

The new Father Campbell's Chapel map in Dead by Daylight, featuring an abandoned church with glowing stained glass windows.

The new map, Father Campbell's Chapel, is gorgeous. It's a retheming of Crotus Penn Asylum, a giant ring of a map centered around a large abandoned asylum. Father Campbell's Chapel contains a traveling carnival with bright lights and interactive elements (a fortune teller booth and a horse who has seen better days) and a large abandoned church in the center. There are a lot of paths for survivors to escape when in those two locations, but the rest of the map is pretty wide open with great visibility for the killer. It's a lot of fun to play on just for being so bright and colorful.

Honestly, the biggest downfall to the DLC (for the PC release) is the cosmetics. It's a minor complaint, for sure. Curtain Call is the first DLC in version 2.0 of Dead by Daylight. 2.0 adds in the cosmetics store, where you can use Auric Cells (purchased currency with actual money) or Iridescent Shards (points earned through the amount of time spent in matches) to buy new costumes, weapons, and hairstyles for the survivors and killers.

That means that Kate Denson and The Clown have fewer default cosmetic options than any previous original characters in the game. Kate only has an alternate shirt and The Clown is limited to his original costume and nothing else. Previous original characters (as opposed to licensed killers and survivors) have had more options than this by default. It's a minor complaint--they're just cosmetics and have no impact on the physical gameplay--but it's a clear sign of where the game is heading with future releases. If you want to customize your character, you're going to spend some kind of currency.

It's worth noting that, as of this writing, the PS4 release of the Curtain Call DLC has still not happened. PC got the DLC on June 12. Xbox One saw their release happen 15 days later on June 27. PS4 players still do not have access to the DLC 21 days after the initial release. The Sony store is slow to approve this content right now and, unfortunately, the PS4 players do not get to fully participate in all the fun two year anniversary activities that were to coincide with the release of the new DLC.

 You can purchase  Dead by Daylight  for Steam here.

You can purchase Dead by Daylight for Steam here.

One of the greater aspects of 2.0 is, essentially, the elimination of the cost barrier to pick up the original content DLC. Players can unlock the DLC survivors and killers through playtime in the game. While the $6.99 USD price tag might not seem like much, it is an added barrier to entry for players who might be drawn to Dead by Daylight because of the comparatively low $19.99 USD price tag for an online multiplayer game. People like me will buy the DLC day one to have instant access to the new characters, while others who aren't quite sure about their interest or just might not have the money on hand can access the characters later by being a regular player. 

I do believe the Curtain Call DLC for Dead by Daylight is worth the price. I have a lot of fun playing The Clown and I see quite a few games with loyal Kate Densons trying to escape. The new map is a lot of fun, too. I think Curtain Call is one of the stronger DLC releases for the game and one any new or old player should consider buying if they can.

 

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