I love the first Resident Evil game. This early-era Playstation game was fascinating to me, with its state-of-the-art graphics (at the time), detailed voice-over dialogue (at the time), and creepy ambiance (at the time). It’s sad to see how the series revamped and then fell apart (I have not played RE7 yet, I hear it’s great), so playing Daymare: 1998 has brought back that feeling, not only of the nostalgia, but also the fun in being creeped out.
This title takes a familiar model from Resident Evil; shoot some zombies that have been created through biological means, solve a few random puzzles, find ways to get into secret areas for goodies and additional firepower, try to figure out what’s going on in the plot, and steal some items from a dead guy named Brad. Atmosphere is created through random lighting, ambient sounds that echo through hallways, and strategic positioning of zombies that can snatch you around corners and accelerate when you try to run away.
Sometimes the graphics look a bit funny, but in the case of horror-themed games, the ambiance is enriched when the graphics are not as polished as your modern big-named title. Your mind begins to fill in some of what you see, which adds to the creepiness, without becoming egregious. For those that have not played the game yet, there is also an interesting twist in the story going from Chapter 1 into Chapter 2 that was unexpected and intrigued me into continue playing.
The game does have some of its downsides. My biggest complaint is the use of special files that are found in various rooms that link to an Internet site. I am not entirely sure why this feature is included. The files could be integrated into the game, even using the same mechanic, such as finding computer terminals in the game and plugging in the password so that the files could be read in-game. Going into my real-life browser to search specifics takes me away from the game, which I really want to play.
Also, there is a switch in playable characters, and (not to provide too many spoilers), and the new character ends up with the same tools and skillsets. However, you start the game as an elite soldier player, and the new character certainly is not, causing ludonarrative dissonance in the gameplay. Plus, it is tough to see a black male character designed like he has a fake beard and a lace-front wig. It’s just not a good look.
Overall, I don’t care about the downsides. I want to play it. Nostalgia aside, Daymare: 1998 is a fun romp into the world of zombie killing and government conspiracy. It’s got twists and turns and a lot of potential for a dark future in the world of Raccoon City and Umbrella…I mean, Keen Sight and Hexacore.