Originally starting as a fan-made Resident Evil 2 remake, the developers had to shift gears once they found out Capcom was reworking their own IP. Clearly inspired by earlier survival horror titles, DAYMARE: 1998 is a bit of a retro experience for better and worse.
Although there are a few playable characters, each one doesn’t alter gameplay in any major way. These protagonists are left to navigate a nightmare filled town thanks to the evil doings of a sinister organization. Not only does this sound like a Resident Evil game, it plays like one too, but on a budget. The third person gameplay isn’t as polished as its AAA inspiration, as textures and animations are top top tier, but they still get the job done just without any significant flourish. Environments are also akin to most RE titles and feature numerous items to pocket and corners to explore. It is just too bad most of the cool collectables feature a ton of text that slows the pace to read. Players should be shooting monsters, not reading tiny text about that one thing you acquired.
DAYMARE: 1998 might only take a dozen hours to complete but there are moments of imbalance and frustration that hinder the experience. Some boss battles seem like they were designed to annoy and running through some gauntlets can be frustratingly difficult which create the possibility of rage quitting forever. Truth be told, for a budget RE clone, the overall experience plays smoother than anticipated. It is also nice that ammo isn’t a super rare resource which always keeps combat at top-of-mind instead of running in terror. The overall UI isn’t bad either as the map and inventory is all linked to a screen that integrates the gameplay.
It is easy to see the dedication and love that was put into this project although it still feels like a generic RE knockoff. It is difficult to recommend when the enhanced remakes of RE2 and RE3 are readily available at a similar or lower price point, but if you exhausted both those options and are a fan of the genre, DAYMARE can provide a weekend of monster grossness to explore.
Also available on PS4 and Steam.
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