In the scorching summer of 2015 a thrill of fresh air was brought by two videos depicting a fan made remake called Resident Evil 2 Reborn that ignited the souls of millions of fans, who began to take an interest in this amateur conversion of the classic '4 Capcom into Unreal Engine 98, casting a big spotlight on the handful of Roman developers who a few months later would have founded Invader Studios. New models, animations and updated textures promised to give fans a new look to one of the most beloved chapters of the franchise for free, or at least this was the dream of the three founders of the studio Michele Giannone, Tiziano Bucci and Alessandro De Bianchi.
A month after the publication of those works in progress, the unexpected call: Capcom on the phone, but not to denounce the trio for copyright infringement but to invite them to their studios in Osaka asking them (cordially) to leave the project alone because of soon they would announce the official remake of Resident Evil 2, which saw the light last year. Without giving up, in the days before the departure Giannone and Co. worked on what was the scaffolding of Daymare 1998 being able to talk about their ideas to characters like Kazuhiro Aoyama (director of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis) and Satoshi Nakai (lead designer of Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Zero).
Born as a tribute to the classic atmospheres of the Capcom series but not only, among the references of the team there are also films of the caliber of Alien and The Thing as well as survival horror such as Dead Space and The Evil Within by Shinji Mikami. If you want to deepen the background of the development of Daymare 1998 take a look at their YouTube channel full of anecdotes and insights on the difficulties that a small studio must face to bring their creature to light.
Twenty-two years of mutations
It's 1998. CRT televisions are the future, Raccoon City has never existed and America's only concern is the millennium bug that in just over a year could upset millions of PCs and send the nation into a tailspin. On the peaceful Keen Sight A terrible disaster strikes when a mysterious nerve agent infects the local population making them hostile and cannibal, forcing the Hexacore company to unleash the HADES special operations team on the spot to shed light on the events that are bringing what used to be a peaceful town to its knees .
The tragedy of Keen Sight unfolds over five chapters as three characters: the Russian special agent Liev, pilot David “Raven” Hale and the ranger Samuel Walkers who weave their fortunes spurred on by revenge, hatred or simple survival. The change of perspective does not make any changes to the gameplay as regards Liev and Raven but partially diversifies with Samuel (whose debut in the woods is very Alan Wake) who due to the Daymare syndrome he suffers from anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations which will occasionally try to destabilize his sanity.
Daymare 1998 follows a mostly linear structure according to the Resident Evil action plot post fourth chapter, whereby the play areas are corridors full of hostile and consumable creatures in which you need the ingenuity to overcome. puzzle environmental (very varied and difficult, certainly a strength despite the tedious one of Morse code) that allow us to access the next area, which sometimes alternates between boss fights and scripted sequences such as running from one safe area to another before the oxygen of the mask terms. From the point of view of interaction and backtracking, long-time fans of survival horror can only be disappointed by the linearity that characterizes many chapters apart from some rare exceptions such as the hospital or the final phase of the sewers, even if it will often happen. return to previously visited areas with another character by unlocking previously inaccessible passages.
As proof of the linearity of the levels, the game performs auto-saves when passing from one section to another, also giving the possibility to manually save in areas where backtracking is possible but only if secret rooms similar to those of Dark Souls 2 are discovered. another element that made me turn up my nose is the addition of pop-ups, i.e. enemies not previously present in the area that are generated as soon as we are in an area from which there is no exit, an artificial addition that ruins part of the atmosphere that the title tries to create.
If it is true that the settings know in part already seen, we must take into consideration the birth of the project as a remake of RE2; the level of detail is still quite high and the glance is engaging. The rooms house various collectibles such as reindeer puppets, audiologists and documents that shed light on the plot and reveal the atrocities that Hexacore is committing on the population of Keen Sight, but as far as weapons, ammunition and consumables are concerned, we are not there. The arsenal is reduced to the bone and is composed of a light machine gun, a pistol, a shotgun and a revolver, only four weapons that return a feeling of fire practically the same, with the partial exception of the shotgun, which lack any possibility of being improved to increase damage, of fire or precision, as well as excluding any type of explosive weapon such as grenades or rocket launchers.
Shooting & storage, the two Ss that don't work
Firing in Daymare 1998 is a big deal because weapon feedback appears inaccurate e Arcadian. When a bullet is fired it is not clear the impact it has on the enemy, if we have missed it or hit it in the head or on the shoulder, moreover the aiming is difficult to manage even by fiddling with the calibration options and ends up making the stressful clashes, causing us to suffer damage because the pointer has slipped over the silhouette of the zombie like a bar of soap. Another criticality of the shooting system is the loader management, whose idea from the start is also very interesting - that is, the possibility of finding different magazines around to fill with bullets of one type, standard or upgraded, giving the player the way to reload slowly by placing the empty magazine in the inventory or quickly leaving the used one on the ground and replacing it with another load.
This solution is potentially interesting and works in some areas full of bullets, but for 90% of the game it is damn buggy and you will often find yourself having to carry around half-empty magazines that for one reason or another are not fully filled. preventing the player from optimizing every slot in the inventory. Own inventory is another controversial point of the gameplay of Daymare 1998 that sacrifices utility in the name of aesthetics, this is because by recalling the Liev menu, Raven or Samuel will show the device on their forearm giving us access to inventory, state of health, the map and the documents collected all without pausing the game.
What is wrong with this gimmick is that the quick menu does not always work properly allowing us to select the health enhancers or the charger we need, often forcing us to have to enter the inventory while we are attacked by a horde of ravenous enemies bringing us inevitably to death. This choice in a survival on the one hand increases the adrenaline charge and the feeling of vulnerability, but on the other hand the poor success results in frustration in the player. In addition to the health indicator there is also the "overdose" bar which increases the intake of stimulators and health enhancers, aim and stamina that occupy the twelve cells of the inventory unfortunately not expandable.
The eternal recycling of the same
The fauna of Keen Sight deserves a separate discussion. The aberrations that populate the Aegis laboratory and later the city are the result of the exposure of human tissues to toxins from nerve gases Castor e Pollux that in Greek mythology they were the Diòscuri, or “sons of Zeus”, who bring the undead back to life by making them ravenous death machines in perfect George Romero style. Among the streets we will find dozens of cyanotic creatures with wide open jaws ready to make our skin, characterized by a very high level of detail but which unfortunately often give a feeling of deja-vù due to the excessive repetition of the models throughout the game. In addition to the relative scarcity of models, there is also the little variety of aberrations: in addition to the common zombies there are only three other types of mutations that we encounter in the boss fights, few to tell the truth and perhaps it could have been experimented on the animal / vegetable side.
The behavior of the enemies is consistent with that of mindless creatures guided by instinct, so be careful when they approach because they are capable of sudden movements that disorient the player leading us to suffer their deadly holds from which we can free ourselves by completing a QTE. In case of death, a simple game over screen takes place that could have been accompanied by some gory animation. The creature models, however well made, do face some presumably budget limits: apart from the interpenetration from time to time in the structures of the map that generates funny glitches, the dismemberment is only a sketchy element that involves the beheading of enemies but not the limb amputation similar to that of Resident Evil 2 Remake, in which zombies came crawling.
A demerit note goes to boss fight, a too risky addition that takes the form of large arenas in which to run in circles, shooting enemies made sponges of bullets for the occasion, with frequent glitches that make it even more grotesque since they often become paralyzed in the middle of the fight doing nothing, or worse in one of these I got stuck in a blind corner without being able to move with the boss planted in front of me who acted as a lightning rod against the attacks of the other zombies using a power that served to stop me waiting for the others ended, which did not happen because he was there to save me. In all of this I was lucky to have enough ammo to use between blocks to defeat him, otherwise I would never get out.USEFUL INFO
I played Daymare 1998 on my PC with a code obtained thanks to the initiative of Invader Studios who kindly gave 10.000 keys to Italian studentsDuration
- I completed the first run taking it easy on Daymare difficulty (the highest one) in about fifteen hours, trying Resident Evil's Hank-like mode and finding most of the collectibles
- Third-person shooter that follows the linear structure of Resident Evil from four onwards: management of the few resources available, solving puzzles and boss fights
- In addition to the documents, weapons and recordings there are twenty deer puppets in different cinematic sauces (Alien, Hellraiser, Lo Squalo) to find.
- Game Name: Daymare: 1998
- Release date: 17 September 2019
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Dubbing language: English
- Texts language: Italian
An indie in the role of a triple A
Invader Studios tries with all his might to play in the championship of the greats, an impact graphics and a structure that follows the great classics at times make you forget that it is a indie production - something that, however, we are constantly reminded of by serious technical and conceptual problems, above all the combat system and the models of the protagonists - leading us to be unjustifiably disappointed when we inevitably compare it to the superb remake of Resident Evil 2, an exaggerated production richer and more experienced. Daymare 1998 gives the feeling of having in your hands a project that aspires to those peaks, but which, due to inexperience and an insufficient budget, fails to return a feeling with the same flavor, resulting indigestible due to too many deficiencies.
In any case this is the first, encouraging, attempt by Invader Studios to give life to a trilogy that presents itself well with the interesting cliffhanger finale, foreshadowing still many carnages to discover the atrocities of the Hexacore trying to figure out who the mysterious Cleaner is. Interesting and well thought out puzzles, an excellent soundtrack and a plot that has a lot to say are the starting point for a possible sequel that we hope will see the light as soon as possible.Videogamingallday.com review
The power of the Unreal Engine is there and it shows in all the spookiness of Keen Sight and the suburbs, with detailed environments and light / shadow effects that generate many swings in the chair. What is wrong are the models of the characters to say the least antiquated, a very heavy recycling of the enemies and the awkward and robotic animations of the characters as well as some sporadic glitches due to the interpenetration of the enemies in certain points
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM
Daymare's strong point: 1998 hands down. From the safe-room-like music of Resident Evil to those that break the silence of a dark area causing a cold shiver on the player's back, the soundtrack is treated in detail and is fitting, even if a little repetitive. The speech changes when we talk about the dubbing of the cutscenes, not that it is evil but it certainly does not shine
Absolutely the weakest side of the whole project. The gunplay is imprecise, the loader management system is unpredictable and often subject to bugs while the real-time menu is a potentially very interesting find, but in reality it is unusable in the most excited moments even by setting the shortcuts