Dead By Daylight chapters have always been a bit hard to review. Take the last chapter, Tools of Torment. There's some really interesting lore there and a few fun map reworks. As time has got on, it has aged even poorer than at release, due to some meta changes and the community finally understanding how The Skull Merchant's mechanics work.
When I first saw The Singularity, I was rather impressed by both their design and the atmosphere of the trailer. Since then, this DLC has gotten better and worse in a few noticeable ways. As a killer, it has managed to cement itself into a playstyle, but some of the chapter's perks have run rampant in the community.
End Transmission feels like a healthy step in the right direction for the game, but a solidification of a future quite different to the game many fell in love with.
Back in April, many fans thought that End Transmission would be an Alien chapter. As more alien-like leaks started to trickle through, fans were even more sure of their inclusion. For this reason, choosing to release an original chapter in space for their big anniversary is a very brave one.
The Singularity is essentially a rogue AI: a symbiosis of alien material and the ship's AI, hellbent on eradicating all human life. Seeing itself as the new superior lifeform, it fits a void similar to that of Wesker, a eugenicist with a utopian vision for the world.
Gabriel Soma, our survivor this time around, is a clone dedicated to helping the crew survive with information from their exploration of an alien planet. There's this great symmetry there: both a warning and celebration of the things AI can do. With the rise of things like ChatGPT and the worries of automating important jobs, this provides a futuristic backdrop that we can connect to quite well. End Transmission tackles the future of one of the most divisive tech questions of our time: is AI good for use?
Making a killing
The Singularity feels like what I thought The Skull Merchant would be, based on the description. He essentially shoots out little camera pods around the map that can be used to ping survivors in your vision. Doing so will attach "Slipstream" to them. If you hit them one more time with a pod, the Singularity teleports onto them, giving them heightened speed, less stun time, and quicker vault.
Essentially, The Singularity should only commit to chases when a survivor has been tagged, upgrading the traditional "M1" experience with some nice buffs. To give defined counterplay, survivors can grab EMPs that knock the pod off their back and disable pods in the environment for up to 60 seconds. You can either plant new pods or wait for them to go back online.
As of right now, they haven't quite got the balance between the counterplay and standard play as a quick buff was put out day one, to make grabbing EMPs a little harder. Though there are things to work out, The Singularity is a really well-designed killer mechanically. He is menacing and has good snowballing potential, but also has defined counterplay that give survivors something to fight back against.
Dead By Daylight is at its absolute best when both sides have clear pros and cons that you have to weigh up in each match. Killers need to be menacing and strong, but survivors need to feel like they can get out. You should be able to rewatch your old gameplay and see exactly where you have messed up. I messed up a lot against The Singularity, and that makes him a lot of fun.
The will to survive
Gabriel Soma is an interesting survivor as he's not technically human. With almost all of the humans around him dying in his spaceship, Gabriel sets off with the survivors to figure out why their own machines have been malfunctioning so poorly. Oxygen supplies cut off, vehicles unable to stop - the crew were massacred over days.
When he wakes up one night, he discovers there were only three left, until he spots the founding stages of The Singularity. Building itself from machine and body parts, Gabriel tries to stop it, but it is too powerful and it is only growing more with each second. This power struggle is fascinating but a little cliche. Though I anticipate it will be explored further in future Tomes, I'm left waiting for a little more right now.
He has three perks but one, Made for This, has had a huge impact on the game. Giving survivors haste when hurt and endurance after healing others, you will find two to four of this perk in every single game. All the perks are well designed for the most part, but a last-second nerf to Scavenger and the obvious power of Made for This have left the meta in a strange space.
Ultimately, this is just a part of how Dead By Daylight grows. With so many perks in the game, it is almost impossible to tell how things will shape in public tests. I'm glad that Made for This wasn't immediately nerfed for being so popular, as I much prefer a buff-heavy meta.
Dead By Daylight performs at its best with many strong perks, rather than just a few. The idea of making a build should be at the forefront of gameplay and, though Made for This is strong, we would benefit from many viable perks and no totally overpowered ones.
End Transmission makes many design decisions that feel like a step towards a more balanced future. Perks are being brought in line, and the mid-chapter update only promises to do this more, by buffing underused perks and eliminating hook grabs.
To me, I think this signifies a new chapter for the game as a whole. Old Dead By Daylight was filled with metas that lasted a few months, only to be replaced with another one. Though Made for This is running rampant, it doesn't feel "broken" like the metas of old Dead By Daylight.
The same can be said for Windows of Opportunity, an informational perk that is very popular without winning survivors games by itself. These perks give significant advantages to skilled survivors, but can be misused and misplayed.
Some older survivors may not like the more serious tone of recent perks, but Behaviour Interactive has been trying to give a balanced middle ground that will only continue with the Nicolas Cage chapter.
A PlayStation 5 copy of Dead By Daylight End Transmission was provided for review by the publisher.