PORTRAIT OF A MURDER Review: The Artist Has Landed In Dead By Daylight
In his 5 Bloody Knife review, Dyllon Graham calls the latest chapter of Dead By Daylight, Portrait Of A Murder, his favorite content update in recent memory, with a wonderfully designed killer, incredible new perks, a visually striking map and fun elevated gameplay.
In what appears to be the final major content release of the year, Behaviour Interactive have published Chapter 22 of their asymetrical horror game Dead By Daylight, "Portrait Of A Murder". On November 4, 2021 the latest killer, known as The Artist was released alongside a new map in the Forsaken Boneyard Realm and with survivor Jonah Vasquez. In addition to my review of the chapter, let's go ahead and dive into all the new chapter has to offer and any prominent bug fixes.
The Artist, known as Carmina Mora before her induction into the fog, was a Chilean artist who struggled with loss, death and abandonment. No matter how much life beat her up, she always believed in doing what was right, employing her renowned artistic talents to draw attention to injustices in the world. After Carmina double-crossed a disreputable client, she was abducted and tortured, her hands severed at the wrist and tongue cut out in the middle of an abandoned graveyard in the desert. In an odd turn of events, a murder of crows descended from the distance, tearing her captor apart. Picking the last wedge of flesh from their targets bones, the crows then turned their sights on Carmina’s bound and gagged friends, also victims of the abduction. As Carmina screamed in anguish, a dark fog billowed and engulfed her.
In The Entity’s Realm, The Artist has supplemented her missing hands with inky black liquid. Her limbs and neck have elongated to match the corvid companions that both save and haunt her. The Artist is a 115% movement speed Killer featuring a 32-meter terror radius. Her base ability is Birds of Torment, she is able to summon dire crows up to a total of three at a time. These crows are stationary when summoned, remaining poignantly faced the direction she faced when conjuring them up and will fade after a short duration. After creating dire crows, The Artist can cast them forward to attack her prey. Dire crows and how they interact with survivors are a bit complicated so we have a detailed video on that here.
Carmina Mora comes with three unlocked perks to add to the ever-expanding list in Dead by Daylight including Grim Embrace, Scourge Hook: Pain Resonance and Hex: Pentimento. Let's take a look at each new perk and discuss it's benefits.
Grim Embrace: Hooking a unique survivor grants a token. After hooking each survivor once all generators on the map are locked for 30/35/40 seconds.
Practically speaking, this isn’t an effective perk at advanced levels of play but should to be beneficial beginner and intermediate skilled levels of Killer Players.
Scourge Hook: Pain Resonance: When equipped, four random hooks on the map are replaced with white glowing Scourge Hooks. When a survivor is palced on such a hook, the generator in the trial with the most progress will explode and regress by 9/12/15 percent dependent on the strength of the perk in play. Any survivor actively working on that gen will scream and reveal their location.
The strength in Pain Resonance comes from not having to seek out and ineract with a generator to regress it. Pop Goes The Weasel is herald as one of the strongest regression perks in the game, but it still requires you to invest time, traveling to a gen, kicking it, and then heading to your next target. In many ways, Pain Resonance can supplement this perk. The trade-off for the convenience is that you'll receive a lesser regression percentage while Pop Goes The Weasel regresses a generator by 25%. Because only four Scourge Hooks can appear, they’re randomly located, and they can be sabotaged. Personally, I do not hold the opinion that this is an overpowered perk, as it requires a Survivor be hooked to use it.
Hex: Pentimento: Totems that are cleansed by survivors now cast a white aura to the killer. Killers can perform a ritual on a cleansed Totem to resurrect it as a Rekindled Totem. The more Rekindled Totems you create, the greater their effects:
1 Totem: Reduces the Repair speed of all Survivors by 20/25/30 percent
2 Totems: Reduces the Healing speed of all Survivors by 20/25/30 percent
3 Totems: Reduces the Recovery speed of all Survivors by 20/25/30 percent
4 Totems: Reduces the Gate Opening speed of all Survivors by 20/25/30 percent
5 Totems: All Totems are blocked by The Entity
Hex: Pentimento has the potential to be a strong perk. Keep in mind that unlike other hexes, a hex totem won’t exist upon the match starting. When you rekindle a totem, that acts as the “hex.” Rekindling one broken totem immediately gives you, what I believe to be the strongest effect of the perk, massively slowing generator progression speed. This encourages survivors to hunt down the hexed totem in order to complete their objectives. In a now Boon Totem heavy world, however, most survivors aren’t cleansing totems as much as blessing them, meaning this perk is hard to force into existence or effectiveness. Often, builds featuring the perk Hex: Thrill of the Hunt will encourage the cleansing of totems by elongating the time it takes to bless them. Note that a survivor blessing a rekindled totem, results in the totem simply cleansing out when complete.
Portrait of a Murder also features a survivor named Jonah Vasquez.
Jonah was a young man who always rose above his peers. With a knack for curiosity, knowledge, and insight, Jonah had a bright future. He was always good with puzzles. On his sixteenth birthday, Jonah received a mysterious set of coordinates in the mail, from an unknown sender. The bright teenager recognized the coordinates as a location in Chile, but the remainder of the code's meaning eluded him. He later found himself a codebreaker with the CIA. Civilian lives were lost when he deciphered locational decoy codes sent out by a rebel group in a newly formed democracy. Those codes were acted upon by the United States government and still haunted by guilt, Jonah was later relocated to a new project examining signal stations.
Late nights became a familiar friend as he worked deciphering signal station codes, while consuming horror podcasts rife with doublespeak and code. One fateful listening spelled out the exact same code he'd received as a teenager. In nervous ferver, Jonah traveled to Chile, again attempting to decode what was mysteriously provided to him. Following an epiphany, he cross-referenced calculations in various calendars, he stood in the sweltering desert heat with the answers he once thought he wanted. The coordinates led to his current location. One of the dates was his birthday. The final date was today. Dizzy and nauseous, Jonah collapsed under the sweltering sun, fog creeping in from the grass to engulf him. Displaced crows sounded in the distance almost as if to signal the time and Jonah was swallowed into the abyss.
Jonah Vasquez comes with three unlocked survivor perks including Overcome, Corrective Action and Boon: Exponential.
Overcome: When injured by a Killer, retain your speed boost for two additional seconds. Survivors using this perk become exhausted for 60/50/40 seconds.
Survivors that are wounded get a speed boost for two seconds. This speed boost elevates them from 100% movement speed, four meters a second to 150% at six meters per second. This perk allows survivors an additional two seconds at this speed, making it four total seconds. This is the longest-lasting “exhaustion perk” in Dead By Daylight, most perks last only three seconds.
Corrective Action: Survivors start the trial with 1/2/3 tokens on this perk. Completing a great skill check awards more tokens for a maximum of 5 (replenishing). Each time a survivor working with you on a generator fails a skillcheck, Corrective Action activates, consuming a token to convert their failed skill check into a good skill check.
This is a great perk to bring if you’re inviting a new friend to play with you or if you’re both new. This isn’t aimed at being a top tier meta perk or a perk for experienced players.
Boon: Exponential: Survivors with a Boon perk may bless totems instead of destroying them. Blessing a totem takes 14 seconds on a dull totem and 24 seconds on a lit (hexed via a Killer perk) totem. An active Boon totem creates a blue auric glow within a 24-meter radius of the totem. Any survivor downed within the aura of this particular Boon is granted 90/95/100 percent recovery speed, and is granted the ability to pick themselves back up from the dying state.
Think of this perk as the Bill Overbeck perk Unbreakable in Boon form. This perk can be used by any survivor in the aura if not picked up by a killer, making it infinitely more valuable, even if limited in its location. Players now refer to this Unbreaka-boon.
In addition to two new playable characters, Behavior released the first new map since the Raccoon City Police Department graced The Fog. The Eeyrie of Crows is an outdoor map under the scorching sun in a desert graveyard and the only map currently in a new Realm known as the Forsaken Boneyard. Globs of black ink lift from the ground as if gravity commands they rain in opposition to the natural order of the world. Books are mysteriously suspended in the air within the main building, a cathedral shaped library of magic reaching toward the sky, the central tower seemingly a Dark Souls inspired obelisk as a murder of crows circles the spire.
It's a larger map with about five jungle gyms or ruins sprawled across the landscape, a stylized shack and a number of very unsafe pallet locations nestled between sarcophagi. Breakable doors consistently spawn in the main building, giving the Killer ways to easily cut chases with survivors short. Survivors may seek to complete the generator located within the main building to unlock the "Flight to Freedom" achievement.
With the recent update game game additions and optimizations. For a complete list of Patch Notes and Bug Fixes see the wiki.
With all of the additions, changes and bugs out of the way, how do I feel about the new chapter? Mostly positive. From a technical perspective, Behaviour Interactive has a bit of a track record with releasing chapters in a slightly unfinished or highly volatile state. When The Twins released, an additional animation was still being worked on in response to an oversight in counterplay. Upon the release of The Trickster, a bug was introduced that prevented Killers from being stunned. After letting Portrait Of A Murder gestate for a little over a week, I can safely say that there are no egregious bugs.
In terms of the new characters, realm and map, this is probably my favorite DLC in recent memory. In addition to the release being fairly smooth, The Artist has a power that is incredibly fun to master with a high skill ceiling. That skill ceiling is what makes attracts me to character's play-style, if not her strength as well. Alongside her release came phenomenal new perks that are powerful contenders for slightly manipulating the existing killer loadout meta as well.
Turning attention toward the map, the best note to make is that it isn’t an indoor map. The focus on the “A Realm Beyond” project began some time ago. This project saw that old maps underwent remasters and tweaks to bring their visuals up to a new standard while also hoping to offer better optimization. Because of this, players simply haven’t been provided with new maps at a consistent rate. Raccoon City Police Department was the most recent addition to the rotating list of maps but was unfortunately poorly received by the community despite being faithful to the Resident Evil source material. The Eyrie of Crows seems to be far more favorable in the community’s eyes, barring its exceptional brightness.
I’ve had a ton of fun with the new chapter and believe there's a lot of good in it for people to enjoy. Being the last major content update of the year, it appropriately sends us into the New Year with a bang and sets high expectations for what is to come for my favorite multiplayer horror game. For the first time in a long time, I feel that Behaviour ran the gamut for me. We have a wonderfully designed killer, incredible new perks, a visually striking map and fun elevated gameplay. Plus we had a smooth gameplay experience on launch day.
Dead By Daylight is currently available to play on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Stadia, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and recently became available via the Epic Games Store.