Deadlight

 

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Platforms reviewed: PC, X360

I actually purchased this game on Steam, for about 2 dollars admittedly, long ago during a sale. I also have the free copy from Xbox Live, and have played both. The game plays exactly the same regardless of platform.

Deadlight is a 2.5D side-scrolling survival horror platformer made by Tequila Gameworks, a team including devs from Blizzard and SCEE (Sony Europe), as well as lesser known developers. I classify it as survival horror because technically it is, although the focus is far more on the platforming than on the actual threat of the enemies as opposed to 2.5D survival horror games such as Dark Matter. The game is built with the Unreal engine and looks rather decent for a 2.5D.

Graphically there are some differences, as you would expect, between the console and PC version. Everything generally looks the same but you can tell in the Xbox version that things are lower resolution and, obviously, it’s not running in 1080p. Unfortunately, that’s one of the downsides to the game. The PC version didn’t receive any special attention and so even at 1920×1080 or higher, the game looks similarly shoddy and jagged on PC. Ultimately it’s not a big deal nor will you notice because the gameplay will keep you busy for the short amount of time the game takes to beat.

The story of Deadlight is revealed mostly through a comic storyboard, and it kind of reminds one of Walking Dead (the book) in both manner and presentation. In addition to that, there are some in-game sequences, but none of them are pre-rendered or out of your control. You participate in flashbacks and dreams and nightmares. The story itself is somewhat contrite and doesn’t particularly do anything to distinguish itself from dozens of other zombie stories, so any regular enjoyer of this genre isn’t going to pay more than a passing glance to the plot. On top of that, it bears more than coincidental similarities to Walking Dead. The Rat’s son literally is Glenn, I’m just saying. Even acknowledging the frequent references to Dante’s Inferno – which I never finished – I’m not sure they really add anything to the plot. Then again, I never finished the Divine Comedy because it’s boring. I didn’t even finish Inferno.

So that leaves the gameplay. Fortunately, Deadlight is one of the more challenging platformers out there. It’s not Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden or Strider hard, but it’s also a different game and isn’t supposed to be. There are some absurd challenges in the later stages of the game which seem almost impossible to defeat except by luck, at least until you’ve beaten the game and are used to them. The platforming is fun and seems quite natural – nothing you jump or hang on ever seems out of place or forced. As for the weapons, in the later stages of the game they are pointless – which is also when you get the most ammo – until the end. At that point, the zombies are frequently infinite and serve as a distraction to solving the puzzles.

In order to completely unlock everything in this game, it will probably take at least two playthroughs and maybe a little less than 12 hours, but considering it was available for free and is frequently discounted over 90% off or even practically free in a bundle, there’s no reason not to try this game out if you like platformers or zombies.

 

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