When Deadlight was initially released, I somehow missed out, I owned it on Xbox 360, along with over five hundred other games, but never got round to playing it. Sure enough I regretted that as soon as I stepped into the shoes of the titles protagonist Randall Wayne.
From the dark, morbid and atmospheric title screen with the equally relevant soundtrack, I on the story mode and was immediately hit with a strong slap of nostalgia from titles like Shadow Complex, Limbo and heading further back, Another Word, Flashback and the original Prince of Persia titles.
The 2D side-scrolling gameplay feels highly modernised thanks to the amazing art direction and the depth of the world, the zombie enemies known as shadows appear from a heap in the floor, or stagger onto your plane from the foreground or background, similar to Shadow Complex it feels much more of a 3D world viewed from a 2D perspective.
Graphically it’s absolutely top-notch, lighting is spot-on, it’s dark, atmospheric and suits the mood of the game perfectly, Randall is in the search of his Wife and Daughter who disappeared when the Zombie breakout first surfaced and as the hope of a cure fades away, so does the chance of finding his family, but with nothing else left but survival Randall continues his search.
Throughout the game you have the self-narration from Randall, mixed with comic book styled cut-scenes to help the story progress, Survival alone is intriguing enough and the added hopelessness of finding his family grabs your attention and makes you care about the otherwise rough lead character.
The Husky tones give a clear yet deep overview of your progression, and you have to give bonus points for the fantastic work done on audio both with the voice acting and the musical score. The soundtrack is as close to perfect as you can ask for, It’s perfectly suited for the game and plays along without ever feeling imposing, yet when it needs to, (such as the title screen) it seems to be at the forefront of your attention while still feeling like background music.
It’s hard to explain how a musical score can be discreet at one point, and then piercing and imposing at another, but there’s definite credit to both the choice of audio and the balance.
There’s also sound effects throughout, whether it’s the clatter of your footsteps, or crash of the wooden door as you barge through, nothing ever feels like it’s intentionally obvious, but take a minute to listen out for all the individual levels and you soon realise how deep the audio is.
Gameplay will feel familiar to side-scrolling platform fans, but once again there’s an unparalleled level of depth, There’s firearms and the trusty Axe that will help when the shadow get too close, but never an over reliance on one thing or another, Ammo feels scare, but it doesn’t feel too scripted, many games would go with only supplying ammo when you’re coincidentally going to need it, but that’s far from the case with Deadlight, sure you can rely on your weapons, but usually your wits are the far safer option.
Climb onto the roof of a truck and use ‘Y’ to whistle and shout the nearby shadow, then as they get close simply leap over them and run for the exit.
Usually you’ll find a selection of screens, moving from one side to the next, each of these sections will give you the security of a window or ladder to escape any horde following you, and while occasionally broken up by loading screens, these are usually limited to a few seconds, which serve more as a welcome chance to take a breath rather than an annoyance.
There’s a heavy reliance on platforming, which has to be one of the two negative points, because the actual jumping mechanics could be a little better, In the attempt to keep things smooth, you can often miss your jump, there’s no automatic clipping to the scenery so if you’re jumping from a ledge, It’s down to your own timing which means you’ll sometimes miss the jump, which can be annoying if it’s towards the end of a tougher section,
Thankfully there’s no shortage of checkpoints, meaning you’ll never have to retry more than a few maneuvers to get to the next section and checkpoint.
This means progression is pretty consistent except for a few notable areas where you’ll be retrying a section more than enough times to test your patience, bar those though the difficulty feels challenging without being too tough, and while you’ll sometimes make the wrong turn, or miss a jump these are usually blips which will soon be passed without too much trouble.
With the main story lasting around five hours, Fans will be pleased to know the new addition within the director’s cut is the Survival mode. You once again control Randall only this time he’s trapped in a large hospital, there’s no way to escape, death is simply an inevitability but the question remains, how long can you stay alive.
The gameplay is very familiar, with weapons scattered around but the main emphasis on keeping away from the shadow, straight from the go there’s plenty of shadow chasing you down so the sense of urgency is peaked from the beginning. Having such a rush on means the few missed opportunities for jumps or maneuvering a block to jump from are even more important which further highlights the odd misstep when jumping, but practice makes perfect.
Bottom Line :
Deadlight is an incredibly atmospheric game that’s sure to please. The new survival mode does add a little extra value, but those who completed the original might not find the best value, whereas newcomers are sure to find satisfaction across the board