Tequila Works – Deep Silver – PS4 (version played), Xbox One & PC – 1 Player
Joining the long list of previous generation re-releases, comes Deadlight: Director’s Cut. It’s a sidescrolling platformer, with a dingy atmosphere, in a post zombie apocalypse Seattle. Things start out quite promising with the tutorials running in tandem with gameplay, so as not to get in the way of the action. It’s quite frantic with you basically legging it from zombies, trying to find your group, with whom you’ve been separated.
In terms of design, at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s similar to Shadow Complex, as the character models and environments are not too different. That however, is where similarities end. Aesthetically, it’s a world in chaos. Wrecked buildings, festering corpses, explosions happening in the background as humans are not only at war with the undead, but themselves. It’s visually dark, more so than watching the last two Harry Potter films with your eyes closed. There were times when certain pickups weren’t apparent, exits, ledges and even bad guys. It may be intentional, but actually being able to see what you’re doing does help when it comes to playing videogames. You can adjust the brightness settings, but even then it doesn’t always help. The level design is very linear, and pretty repetitive, and there’s a lot of trial and error, too. There’s a lot of jumping from one window/roof top/platform to another, or getting caught up in zombie hordes, where you have no choice but to die so you learn from your mistakes. This really breaks up the flow of gameplay and can become quite annoying. There aren’t many weapons in the game, as you progress, as is law in most games, you get better more powerful weapons, but they are few and far between. You’ll mostly be using an axe, which can be quite a devastating weapon, but it soon depletes your stamina gauge and leaves you vulnerable to attack. The stamina gauge can be an irritating bastard, especially when under threat from a horde and you’ve got no ammo left. Between levels and chapters, the story is filled in with cut scenes, which are presented in the ‘motion comic’ style, ie still frames with the odd bit of animation in with a voice over, which isn’t anything to write home about, but switches up the art style here and there.
In addition to the story mode, there’s survival, which is basically survive as long as possible before you eventually get mauled by the undead. There’s also a few mini game pickups to be found, as well as developer diaries and other featurettes being available too. These don’t compensate for the poor main story however. For all of Deadlight’s positives there’s two negatives. The bleak apocalyptic setting and fun platform gameplay is hampered by some shoddy chapters (Ratman, I’m looking at you), and an awful lot of trial and error, as well as ridiculously poor visibility in some sections. What starts off as an interesting twist on the usual zombie apocalypse game, soon descends into a frustrating and monotonous chore. And considering the length of the game, it makes it that little bit worse.