Saturday, January 12, 2013


Game: Deadlight

Developer:  Tequila Works

Platform: Xbox 360

ESRB Rating: Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language)

Genres: Sidescrolling, Platform, Puzzle, Action

There are a bevy of zombie-themed games out there to choose from: first person shooters like Left 4 Dead , third-person survival horror ala Resident Evil, or  ­top-down shooters in the vein of Nations Red.  There are so many, in fact, that originality quickly becomes an issue.  Don’t get me wrong… I loved Dead Island;  but, when you really think about it, that game borrowed elements from Left 4 Dead and blended them with some of the features from the Dead Rising series.  So stumbling across Deadlight has been a real treat.

The game takes place in post-apocalyptic Seattle, circa 1986.  Assuming the role of Randall Wayne, the player must navigate the dilapidated city, overcoming obstacles and dealing with zombies (known in the game as “Shadows”) along the way.  As a sidescrolling platformer, a lot of games would have taken the run-and-gun route; Deadlight, however, wisely elected a more tactful approach.  While various weapons can be found along the way, it is best not to directly confront the undead if possible, since the sound of combat will attract more enemies.  On top of this, the player must keep a close eye on their stamina level.  Stamina is reduced by climbing, sprinting, and fighting, forcing players to rest if it becomes depleted.  When surrounded by the relentless Shadows, the last thing the player wants is to be forced to stop and take a breather while stamina recharges.  That, friends, is a sure-fire recipe for a quick death.  The environmental puzzles in Deadlight are the key here, not mindlessly blowing away wave after wave of rotting flesh.

The graphics in this game are, in a word, awesome.  Though the player and enemies are always cloaked in shadow, the environments surrounding them convey the gritty reality of a fallen world.  From downed power lines sparking with electricity to a tattered billboard fluttering in the breeze, this world is lush with detail.  Couple this with a soundtrack which can be as haunting as it is desolate and the atmosphere is complete.

So far, the only real problem I have with this game occurred once the .38 special was acquired.  The right thumbstick is used to aim the weapon and at times the controls can be a bit clunky. When forced to actually confront the undead, the time it takes to correct a misplaced shot can be the time it takes to join their ranks. (UPDATE: later in the game this proved to be extremely frustrating as I was killed by a soldier time and time again. It seemed no matter how quickly I vaulted over the wall, I just couldn't draw my weapon before getting shot down.  I eventually got it, but it wasn't easy.)

Overall, I’m really enjoying Deadlight and find it a refreshing change of pace from the post-apocalyptic zombie games I usually indulge in.  The wastelands of Seattle have been an entertaining, if not somewhat challenging, place to spend a Saturday afternoon and I suspect my exploration of this universe will continue on into the evening.  Unless things really fall apart in the worst possible way, Deadlight currently ranks a respectable 5 out of 6 demons.

UPDATE: I finished the game and have no regrets in buying it.  There were only two points in the game where I really found clunky controls to be a problem:  the aforementioned scene where I couldn't draw my weapon before getting shot and again during a helicopter chase when I couldn't get the character to climb over a fence before being riddled with machine gun fire.  I still stand by 5 out of 6 demons, however)

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