It seems like the zombie game rush is not going to end any time soon. It is like every month a new zombie game is released to widely mixed results. One of the most recent releases in the zombie genre is Deadlight. The easiest way to describe Deadlight is that it is a 2-D platformer along the lines of Prince of Persia with some puzzles and light melee and shooting. Most of the game involves the player moving the main character through zombie infested environments, engaging in combat when necessary and solving basic puzzles and platforming in order to progress in the story. While this sounds par for the course for a zombie game Deadlight is actually a very good game.
The controls are very tight and while at times there were frustrating segments to play through I never felt it was because of the controls. In fact, the parts of the game where heavy platforming was necessary were very fun as well as challenging. However, if you are looking to get this game for the Xbox 360, the controls are very loose, and –at times- unresponsive. We got the Xbox 360 Arcade version of this game as well, and we can only say that it is pretty hit and miss with the controls.
The combat, though mostly unnecessary, is tense and well executed for the majority of the game. Once other humans are introduced to the gameplay the game becomes frustrating at parts because the player is not only platforming but they are also having to react quickly to enemies that can actually shoot back, though these are not long segments and can be beaten with trial and error. However, one of the best parts of the game involves a very tense chase sequence that can be frustrating but is fun nonetheless.
The best part of Deadlight though is the story. What is essentially a story of an individual trying to find the most important things in their life plays out through a world that is torn apart and survival is difficult. It is clear from the very beginning of the game that the story is going to go places that are normal for a post-apocalyptic world but it is executed well and each story development encourages the player to keep going till the end. Unfortunately further information about the world and its characters is mostly learned through texts that are found throughout the game that must be read. I appreciate that the developers put that information in the game but it was difficult to slog through a 60 page diary that the main character wrote plus other things collected in the main game in order to learn more about the characters and what had happened to the world.
Thankfully, the graphics in the game are a pleasure to look at and present the world of Deadlight in a appropriately dreary and desolate style. Character models are well done and animations look great. The best part about the game is the background if you can ever get a chance to sit tight for a moment and view it.
The only issue I have with this game is that it is incredibly short. I completed the game in less than 5 hours and I am sure that many would be able to complete it much faster because I tried to obtain as much of the collectible items as I could. I think that if the game had been a bit longer, many of the story elements that were only available through text would have been able to be relayed in game. The main game is fully voice acted with mixed results. The main characters vocals are fantastic as well as some side characters and appropriate for each character. However other characters just do not reach that same level, they are good but not great. Sound design is appropriately atmospheric and helps to elevate the tension. As for replay value, after you beat the game there is a “Nightmare” mode that eliminates checkpoints and consequently save points and forces the player to play through the game all the way through without losing. If the player is defeated the game restarts from the beginning of the specific act that the player is in, so this mode is only for those who want to prove they are the best of the best of Deadlight players. Otherwise there are many collectibles to be found that can be acquired in subsequent playthroughs if they are missed the first time. Overall Deadlight, while short, is a good game with an engaging story, great graphics and controls, tense atmosphere and appropriate sound.
3.5 / 5 stars for this would-be-great platformer