As I began to play Deadlight, the words Limbo and Shadow Complex first sprung to mind. From it's shadowy visuals, puzzles, and side-scrolling structure, it does feel a bit Deja Vu. That doesn' mean Deadlight is a bad and uninspiring game. It's certainly one of the finest title this year, but it isn't without some frustrations.
Deadlight takes place in a post-apocalypse Seattle. It's the year 1965, 145 days after Patient Zero kicked off a zombie outbreak. You take the role of a survivor named Randall Wayne. He has been separated by his wife and daughter due to the outbreak. This leaves him going on a journey across to the American West Cost. It isn't the most interesting of stories, and the protagonist seems dull, but Deadlight seems to keep an interest with a few twists. When you realise that humans are trying to kill you, it seems very intreaging.
It's not your typical zombie outing. Sure, you do get to slash away at corpses, and even blow their brains out. But Deadlight focuses more on puzzle platforming than a side-scrolling beat-em up. Zombies do play a big part in the game, but they are mainly for puzzle elements. You will spend far more time trying to avoid them, rather than going in for a kill. Most of the puzzles will require you to distract them, either by whistling, or setting of a car alarm. When things get a little more personal, you can go in for the kill. Randall has a variety of weapons, but they only become available when needed. The first weapon you gain is a fireman axe. With a rapid button tap, you can slash away at any corpses getting in your way. If more than one zombie grabs hold though, say goodbye.
The gameplay handles a lot like Prince of Persia. Randall is capable of jumping from wall to wall, leaping across rooftops, climbing, and hang along buildings. It feels a bit sluggish, but it handles well enough. It seems very promising at first, but it seems to lose it's way not far in. You tend to spend more times completing simplistic puzzles, and they seem to repeat themselves. It never offers much of a challenge, and it makes it less fun.
The visuals are one of the strongest points to Deadlight. The dark silhouette overhaul gives off a great atmosphere. Unfortunately, the cutscenes are not as striking. They are represented in a comic book style. They do the job, but they seem dull to look at. The voice acting is also a bit of a let down. There's some bad scripting, and the voices can be hard to hear.
Deadlight can also be fustraiting at times. Zombies can be a nuisance when trying to complete a simple task, and the platforming can also be annoying. With that said, Deadlight isn't a waste of time. There's enough to keep you busy until the game ends, but don't expect it lasting very long.
Review by Gareth Smith