Deadlight (PC) review
"A 2D platformer that has a similar feel to the original Prince of Persia"
I must admit that I have an unnatural attraction to playing zombie apocalypse games, so I was quite eager to see what Deadlight had to offer.
At this point in time, I am quite sure that most people reading this review are familiar with the concept of zombie apocalypse. If not - here is the concept in broad strokes: Due to some mysterious reason (either virus outbreak, genetic mutations or just something strange in the water), the recently deceased start rising back as flesh eating zombies (which from now on will be referred as shadows, to be consistent with the game nomenclature), killing and infecting everyone they scratch or bite. Only a selected few manage to escape the outbreak, and this is where the struggle for survival begins - not only from the shadows, that are just looking for an healthy snack - but also from ruthless groups of survivors that prey from the weak.
So, it is in this setting that we find our character - Randall Wayne - traveling alongside a small group of survivors in hopes of finding a reported "Safe Point" in Seattle. We meet the group when a member just got bitten (as invariably happens) and head shot by Randall for the greater good . It is common knowledge that gunfire will attract shadows to you as fire attracts moths, so soon enough the group is overrun by shadows and Randall is separated from all the others. I could continue telling the story, but all in all it is textbook generic and doesn't bring anything that we haven't seen before.
However, the story is not the big selling point of Deadlight. For all old timers that kept on playing games from the 80's and 90's, this is a good opportunity to play a 2D platformer that has a similar feel to the original Prince of Persia.
The atmosphere of Deadlight is also a very strong point. The backgrounds on all sets are amazing, very detailed and bring a certain degree of dark realism when portraying a dying world. It is interesting to see that the opposite happens with the characters that bring life to Deadlight's universe - they are mostly dark outlines of them, shadows as it may - which makes the choice of denominating the zombies as "Shadows" an intriguing creative decision, to say the least.
There is also a never ending supply of shadows. Stay too long fighting in one place, and more will come. Fire a couple of shots, and soon enough you will be be swarmed. Bullets will not settle the score - they will only buy you extra few seconds to escape. That being said - it is also quite possible to finish Deadlight without firing many shots, as long as you time your actions just right.
The controls are all you can expect: They are responsive and simple. However, they also bring a negative point that clearly indicates that this is a console port - they are mapped in such way that makes the combination of some actions (double jump or sprinting + crouching) an awkward task. Most people will find this as a perfect excuse to unleash their rage and justify their failures every time Randall dies...
... and he will, that I can guarantee! Even though there aren't any particular difficulty spikes, there will be plenty of events that will catch you off-guard. From platforms falling, being swarmed by shadows, shot at by humans, or situations that will require nimble fingers, there will be plenty of opportunities to get Randall killed. But not to worry, Deadlight auto-saves regularly, with checkpoints conveniently placed to let you retry as much as you like until you reach a state of perfection.
To simply sum it up in one sentence: the mechanics, the puzzles and level construction - all of those elements blend quite nicely with the dark environment and great visuals of Deadlight.
If you are feeling inspired, it is likely that you will be able to finish the main story in one sitting. Even in the hardest setting, it took me only a couple of hours to accomplish that. However, it also brings great replayability value. Each act / scene will record the time taken to complete, and you will be compelled to play them over and over again, just to find all the secrets or to improve your time. The plus side is that you can select the act / scene you want to play, as long as it was completed once. This is a great feature if you want to train the most difficult parts before tackling Nightmare mode. And what is "Nightmare" mode, you ask? Upon finishing the first run, we are given the opportunity to play Deadlight in a mode where there are no check points - meaning that you only have one shot to complete it from start to finish. Die once, and you are back to square one. Personally, I haven't completed this one, but a little shadow told me that people who have will gain access to an alternative ending that may be rather enlightening.
So, if you have Deadlight lost in your steam library, just enjoy it, and let me know how it went.
Community review by Latinnus (June 02, 2016)
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