August 1, 2012

Armageddon It

Lasting First Impressions of Deadlight

Developed by Tequila Works  |  Published by Microsoft

Deadlight Boxart“The world has ended. There is no hope. No new beginning. Only the survivors.”  The start of the press announcement for Tequila Works’ new post-apocalyptic survival platformer, Deadlight, says it all.  Deadlight follows the journey of Randall Wayne, a forest ranger from British Columbia, a man who loves his existence outside the crazy city life.  A man who is more at home in nature than in anything man-made.  When an unexplained epidemic, in the 1980’s, forces his family to flee their small town of Hope, he finds himself alone in the aftermath, in the decimated city of Seattle, searching desperately to be reunited with his wife and daughter.  The story sounds very familiar and could be used to describe the events of last year’s I Am Alive from Ubisoft, or even the basic story behind Fallout 3.  Regardless, Deadlight still delivers an enjoyable experience of its own.

Deadlight can best be described as Shadow Complex meets Limbo meets Resident Evil and does this mashup without missing a beat.  Beautifully realistic backgrounds blend flawlessly with the silhouetted foreground to create a pseudo 3-D environment in this 2-D platformer.  The character animation of the protagonist harkens back to the smooth, ultra-realistic movements found in games such as the original Prince of Persia. When wading through shallow water, for example, Randall even lifts his arms up and uses them to help push himself through the water.

Deadlight screen 1

Deadlight enhances the eerie and gloomy environments by eliminating background music entirely, leaving only the moody, atmospheric sound effects that bring the realism home. The gentle splatter of rain surrounds you while, off in the distance, a car alarm can be heard. Somewhere you can hear the quiet ripping and chewing of human flesh as a Shadow feasts, his companions’ low grunts emanating close by. The only music you will experience in Deadlight is on the menu screens and this is just as eerily beautiful as the lack of music in the game itself.

Gameplay consists mostly of running, jumping and climbing your way from one side of the screen to the other, usually as fast as possible.  Shadows will appear out of nowhere with some well-placed scares that will require quick thinking and fast reaction to escape.  Few weapons can be found here so this is more about survival and puzzle solving than combat.  That’s not to say that some Shadow heads won’t roll during the course of the game, but don’t expect full on combat.  Deadlight is about survival in a devastated city and using the environment to your advantage. Drop a crate to stop the shadows from following you (luckily they can’t climb); lure them into an electrical current or into a deep pit (yup, they’re stupid too).

Deadlight screen 4

Children of the 70s and 80s will appreciate the list of achievements in Deadlight which are given out like candy in a steady but satisfying pace. Each of them are named after hit 80’s songs.  “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “Lay Your Hands on Me”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and even the most famous 80’s song ever, “Never Gonna Give You Up” are among these classic titles.

Deadlight grabbed my attention right from the main menu with the addition of Randall’s diary, a 60-page detailed look at Randall’s inner thoughts in the months before the disaster strikes.  I highly recommend taking the time to read through his diary before playing as it truly enhances the story of the game. Throughout the gameplay, missing pages of the diary can be found and will be placed back into the book for further reading.  My hour review time in Deadlight sped by in a flash and I had a difficult time putting the controller down to stop playing.  This is definitely a game that I will continue to enjoy until the very end.

Deadlight is an intense thrill-ride and is setting itself up to be the best Summer of Arcade title this year.  The story of Deadlight may sound familiar but the game is far from it and is well worth your time.

Tequila Works, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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