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Deadlight – A Different Perspective On The Zombie Game…

Zombie games, sure are a lot of them. And most of us have played a few of them. While I enjoy them it's been quite a while since I played one that was uniquely different than the others. Even The Walking Dead, the graphic adventure game from Telltale Games, wasn't ground breaking. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed it - but it was sort of what you would expect out of a game like that.

I recently finished a zombie game that I was quite surprised by and completely satisfied with. I don't recall hearing anything about it (but then again, it is a few years old), and bought it on a whim. How many of you ever bought a game on Steam without knowing anything about it? Bingo. But for less than five bucks and the fact it had Steam Trading Cards, I bought it without knowing whether I'd ever even play it. Then one day I tried it. And I loved it. And I thought it was amazing.

Deadlight

Deadlight is a 2012 sidescrolling survival horror/cinematic platforming video game for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows, developed by Tequila Works and published by Microsoft Studios. The game tells the story of Randall Wayne, a former park ranger who sets out to find his family in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Intended as a throwback to the classic sidescrolling games of the 1980s and early 1990s, such as Prince of Persia, Another World and Flashback, Deadlight received mixed reviews, with many critics praising the graphics, atmosphere and plot, but criticizing the game's controls, brevity and linearity.(Wikipedia)

There are so many things to like about Deadlight, but the element that surprised me the most was the fact it was a sidescroller. It's hard to imagine a zombie game that could have such a great atmosphere and be scary...while limited to left or right movements. Deadlight does it and does it well.

I was actually quite impressed with how the developers implemented this perspective in the game and yet still made the environment seem big, and real, and believable. There were times when it felt like the player was essentially the same size, but just by changing the scope of the backgrounds, it impacted how you viewed the character and the setting. You would almost have to play it to understand what it was like.

The game was far from perfect, but I found I could overlook the shortcomings since I was enjoying the rest of what the game had to offer. For one, I thought the voice acting for the main character (Randall) could've been better. Much better. The voice actor had a nice raspy voice like you'd expect your protagonist in a zombie apocalypse to have, but the inflection and tone was all wrong. In some parts, it was even laughable. In the middle of a tense action sequence, there would be other non-player characters present screaming and/or running about, and your character was about as monotone and plain sounding as could be. Then of course there were some control issues and even the occasional screen clipping glitch that would often require me to play a part of the level over.

The story is solid albeit somewhat predictable. It was still a thrilling experience from start to finish. The cut scenes are portrayed using a very artistic approach - almost like pencil sketches. It was a nice touch. Very creative. The game wasn't overly difficult but there were some timed sequences that proved to be challenging...Run from left to right - take too long and you get shot. Or jump and grab a railing. Hold on to it for too long and it would break free and fall. One of my favorites was this scene where a helicopter chases you, shooting at you the whole time. Running along the rooftops with the door gunner in a helo shooting at you the whole time can be every bit as tense as zombies bearing down on you.

Deadlight received mixed reviews, with many critics praising the graphics, atmosphere and plot, but criticizing the game's controls, brevity and linearity.

It took me nearly 9 hours to finish the game which is comparable to most full featured (and full priced) games published by the major studios. Dare I say I had more fun playing it than I did some of those types of games.

Despite all of its quirks and issues, Deadlight subjects players to a powerful story of survival and sacrifice, offers players quite the collection of stunning artwork, and treats players to a unique perspective on the traditional zombie game. It takes place in Seattle, which is kind of cool since that is roughly where I live, and includes a couple neat little features like the "Let there be rock" achievement for getting the high score on one of those handheld electronic games you find along the way.

If you like zombies games, and you're looking for one that's cheap, unique, innovative and fun...give Deadlight a chance.

Cheers.

 

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