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Review

Deadlight Review

  • Game release: August 1, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

Deadlight draws you in with its rich, pervasive atmosphere, but doesn't give you much to do once you're there.

by

Deadlight is the moody journey of a troubled man struggling to find his family in the zombie-ravaged remains of civilization. Shadowed foregrounds and illuminated backgrounds help create an engrossing visual style, and the detailed environments makes you want to explore this world further. But atmosphere is more substantial than action in Deadlight. While some combat situations provide flickers of excitement, the bulk of your time is spent performing the same basic actions in rudimentary, repetitive situations. This lack of complexity dilutes the pleasure of this all-too-brief adventure, making Deadlight an alluringly dark, but disappointingly shallow experience.

Things aren't going so great for Randall Wayne (or the rest of humanity, for that matter). He is separated from his wife and daughter, and the survivors he was sheltering with were forced to flee without him. And so you embark on a lonely trek, accompanied only by Randall's introspective musings. As you progress and pick up small items in the environment, he talks about his family, his situation, the world as it was, and the nature of humanity. Randall has an appealing roughness about him, but he is hampered by inconsistent writing and uneven voice acting. Oddly phrased and awkwardly delivered lines keep his character from coalescing into a sympathetic protagonist., but he is nonetheless a suitable guide through this grim landscape.

It's not the people in Deadlight that draw you in, however, it's the world they inhabit. The deep foreground shadows stand out starkly against the dingy, detailed backgrounds. Though all of the action plays out on a 2D plane, the environments have a rich depth of field that enhances the illusion of a 3D world. Rooms dim and illuminate as you progress and the camera zooms in and out, adding some cinematic flair. A few neat visual tricks pep up the story, while lithe animations energize Randall and his enemies. These artistic elements work in harmony to make Deadlight a visually compelling game.

Unfortunately, the gameplay is not nearly as dynamic. It starts off fine as you clamber over fences, jump out of windows, and sneak through vents on your way through this ruined world. You move the occasional box and flip the odd switch, but progress is mostly a simple matter of figuring out how to move from point A to point B. There are some moments in which you must contend with finicky controls, but these rough edges are only an occasional nuisance.

The deeper problem becomes apparent as you continue on your journey. There is usually just one way to get out of a given room, and your course is often charted with tiny white arrows or glowing objects. A few out-of-the-way niches hide collectibles and the satisfaction of straying from the main path, but substantial detours are very rare. Linearity isn't inherently negative, but performing the same few moves to progress down a clearly marked path doesn't hold its appeal for long. Furthermore, the simple environmental puzzles consist only of the most basic actions, so figuring out and executing your next move is almost never a challenge. It's not long before you're just going through the same motions you've performed dozens of times before, and Deadlight starts to feel repetitive and flat.

Don't shoot until you see the vacant, vicious reds of their eyes.

When zombies get involved, the action gets a bit livelier. Avoiding them is your first and best tactic, so you learn to lure them into advantageous positions. Tempting zombies to gather below a ledge you are standing on lets you easily jump over them, and baiting the abominations into a pit or a trap is a great way to clear your path. These solutions are clearly telegraphed in many cases, however, so you rarely get the satisfaction of coming up with them on your own. Sometimes there is no other option but to simply be faster than them, which adds a welcome sense of urgency to your actions.

If you are beset, fighting can keep you alive and gain you some room to escape, providing you have a weapon handy. Randall can swing an axe as long as he has the stamina, but it can take most of your energy to knock down a zombie for the killing blow, so don't expect to chop your way through the shambling hordes. You also get firearms for part of the game (and the shooting animation is delightfully gory), but the ratio of available bullets to lurching zombies usually doesn't work in your favor. It's nice that Deadlight cultivates combat as a last resort, because it encourages you to think of other options.

Unfortunately, there are never many options in Deadlight, and it's usually obvious which one best fits your current scenario. In the three or so hours that it takes to complete the game, you feel less like you are trekking through a dangerous world, and more like you are acting out a script. Deadlight's engrossing visuals make it fun to play the part, but you'll wish you had more lines.

Interested in a few tips and hidden secrets? Check out our Ten Tweetable Tips for Deadlight and make the ruined Northwest a little more hospitable.

The Good
Bewitching visual artistry
Some enjoyably tense moments
The Bad
Rudimentary environmental puzzles
Uneven voice acting
6.5
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

0 comments
LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Seriously underrated game! I don't know why it got such a low score. It's only three hours long, yes, but it's an indie title for little money now. And the stunning visuals, the really good voice-acting of Wayne and the atmosphere really make a good game.

Johny_47
Johny_47

A friend bought this for me when it was in the easter sale on steam and I was shocked at how short it is, really good review and I agree. 


Two other things I really don't like though is Randal can't swim(quite pathetic) and his stamina is absolute rubbish when swinging the axe, it's like he wants to die =P


I know it's to make it harder and for you to fight as you last option but it makes it linear and annoying sometimes. I used a xbox controller to play through and I thought the controls were off at times, got Randal killed a phew times too.


I'm just glad it was on sale or it wouldn't have been anywhere near worth the full price. Could have been a much better game and that's the biggest shame.

I-Am-Alive
I-Am-Alive

Quite strange - got 8.5 on IGN and the voice acting according to them was actually Good and not a weakness.

iowastate
iowastate

there are zombies so it can't be all bad xD

Elann2008
Elann2008

I love this game.  One of my favorite 2-D platformers.  

Kickable
Kickable

this looks like it could be awesome in a lot of ways despite being a simple game.  maybe it will be for me just saying, in response to number rating.  still going to play it

cheenyx
cheenyx

This is a good game to be enjoyed instead of digging for the minor flaws in it. At least there are no games in this direction for now, and I was so frustrated with all those first person shooters in current generation consoles only to prove its visual eye-candy. Check out this another Indie side-scroller:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li5EJ1-c7j0 

DanieltheDead
DanieltheDead

Aarragagh!

These numbers assigned to a game by some random person are concrete evidence that the game is as good or bad as they say it is!

Zulu1Tango
Zulu1Tango

Haven't played the game yet. From what most people are saying, it sounds like it should at least be a 7 to 7.5...kind of mixed reviews from people. Either way don't think I'll pay more then 800 MSP for this game.

wrestlingdude
wrestlingdude

I'll take IGN's 8.5 rating over this B.S.  If you only have two positives and negatives for this review, then it's clear to say this review is "incomplete." This is the "Laziest" review I've ever read.  IGN's 8.5 score out weighs Gamespot's pitiful review.

keyb0red
keyb0red

was hoping this would be another Limbo .. apparently not.

noeway
noeway

sure is not going to beat limbo

notserbamma
notserbamma

That's good, because I was starting to feel bad about selling my 360 after I beat Shadow Complex. But if this game doesn't live up to its visuals, I guess I'm not missing out on anything.

krunkfu2
krunkfu2

The game is good, but definitely not worth the price. I already beat it yesterday and don't really have reason to play through it again. :/

strahd01
strahd01

Anything over 6 is good for me. People miss out on good game due to average reviews

Maelsthur
Maelsthur

I liked, gameplay and story is absolutely interesting, better than many arcade games of this year indeed, if you wanna buy some arcade game this is a great choice. Play the demo if you have doubt.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

I've played about 2 hours of it, and much like the film 28 Days Later, just about EVERYTHING takes a backseat to the atmosphere in this one. That said, it is a really sharp and effective presentation. The gameplay is run of the mill Another World/Prince of Persia flair, but so far I haven't found it to be repetitive as the reviewer here says. The scenarios usually require simple logic to get through, but I honestly can't see how many people would find themselves unengaged, especially wrapped in the thick aesthetic the game offers.

 

It might not be a "mind bender" like Limbo or FEZ, but I personally wasn't that impressed with the gameplay in those either. At least check out the demo. Deadlight is a good effort, and is worth at least a look in my opinion.

Witchsight
Witchsight

Shadow Complex and Limbo? Looks very cool.

e6compass
e6compass

Should I be surprised? I think not.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

The headline sort of sums up just about every game released this year so far. Compared to 2011, 2012 isn't going so well.

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

This is just one person's point of view and it does not necessarily reflect what others may think it is worth. I think it is worth a try especially if MS offers a demo so that the customer can  make a informed decision without buying it and if by chance dislike then you are stuck with it. However, there are so many games that is written in the vein as this one.

johnners2981
johnners2981

 @wrestlingdude Metacritic average is 69 from 50 reviews, looks like gamespot got it spot on.

 

Go back to IGN

GrimJesta
GrimJesta

 @keyb0red No, it is a lot like Limbo. The puzzles aren't as "sci-fi", i.e. giant magnets and such, but they are decent enough considering they tried to keep it mostly realistic. I'd rate the game about a 7.5 rather than what this review gave it, though I respect the fact that it is one man's opinion and he's entitled to it. My opinion? It's fun and worth a play-through or three.

jarjarjake
jarjarjake

 @keyb0red If you enjoyed limbo i would highly recommend deadlight. Im about 75% through it and its pretty great. I dont understand why this reviewer gave it such a bad rating.

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @notserbamma the visuals = yes. Gameplay = linear and short like the journey

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

 @Witchsight 

Not quite. Shadow Complex was a lot larger and generally not as linear.

 

I tried the demo for Deadlight and I really liked it. The asking price is what stopped me from buying it. Oh well, I'll wait until it's a deal of the week for 400msp in the future.

Pukshd
Pukshd

 @Arsyad00 You say ?From which game ? Tell me, any other game on XBLA, have unique graphics? survival atmosphere with platform elements ? Aham....

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @lonewolf1044 Here's multiple persons reviews since I am with you, I don't go by one review ever.

 

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/deadlight Deadlight reviews all at Metacritic. Average 69/100 currently.

 

To give you an idea, here's a few other indie games that were compared to Deadlight :

 

Shadow Complex 88/100 http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/shadow-complex

 

Limbo 90/100  http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/limbo

 

It seems to me that Deadlight is missing something that we just cant' see from the video. I can see it has a great presentation/atmophere...but until we play it, it's hard to know why this game is doing so bad with multiple reviews across the world.

hamebone123
hamebone123

   @wrestlingdude I agree with the top three.....If you are loosing your mind over what someone else thinks then you...my friend...have a lot of mental issues that you need to work on.....not everything you think is right and people can have their own ideas about games...but if this review upsets you this much then please leave gamespot  and go back to IGN, we will not stop you.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @jarjarjake LIMBO =/= Deadlight.

Deadlight is a 68/100

 

LIMBO is a 90/100.

Both are short though, and both have great visual style and similar gameplay. ONE however is actually considered great to the world's critics, and one is a critic flop from a new developer.

krolm
krolm

 @Pukshd Limbo, shadow complex, outland, to name a few.

o016945
o016945

 @SolidTy It seems like you may be missing something in your life if you need to put the metacritic link up continuously. Seriously man, give it a rest.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

 @SolidTy you cannot base your opinion on reviews, play it and then tell me if limbo is better or deadlight :) I play the game and a 6.5 is too low, limbo had the exact same puzzles and it was an straightforward game, very short too but it didnt get a 6.5, its all about opinions. I like it just as limbo, IMHO the only bad is the length of the game but i know this type of games are very short.Shadow complex is another type of game, is action based you cant compare it to limbo or this game really.

Legolas_Katarn
Legolas_Katarn

 @SolidTy Maybe I'll like this one more since I didn't like the last half of Limbo or the game Shadow Complex.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @y3ivan AAA as in metascored, not AAA as in whatever it is your definition means in your house.

 

Here's what I said, it explains that anyways :

 

"Journey and LIMBO are AAA, 90/100 + games at metacritic.."

 

Not sure how you got confused.

 

I'll make it easier.

AAA = 90+

AA = 80+

A = 70+

I'm referring to the worlds critics, not budget btw, again what I said above covers everything.

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @SolidTy again, higher review numbers does not mean AAA title. As  for consumers, its both priced at $15 and its considered as a budget title.

 

Anyway, Deadlight and Journey is the only game in my list that is under 2hrs. Both games are spectacularly beautiful, its the shame that deadlight is riddled with minor flaws.

Pukshd
Pukshd

 @krolm Know looking by this side, but still

krolm
krolm

 @Pukshd Actually i beg to differ with Limbo. Limbo is the very definition of survival. Lack of instructions hint, story, defenses danger around ever single corner and every step. Sounds like survival to me. Technically deadlight has the puzzles like limbo and the action and adventure and combat of the other two.

Pukshd
Pukshd

 @krolm Hey, but they're not survival

Limbo : Puzzle

Shadow Complex : Action/Adventure

Outland : Adventure

krolm
krolm

 @wavelength121 Yes i do, which is why it isnt ``unique``. they all have same mechanics and the graphics stlys isnt too different and has same gameplay elements, so it isnt really unique at all, so rating it for what its worth as unique, its still average.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @o016945 It could be that as an MLB fan you are flustered because you are forced to play the lacklaster MLB 2K poor scoring series as it's the only option on 360. That entire situation sux, I wish M$ had a great 1st party to fix the problem of MLB on 360.

 

http://asia.gamespot.com/major-league-baseball-2k12/platform/xbox360/

 

You never got to play the award winning and outstanding MLB : The Show series AAA at Metacritic and at least one AAA at Gamespot.com, so that could be what troubles you. I myself have a 360, but I don't EVER play baseball on it.

 

http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/mlb-11-the-show

 

http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/mlb-10-the-show

 

http://www.gamespot.com/mlb-09-the-show/reviews/mlb-09-the-show-review-6205858/

 

This was more for links to other things just for your buddy. :P

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @o016945 Your counter to information is an ad hominem, lol. Here, let me try!

 

If seems like you may be missing something in your life if you need to put down the guy that puts the metacritic link up continuously. Seriously man, give it a rest. ;)

 

If you bothered to check which people I responded to in all sincerity you would know the link I placed was only to those that didn't read my other comments and could actually utilize the information. It was to those that were angered at this 6.5 GS Deadlight review without at least bothering to check the world's critics. I'm guessing you know this though, which is why you wanted to get personal...because somehow you are offended that this situation that I didn't create happened, that your precious 360?/XBLA game? didn't perform well critically. Give it a rest. These things happen.

 

Unless you work for Tequila Works the developer, you shouldn't worry so much. If you do work for them, remember the rest of us are trying to determin if we want to spend $15 on this game or not as it's not refundable, and it's short and it's not scoring so well, but it looks lovely.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

 @wavelength121 Dont believe me is your choice :) I respect that, i dont share you point view really, if you think that a person just because it gets paid for something is going to be unbiased you are wrong, no one is unbiased yeah not even me, i have my own tastes and preferences and even if i want it to be unbiased is not possible to be 100% if anyone saids that it is then is lying .

wavelength121
wavelength121

 @slayerSS-3 If you want to see the editor's point of view on a particular game then by extension you care about what that review says and it will temper your opinion of the game. Sorry, but anyone who pretends otherwise is kidding themselves. Also, I will take the professional opinions of someone who is paid and trained to review games over that of some fanboy any day.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

@inebriantia

I read reviews because I want to see the editor point of view in a particular game, maybe i share it maybe i dont, it will not make me not buy or buy a game. Why do you read a magazine?because is fun and you enjoy (just an example) well I read reviews just for that, and try to tell people to not do or do something just because of an opinion.

What if i tell you that i hate chocolate and you should not taste it just because of that?doesnt make sense right? is the same logic with this, its all about "tastes" and points of view.

And no you dont even have to buy it you can download the demo and try it a little while so you dont have to spend money on it.Sorry my English it sucks I know it's not my native language.

Redthedemon
Redthedemon

@slayerSS-3 @SolidTy People read reviews to help make buying desions since you cannot get your money back if you buy a downloadable

inebriantia
inebriantia

 @slayerSS-3

 Ok, what's the point of reading a review if you don't care what they say? What's the point in playing a game, and then comparing your idea to that of a review you don't care about?

 

Point is, if you don't care about reviews, you wouldn't be reading the article. You would've just moved on to another one. Not saying I don't agree, people should at least try the demo since you can't rent it first. But with arcade titles you're way more likely to get burned than with main titles, so reviews hold a little more weight with these. A lot of reviews are still needed though, and at least try the demo. People who purchase blindy ruin the industry.

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

 @SolidTy When I said i play it i meant beat it because like you said i cant give a proper opinion if i didnt go through all the game, is not my intention fight or anything just saying dont really pay attention to scores or reviews, always make your own opinion and then like you said see if you agree or not with the score/review of the game :)

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @slayerSS-3 Playing is not beating the game. Speak to users after you complete the entire game. ;) Maybe after you complete it, you will agree with the reviews, or not. I don't base my opinion on reviews, I was merely pointing out Gamespot.coms 6.5 shouldn't be the shocker, the shocker is that other reviewers felt the same way giving the game a low metascore.

 

I've liked plenty of games that didn't do well at Metacritic, but usually that's not the case. I also said I will play this game...I'm just waiting for a $5 price point. :)

Daian
Daian

 @Legolas_Katarn Yes, the second half of Limbo was bad, it had nothing to do with the first, it felt disjointed, if I remember correctly they changed dev teams or something like that midway through development and that's why, which is too bad because the first half was really great.

Deadlight (2012) More Info

First Release on Aug 01, 2012
  • PC
  • Xbox 360
Deadlight is a cinematic action puzzle platformer from Tequila Works set in the American west coast in an apocalyptic world.
7.3
Average User RatingOut of 374 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Deadlight (2012)
Developed by:
Tequila Works
Published by:
Microsoft Game Studios
Genres:
2D, Action, Platformer
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms
Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language