Deadlight (Video Game)
Developed by Tequila Works
Published by Microsoft Studios
Available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade
Deadlight is the third, and possibly the most highly anticipated, release in the Summer of Arcade promotion for Xbox 360 in 2012. Funny thing is, while Deadlight might release in the beautiful weather of summer, the game itself takes place in a dreary, post-apocalyptic version of Seattle in the 80s. The game plays this setting to its advantage, offering little to no useful technology to its main character and placing him in a dark and off putting environment that will have you spooked long before you have your first run-in with a zombie. This 2D platformer provides many unique game mechanics that could find it becoming the best downloadable title on any platform this year.
Deadlight follows the tale of protagonist Randall Wayne--a family man who is desperate to reunite with his family he lost in the zombie outbreak. The game chronicles his adventures through the dangerous terrain as he searches for his missing family, and much of the storyline is revealed through reading Wayne's diary or by watching flashbacks told through flashbacks that play out very similar to motion comics of today. As you quest through the game, you'll encounter not only zombies but also other survivors who may assist Wayne or even attempt to take his life. Eventually the entire storyline comes together to produce one of the best ever featured in an Xbox LIVE Arcade title as you learn the fate of the man's family, the cause of the outbreak and how Wayne will continue living in this world.
Survival horror is a key element in Deadlight. While the game relies primarily on side-scrolling on a two-dimensional plane, you'll need to use weapons and traps to clumsily battle your way through the undead hordes. You see, Randall Wayne is your everyman, and as such, he's not a world class athlete or fighter. He will run out of stamina, trip over objects and even have a tough time finding weapons and ammo. You'll need to avoid hazardous traps and lure zombies into them or simply avoid the walking corpses altogether for your best chance at survival. You'll meet other survivors along the way who will either help you out, put you through a series of tests to make sure you're okay or even try to kill you for any number of crazy reasons.
Deadlight isn't easy, and you'll likely die many times at certain areas of the game before accurately nailing a timed jump or solving a tricky puzzle. It's worth noting that one of the really cool things about Deadlight is the inclusion of mini-games you'll find scattered throughout the world in the form of handheld video game systems.
Part of Deadlight's allure is in its stunning aesthetics. You'll instantly be drawn to the fantastic shading and colors of the world, and the artwork featured in cutscenes perfectly captures this dirty, saddening theme that always has you dreading your next encounter with a dangerous scenario. The soundtrack simply adds to this by providing bleak tunes that will have you forcing your way through this wonderful game. Voice acting is one of the game's real strong points with a fantastic narrative provided by the voice actor for Randall Wayne and a capable supporting cast. The game's controls are fine but have a learning curve as you learn to time your jumps correctly to avoid certain death. The only real drawback with Deadlight is the game only takes a couple of hours to complete, but Tequila Works does a good job in providing tons of collectibles for you to head back through the game multiple times in order to procure.
Deadlight is the perfect example of what a downloadable game should be. You'll find only a few hours of gameplay, but it wastes no time and provides exciting gameplay and a great storyline from start to finish. You'll want to head through the game multiple times after you've beaten it just to remember how great a game it really is. Deadlight is frightening and discouraging; yet, you won't be able to put your controller down. The addictive gameplay puts the "horror" back in survival horror, and plenty of extra content is just icing on an already delicious cake. Deadlight might not be perfect, but it's pretty darn close, and it would be impossible to find a better game for less than 1200 Microsoft Points. Deadlight's release on Summer of Arcade can't come soon enough for fans and is sure to go down as one of the most important releases ever on the platform.
Deadlight is scheduled to release exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade on August 1, 2012, and can be purchased for 1200 Microsoft Points. Deadlight is rated M by the ESRB for Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Deadlight website.
5 out of 5