When you think of games getting the current-gen treatment, Deadlight was one title that never really came across my mind. Still, here we are with Deadlight and while the single-player is still a thoroughly enjoyable affair, the major addition highlights the weakest aspects of the game.
Developed by Tequila Works and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Deadlight Director's Cut takes place in Seattle after a zombie apocalypse has pretty much wiped out civilisation. You play as Randall Wayne, a park ranger who is looking for his family. Just recently split from a group of survivors, he must traverse Seattle to get to the 'safe zone' where he believes his family now reside.
Deadlight is set in 1986 and in same ways, it feels like a game from a couple of decades ago with a world layout and traversal like the classic Prince of Persia or Another World. There are many enhancements though that keep it from feeling like an aged platformer in the sense of utilising the second analogue stick to shoot your gun or slingshot depending on what you have equipped.
One thing that makes Deadlight stand out as much today as it did when it originally released in 2012 is the atmosphere. Throughout the game, the foreground is consistently shadowed in black while the colour and detail comes from the background. As you make your way through Seattle you will see stunning vistas and massive skyscrapers as well as the gritty detail to show an already forgotten city that’s been lost to the undead hordes and vigilantes known as the ‘New Law'.
There are many moments that make me feel like this could have been a game adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road as the atmosphere evokes the same feeling I felt reading book, making it through the once vibrant and inhabitable lands that is now littered with death and destruction. When moving through the world, should you go slightly off the path, you’ll most likely find secrets that give some small insight either to what happened there or who people were before this event occurred. It’s a simplistic yet effective way to tell you short stories of the inhabitants of Seattle.
Not a lot has changed since the 2012 release except sharper visuals and some slight additions to the single-player but the major addition is in the form of a Survival Mode. Unfortunately, it’s urgency of combat highlights the game's weakest point. It’s not that the gunplay is bad but the speed in which you need to despatch enemies is simply not enjoyable and not snappy enough to consistently take down enemies. When put in front of the same number of enemies in the single-player, you would be tasked with running away which is the more enjoyable option. Simply put: you won’t be playing the survival mode for more than 15 minutes.
Deadlight Director's Cut is still an enjoyable experience that holds up really well four years later. The only downside is that the major addition actually detracts from the overall package but thankfully it can be completely ignored.
An enjoyable dark 2D zombie game. 3/5.
Deadlight Director's Cut at CeX
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