In this generation of remastering and repolishing of games, a lot of titles are being redone to try and generate the success of the first release. Games like GTA V, The Last of Us and Darksiders II, among a lot of others, have had a ton of success in their first outing, so it would make sense to have a go on the next generation of consoles. What one may find questionable is the remaster of a game which, although quite solid, did not make headlines or anything remarkable in the gaming scene. This is the case with Tequila Games’ sidescrolling survival Deadlight.
Deadlight, as mentioned before, is a third person sidescrolling game where you must fight your way from a shadow (the term the game uses for zombies or infected) infested Seattle. You take control of Randall Wayne, a middle aged man who was separated from his family, and must get to the “safe point” in order to meet them again. For this reason, Wayne sets out on his mission to get to this safe point using whatever means possible.
Gameplay is fairly simple, and players will get the hang of things early on in the game. You obviously move with the left stick, and you can sprint with the right trigger button, and also jump. As much as unarmed controls go, that is pretty much it, meaning the game has a platformer-like feel which never really goes away. This is not a bad thing though since its platforming is done well. As far as arms go, you can find a fire-axe which you can use to cut through the shadows as well as destroy doors to make your way in. One must be careful when swinging the axe against the shadows, since this takes quite a lot of stamina. Swinging three or four times will get the stamina meter down to almost nothing, leaving Randall to recover. When up against a number of shadows, this may be a critical mistake since these tend to swarm and inflict a lot of damage at once. A revolver, acquired a little later in the game, is a much more effective weapon to deal with the shadows since a well-placed headshot will rid yourself of the infected in seconds. One must be careful of the ammo though since the revolver can only hold 18 shots in all, so spraying about is definitely not the ideal scenario. There is substantial ammo found lying around, but one should never go guns blazing, literally.
While playing, there are some hidden items which Randall can find to help your completion percentage rise. Things such as IDs of victims of shadows and pages from Randall’s journal are the most common items you will find, and they all help to give a feel of the magnitude of the disaster which has ruined Seattle among other cities. One thing which Deadlight does very well is the journal part. Many games feature journals which are quite boring to read, and have you find pages which honestly are not appealing to read. The journal in deadlight is different. I don’t know why but it is very interesting, and if not controlled one may end up reading it all in one go. It is a shame that you have to scavenge for the pages, since they interrupt the session, but otherwise if you have the time, go look for them and read the thing. Its design is also realistic since it is in handwriting, and not full of complicated words, but everyday talk which everyone understands.
As far as graphics go, they have probably been the main reason of the remaster, but honestly there is no huge difference from the original. What has changed is the lighting, which is better in the second release, but the game looked good the first time, and this new lighting does not make any significant progress for the game other than make it a little shinier, which in a game where 75% of the action is happening in the dark is a little awkward. Cutscenes on the other hand are done well, with what seems like comic sketches shots rounding up the action with dialogue on the background to help the understanding. The script is a good one, and while not brilliant it still makes players empathize with Randall.
Apart from the story mode, which will take an average time of 4 or 5 hours, there is also a new survival mode, not included in the previous release. This features Randall locked up in a hospital and trying to survive for as long as possible, using height and boxes to block the zombies off as his main tools, apart from the weapons. It is an interesting mode where one may compete for glory on the leaderboards, but I doubt anyone will be that hooked to it for a lot. A couple of tries will probably take away the need for further if you failed rather early, and with no incentive to play the mode other than online glory, it does nothing huge to attract more players.
Having played the first iteration of the title on PC, I quite liked Deadlight on both playthroughs. The gameplay is solid, the cutscenes are short and sweet, and while there are frustrating parts, such as the Rat’s mazes which take a chunk of your life with them, the general feel of the game is a pleasant one. As said before, the decision for a remaster was a bit questionable given its mid-table reviews. Who played this before does not need to again by any means, unless he really enjoyed it. Those who never touched the title then are encouraged to get this, since even though not gamebreaking, it still is an enjoyable side scrolling game with a good story to boot.