Monday, August 13, 2012


As with every Summer, Microsoft attempts to cash in on the drought of new games by beefing up it's offerings in the downloadable arcade marketplace. The "Summer of Arcade" is usually four or five games that come out weekly, and I'm usually interested in at least a couple of them. This year's games aren't quite as good as previous years have been, but there was one game in particular that I was really itching to play, Deadlight. You may recall I actually posted the trailer for this a looong time ago when I was browsing the net for upcoming arcade titles. I had never heard of it before, but I started following it after this post.

Deadlight finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, and since then I have bought and finished it, 100% complete. I just couldn't put it down. The story is your typical zombie invasion flair, only set in Seattle in the 1980's, which removes the convenience of things like the internet and cell phones. You play Randall Wayne, a man who has been separated from the band of survivors he and his family had taken up with. Throughout the course of the game, you must evade zombies, traps, and yes even other humans as you navigate the terrain of a post-apocalyptic city. There's a bit more going on plot-wise, but I don't want to spoil.

This is not an action game, there are those elements as at times you will be forced to use a weapon to dispatch a "shadow" (what the game refers to the zombies as), but ammunition is scarce, and it's almost always easier to either run for your life, or figure out a way around them. This is essentially a adventure game with platforming elements. If you're old enough to remember "Out of This World" then you're on the right track, but with a modern coat of paint, and some Limbo thrown in for good measure. It's a dark game, but has an artistic style that impresses. For as good as the game is, I think the soundtrack might be the most impressive thing about it. Whenever I hear the word "haunting" used to describe a film's score, I usually roll my eyes, but I can't think of any other way to describe the music in Deadlight. It only comes in at certain points in the game, but every time it did, I actually stopped what I was doing in the game to listen.

The game might be a bit on the short side, lasting only about 5 or 6 hours, but there are plenty of collectibles to find; pages from Randall's journal, ID badges on corpses, and even three handheld video games which are actually playable. I will say that on my first playthrough, I managed to find everything without using a guide just by paying attention to the environment and looking for ways into different areas. I did actually miss one thing, and had to go back and look it up, but that's only because it was a collectible that was easily missed as you had to do something to get it that you don't have to do to get any other in the game. Still, even at 100% complete, I'm playing through it again. I like it that much.

Deadlight is currently available in the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft points, or $15 in real monies. For most people that might be a bit expensive for the amount of content, but if you're like me and enjoy a good survival horror experience, it's a small price to pay for one of this year's best Arcade offerings.

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