Thursday, August 2, 2012

What do you want on your tombstone?

I did not get to spend as much time with Deadlight last  night as I would have liked. This means that I wanted to play through the game from beginning to end in one sitting and couldn't, but that has more to do with me being tired and old than anything else. What I did see of it is a game of two extremes. On one hand I love the  how the game looks. Deadlight is very easy to compare to Limbo, but the extra details in the environment and dash of color sets it apart from the almost monotone game about a child being killed by a giant spider. On the other had the cut scenes and voice acting are so bad that they significantly detract from the experience.

Limbo was very minimal in every regard. It did just enough to make its point and let the player fill in the rest. Deadlight tries to do a little more. When it goes into greater detail visually it works very well, but any time someone talks it is just embarrassing. Every character so far, and there aren't many of them, are terribly written and just as badly voiced. As a total package it is the exact opposite of War of the Worlds. That game was impossible to play but a joy to listen to thanks to the velvet tones of Patrick Stewart. Deadlight makes me want to turn off the sound.

Puzzles in the first hour or so do not match up to the complexity of Limbo. Most consist of jumping at the right time and not landing n spikes; it is very Prince of Persia (the old 2D one). Just because they are simple does not make them easy, as long jumps require very precise timing and the stark visuals do not always make it easy to see where the floor ends or discern a platform that you can stand on from one that is part of the background. Continues are unlimited and check points are reasonably placed, so difficulty spikes can be weathered with a little patience.

It is too early to form a complete opinion about Deadlight, but there isn't much of the game left to change my mind. I will certainly finish it tonight and then never play it again. All that matters is how I will remember it: will it be the interesting, stylish zombie game that summoned up enough of the old Mechner magic to overcome some atrocious non-gameplay elements or will it get added to the list of games with humorously bad one liners right along side 'the master of unlocking'?

Classic for the right reasons

or the wrong ones?

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