What’s it about? You see the ‘dead’ in the title? Yep, it’s a zombie game, but wait, come back, because Deadlight is more than just your average zombie-blaster. Imagine 28 Days Later meets Another World, all encased within a beautifully shiny version of Shadow Complex’s take on the Unreal Engine and you’re pretty much there.
Left to rot by a group of survivors, Randal, a figure developer Tequila Works is keen to stress is merely a ‘survivor, not a hero’, is alone in a world of fast moving undead, with only his wits, a few close-quarters weapons and, if he’s very lucky, the odd firearm or two to aid his plight.
Randal narrates the story throughout as he survives through a day and night of living on the edge, as the tangible build-up of paranoia pushes him ever nearer to breaking point as he does what he must to survive.
Deadlight’s beauty is two-fold, first those graphics: moody, shadow-filled and alive with unseen threat as zombies lay in wait, ever just outside our hero’s field of vision – enough to make even the bravest shiver.
Much as in Other Ocean’s recently released War of the Worlds game you can expect to do a serious amount of running, but Deadlight introduces it’s fair share of erudite machinations too, the zombies able to be outwitted by the nimble of step and quick of thought, which leads us to our second plus point.
Take the following situation by way of example: zombies unaware of our presence doing what zombies do, both stood next to a live wire which lies, sizzling, within a pool of water. The solution? Stand the other side of the water, yell to draw the living-impaired’s attention, laugh as they’re electrified, carefully jump across said pool and continue on our way; we love it when a plan comes together.
There’s also something cool about Deadlight’s setting, Seattle in 1986 might seem an odd choice, but there’s a touch of retro chic which adds the game it’s own style, while even loading screens feature an old Spectrum tape.
Worth the wait? It’s certainly looking like it. Delivering not only sleek animation and foreboding atmosphere, but also nicely scripted chase and cerebral sequences, Deadlight is looking like a winner. Whether Tequila Works can deliver the game’s entirety (all 10 hours or so) with the same creativity seen in the demo is the only sticking point, but judging from what we’ve seen, and speaking to the team, we feel it’s a safe bet it will.
For: Xbox 360
Developer: Tequila Works
When: Summer 2012