Deadlight – Random Playtest

Deadlight won the random toss for what game to playtest next. Deadlight is a zombie game, set in the 80’s near Seattle. Except it’s not really a zombie game, because you can’t seem to actually kill any of the zombies. They just fall over and get back up again after a while. Or maybe you can kill them, but heck if I know how. At least the first hour of the game is a progressive tutorial unlike any I’ve seen before. Each move comes with an explanation and a scene for you to learn it.

Good enough.

However, each line of move comes with a longwinded explanation of what to do, for both keyboard and controller.

Too much reading.

Each wall of text shows up right as you’re about to actually need to do whatever the new move is you need to know. Because there’s zombies. About to eat you.

Apparently I can read while being eaten.

I got to a wall-jumping “scene” and lost it. Seriously guys, y’all made it way too hard. Do what Lara does. We’ve been doing since the advent of 3D.

Uninstalled.

I got tired of grinding through set-piece after set-piece. The experience did NOT provide of the experience promised on the tin. I was drawn to this game because of the 80’s vibe and Seattle setting. Got none of it during the first nearly an hour of gameplay.

Zip.

I ran around as a man who, in the first scene shoots someone, because they’ve been bitten, admonishes his group to not go off solo, IMMEDIATELY does so. For a really long time, while getting bitten CONSTANTLY.

Cognitive dissonance.

Do I need to kill myself now? I’ve been bitten something like 50 times… The fact that I initially referred to the player character as “a man” instead of “me” is a tell for a broken suspension of disbelief.

The environments that guy ran through were bland, dark and dirty as hell. Apparently everything is immediately dirty and destroyed in a zombie outbreak. Look, I get it, that’s the expectation that people have. It was just not fun for me. The whole experience was built for dark black zombies with glowing orange eyes. Whatever it took to make black zombie shapes look good was what everything else in the environment had to do.

I just hated the art.

Dark-black zombies with glowing eyes and little to no blood = good idea. The cost in what it made me feel emotionally made me opt-out.

One thing I loved is the fatigue mechanic. Your guy finds a fireman axe and does what you’d expect to the zombies. However, in a sop to actual real-life, your guy can’t swing it a billion times in a row. There’s an energy bar, ho hum, but where the presentation really shines is in the display. The whole display shakes and shudders in a way that pitch-perfectly progressively indicates your guy’s tiredness. Imagine a VHS tape loosing tracking, with NTSC lines becoming visible, with color shifting.

Pitch-perfect – especially given 80’s setting.

Too damn bad that’s the only thing that I really enjoyed about this game. Swinging my axe until I got tired.

I think I’m going to go chop some wood.

Total time played: 42min
Opinion: Not worth it.

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