Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Tequila Works/Abstraction Games
Deadlight was originally released in the "Summer of Arcade" for the Xbox 360 in 2012. Here we are in 2016 and it's time to rerelease it. Rather than the dreaded "Remastered" banner, Deep Silver decided to title it as a Director's Cut. It seems like I've become Gaming Age's resident rerelease reviewer, but that is purely coincidental (even though I will be covering the Batman Arkham remaster, coming this July). When Deadlight was originally released in 2012 Dustin wrote a very thorough review for it (which can be found HERE), so I'm only going to speak of my experiences with the Director's Cut.
Besides playing the demo for Deadlight in 2012, this is my first experience with the title. For people in the same boat as me, Deadlight is a 2.5D side scrolling survival horror game and for the most part it works fine. I also feel I should mention that clearly all remasters are not built with the same quality. Having played the remastered version of Shadow Complex very recently (reviewed HERE), it looks like Abstraction Games actually put the effort in to improve some of the gripes people had with the original release and even include a new survival mode. Now back to my usual ranting, did Deadlight really need to be rereleased? Personally, I don't think so. Backwards compatibility for the Xbox One would have been just fine in my books, but most publishers want the easy cash-in. This has no reflection on if I enjoyed the game, because I did. But a game released less than 4 years ago as a digital only title that takes around 4-5 hours doesn't need a rerelease in my opinion. This is more of my own commentary on the current environment in the video game community and not an attack at Deadlight.
Let's get back on track and steer clear of my favorite remastering rants. Deadlight works great at giving you a true survival horror feeling in a side scrolling world. Your character is just an ordinary guy (Randall) and you really feel like you must try your best to survive. Trying to survive does come at the expense of cheap deaths though, which you encounter much more frequently from Act 2 onward. Weapons and ammo are scarce and you must use your brains to figure out a course of action within some areas. While other areas you will play through and die because you didn’t know an instant death was up ahead. It’s those frustrations that hinder Deadlight from being a potential classic side scroller. The dialogue and comic style cut scenes aren't very good either, and time hasn’t made them any better.
For those that have played Deadlight prior, they will notice the inclusion of a brand new survival mode in the Director’s Cut. Randall is dropped off in a hospital and put to the task of surviving an endless zombie ambush. While it was a nice touch for Abstraction Games to add in a brand new mode, it didn’t keep me interested for more than a few minutes. No major elements of gameplay were added, and the mechanics don’t feel good enough to me to warrant repeat plays. Also included in the Director’s Cut, is a “Nightmare” difficulty which was previously available for PC only. The “Nightmare” difficulty offers an alternative ending on completion as well. I’ve never been a glutton for overly difficult games; I’d rather enjoy my gaming with a minimum amount of frustration but that’s just me. Between the cheap deaths and the wonky physics, I’m satisfied at the normal difficulty. Feel free to let me know how the alternate ending is, if that is your sort of thing.
Deadlight at it’s core is a good representation of what survival horror should be and how many developers have lost their way when it comes to this genre. Does it succeed at everything it wishes to accomplish? No, not many games do. Was it in need of a remaster and rerelease? I tend to think no also, but I could be in the minority. Overall Deadlight: Director’s Cut is a fun, short game, that has a bunch of flaws but is still very playable. In my opinion the launch price of $19.99 is a bit too much, but if you could catch it on sale for < $10, I would say it’s a worthwhile pick up for new comers and fans of the genre.