Review: Deadlight: Director’s Cut (PS4)

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Title: Deadlight: Director’s Cut
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (4.8 GB)
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Tequila Works
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
Deadlight: Director’s Cut is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

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I never got a chance to play the original Deadlight game but it always intrigued me, largely due to the distinctive look. Thankfully, I get to experience the best version of it in this new release.

Gameplay:
Deadlight: Director’s Cut is a side-scrolling adventure set in a world gone mad. Zombies roam the streets and murderous people stop at nothing to survive. You play as Randall Wayne as he attempts to find his family in the aftermath of the outbreak.

It evokes a Flashback style of play, with some occasional shooting and melee combat but mostly exploration themed gameplay. There is no Metroid-esque back and forth traversing of the environment in this game, it is just a linear path all the way to the end. Yet, the journey you embark on is one of discovery and menace.

As ammunition and weaponry are extremely meagre, you will usually try to avoid the zombies rather than take them head on. Any melee weapons and strenuous movement use up stamina and you need to find an area of safety to recover. Sometimes that is easier said than done.

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Taunting the undead with yells and whistling can be beneficial, sometimes luring them into traps or creating an opening for you to sneak past. If caught, there is a brief moment where you can fight them off, escaping with a chunk of your health taken in the process.

Losing the few health slots you have means a painful death, but with many checkpoints not all is lost and it doesn’t take long to get back into the action. I found most of my deaths resulted from an environmental pitfall or imprecise long jump. On a few occasions, it came close to demanding pixel-perfect timing.

… retro inspired collectibles …
There are always the Nightmare and Survival modes to keep you going after you complete the game for the first time. A feat that only took just over three hours. Do I want to go for the alternate ending and collectibles that I missed? Not really.

If you are considering playing this game via Remote Play on the Vita I must warn you, there is no suitable control scheme for the little handheld and you have to resort to using the rear touch for a couple of actions. Aside from that, it looks and plays great on the Vita.

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There are a few tricky Trophies if you are going for the Ultra Rare Platinum. The most difficult one would have to be for the completion of Nightmare mode in which you only have your starting health slots and no saves or continues are available. No thanks.

I enjoyed the retro inspired collectibles that become accessible from the main menu once found in the game. They will be especially poignant for old-school gamers, but still have a relevance to games of today. I am aching to write in more detail about the special collectibles but would rather you discover them yourself as we hate spoilers.

… a good adventure in a chilling world …
Visuals:
The game world is sliced in two. A dark contrasting black hides the earth and walls where the world meets the screen. It has a very distinctive look that I wanted to linger in and explore, but more often than not, I was pursued by zombies so I had to run past all the eye-catching details.

Darkness and the use of light play a big part in creating an atmosphere with the zombies, or “Shadows” as they are called in the game, that seem to consist of one color, black. Only their eyes turn a fierce red when they spot some living flesh.

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Many of the characters, including your own, are silhouetted against the fading light cowering in the background or the eerie glow of a static filled television screen. Most of the objects and environment you can traverse is black too, with detail and color being present on the things stretching out into the background.

Audio:
Deadlight: Director’s Cut has tense and fearful music that plays sombrely in the background with your character’s footsteps, grunts, and almost constant chattering overshadowing everything else. Apart from the small arms fire and zombie groans, it all becomes a little stale.

… it ends all too quickly …
Now the story is okay, if a little predictable but the way in which it is told bored me. It might not have been so bad had it not been for the repetition whenever you die. Hearing the same lines of dialogue repeatedly grated on my enjoyment.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Deadlight: Director’s Cut is a good adventure in a chilling world, it’s just a pity that it ends all too quickly. The graphics and style are great but the linearity and predictable story weakens my enjoyment to the point where the idea of playing through it again is not appealing.

It is crammed full with tons of extras, making of videos, and artwork. However there’s nothing that would really entice fans of the original to grab this version. The dull survival mode and bump in graphics just does not seem worth the high price for an afternoon of gaming.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • Joshua Simpkins

    Good review, Chazz. You are doing great work on this site. I can get behind that review score as well. You make fair enough and valid points. I did an unboxing of this game on my YouTube channel if anyone is interested in watching.

    https://youtu.be/abuE-bKjO6U

    • ChazzH69

      Thanks for the kind words Joshua.