You’d assume that a Director’s Cut of a video game would add a lot more significant content than a vastly underwhelming survival mode, but Deadlight developers Tequila Works seemed to miss that memo. Apparently, some concept art, the aforementioned survival mode and a higher difficulty level are enough to suffice. Actually, that does sound significant on paper, but in reality it’s not, and that’s especially true if you’ve already played Deadlight before.
That being said, those who have yet to experience Deadlight before will find a good slice of post-apocalyptic platforming action. Thrust into the hiking boots of one Randall Wayne, you arrive in a cold war-era Seattle ravaged by zombies. Looking for your missing family, you instead encounter a militaristic faction imposing total dominance over the remaining survivors, and that simply will not do. Down with the establishment and all that!
Deadlight plays out like a 2-D platformer, with all the running, jumping, climbing and secret hunting you’ve come to expect from the genre. You also have to contend with the zombies, referred to as Shadows, and whilst you have some weapons with which to take on the armies of darkness, such as a revolver and a shotgun, Deadlight subscribes to the theory that discretion is the better part of valour. Important, as much of the time there isn’t enough ammo to deal with the encroaching horde.
It’s in these moments when Deadlight shines. On more than a few occasions, you’re dropped into the centre of the decaying hordes, and on one memorable occasion find yourself chased by a helicopter, with your only choice being to book it before you end up on today’s Special menu. It’s fast, it’s tense and it’s brilliant.
In the meantime though, the regular platforming is often engaging and varied, as you take to the rooftops, the sewers and everywhere in between to avoid the zombie threat. The sewers are the lowest point, as you’re dodging traps more than zombies. Often you’re dying over and over again, just to get a sense of how the traps work. Thematically too, it’s a mostly unnecessary section. Without giving too much away, the events have very little impact over the narrative that unfolds. You’d think a Director’s Cut would give this section more meaning, but that isn’t the case.
And that’s the problem with this version of the game. Yes, a couple of new modes and concept art are all very well and good, but they don’t add anything truly new to the overall experience. The survival mode works just like any other horde mode, which makes it somewhat of an antithesis to how Deadlight is usually played. When running is typically your best bet, but there’s nowhere to run to and enemies are pouring in from all sides, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
The new difficulty mode, Nightmare Mode, is basically just “no saving” perma-death, which might be good for any potential speed-runners, but the regular player is unlikely to ever touch it. The concept art also gives a good insight into the Cold War era world that Deadlight has built, but again, the regular player probably won’t give a damn about it.
So is Deadlight worth your hard earned cash? If this is a return journey, probably not, but new players can find a lot to love here. The story, characters and world are subtly told via diary entries and collectibles, making this game ideal for completionists. The gameplay is solid, the graphics are good, and whilst it’s a short game, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s just a shame that veteran players aren’t given a little more.
Deadlight: Director’s Cut is available now from the Xbox Store priced £15.99.
Do you agree or disagree with our review? Be sure to sound off in the comments below, and if you’re still undecided, check out the trailer!
Definitive version of a solid platformer that's sure to attract newcomers
For a Director’s Cut, the Director has done very little to change the core game of Deadlight. Whilst it is now the definitive edition of Deadlight on Xbox, and a platformer recommendable to new players, anyone who survived the Zombies in Seattle last time will find little of note here. Easy gamerscore though, if that’s your thing.