Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 01:00

GAME OF THE WEEK:Mature cert, Microsoft, Xbox, ****

It would be easy to dismiss Deadlight as just another zombie game. Yes, it does have zombies, and yes, you may have to hack a few to death, but that’s not the main focus of the game.

You take on the role of Randall Wayne, a survivor of an apocalypse that has turned most of the world to shuffling zombies and separated him from his wife and child. The main thrust of the game is Randall’s mission to track them down before it’s too late.

Although Deadlight is a survival horror platformer with zombie hordes lurking in a devastated Seattle, you aren’t encouraged to hack and slash your way through them. Instead, you’re encouraged to avoid them as much as possible as you work your way around the city.

The zombies lurk in the shadows, and as usual, pop out of unexpected places. Luckily, Randall is a dab hand at leaping long distances and scaling buildings to make sure that he doesn’t fall into their undead clutches. The area he does fall down in is swimming – he can wade through water but anything with a little depth will see him drown.

It’s not just the zombies you have to be wary of. A militia has sprung up to make its own mark on the city. And while you barely have an axe to defend yourself with, they have weapons and aren’t afraid to use them – against survivors as well as zombies.

Deadlight’s atmosphere is added to considerably by the environment: desolate, destroyed urban landscapes; bleak murky sewers. The cut scenes are stills, in the style of graphic novels. And while the voice acting can be a little overdone at times, it’s decent enough.

The game is only a few hours long, but there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you playing even when frustration levels are high with the inevitable constant checkpoint restarts. If you can cope with the, at times, clunky controls that punish you a little unfairly for not being precise enough with jumps, then Deadlight is worth a play.

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