Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PAX East 2012: Most Promising Game

This past weekend was Penny Arcade's annual celebration of all things gaming. Between a Saturday filled with costumes and picture taking, and a Sunday of non-stop gaming and swag, I'm pretty damn tired. Over the next couple days I'll have some posts recapping the highlights of the weekend shenanigans. First up, a brief preview of a seriously exciting game coming out later this summer: Deadlight.

 Relatively unassuming amidst the glitz and glamour of big name titles such as Borderlands 2 and Assassin's Creed III, Deadlight caught my eye in the Xbox Live Arcade booth. I think it was the short line and intriguing gameplay.

Oh, and the logo kinda helped.

I took a few minutes to check out the demo, which presented a solo survivor of a zombie apocalypse climbing through dank sewers. Players run through Metroidvania style levels with 3D environments in the foreground and background. If this sounds familiar check out footage of Epic Games' Shadow Complex, a former Summer of Arcade release. Rather than a power-up searching, gun-toting sidescrolling shooter, Deadlight relies on puzzles to navigate is labyrinth. When hordes of zombies start crawling from dark hidden crevices, your best bet is to run. Without question the player experiences a true survival horror scenario.

After a few failed attempts at not getting eaten by zombies, I let CEO and Creative director Raul Rubio show me the ropes. Over the course of the brief demo I saw no less than five or six types of traps the can be used to take out enemies. Electrified fences, precariously hanging engine blocks, all methods for killing zombies. Eventually an axe is discovered, but showed itself more useful as a tool. As a weapon it took several slow swings to have any effect, and even a final blow to decapitate foes. In that same time, though, more zombies can easily sneak up. In many cases, it's much easier (and safer) to run.

Deadlight is really a game that needs to be seen to be believed: it's dark and depressing, but still gorgeous and full of life. I was kind of glad Rubio took over the thinking played out the demo as I watched. It let me observe the little hidden features of the game I would have overlooked in my short time.

What a nice guy.



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