Game Review: Deadfall Adventures [PC/XBOX 360]
NOTE: At the time of reviewing, the online community was empty as the game had not launched, and thus this review covers only the campaign part. Be on the lookout for a multiplayer impression article in the next few weeks.
Action adventure games dealing with treasure hunters have come a long way, and what was possible only in exciting movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy, became the setting points for jaw dropping games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider. However, I haven’t really played a good adventure game which is not a third person, but in fact, a first person shooter with heavy exploration and puzzle gameplay. Could Deadfall finally be the answer?
Deadfall Adventures follows the story of James Quartermain as he is thrust into a globe-trotting adventure for the lost heart of Atlantis. However, he is not the only one looking for mysterious artifacts as a powerful and ruthless enemy will not let anyone stand in their way of world domination with the help of these artifacts, and if that sounds bad, someone awoke the ancient guardians as well! Now, you must race against your formidable enemies and find out the truth about the heart of Atlantis.
I will be straightforward right from the beginning here, the game is really enjoyable and I had tons of fun playing through the interesting and humorous storyline. Even though there are a few hiccups with the storyline, and at times seems unbelievable, it never feels boring. Furthermore, the dialogue between James and Jennifer is really humorous and realistic. Basically, while you are playing the game, they will start quarreling randomly, and how they bicker around like children is amusing. The voice acting is also pretty good in this game, especially Jennifer’s, whose actor has done a great job in giving life to that vibrant character. I did have some problems with the voice of James in the beginning though as it felt overly-grizzly at times, but once I got used to him, I didn’t mind.
The game is as I mentioned before, is a first person shooter with puzzle and exploration elements. It controls like any other FPS game, with your keyboard/mouse or controller and thus is easy to control. However, where it distinguishes itself is when it comes to the gameplay elements. Basically, you not only have your regular enemies that can be put down with a few bullets but also have the supernatural enemies, which are the mummies. You can’t kill mummies in a straightforward manner by filling them with bullets, but instead you will have to use your flashlight similar to Alan Wake, to weaken the enemy first. It provides a nice change of pace when they show up. What is interesting though, is that you can release them purposefully at times to attack your enemies. Similarly, there are also traps around some levels, which you can use against your enemies as well.
The puzzle gameplay is the other half of the game. When you go through the game, you will come along these puzzles that need to be solved in order to progress. What I liked about the puzzles is the way they were nicely designed, and were grand. By grand I mean, every puzzle was connected to your environment, and once you pushed a button or pulled a lever, things start moving around you as your environment reacts. It really is beautiful how the puzzles are detailed. To help you solve puzzles, you will have to use your grandfather’s notebook for clues. Their difficulty will depend on the settings you choose before starting the game , however they aren’t really that hard and can be solved with limited amount of thinking.
Even though the shooting, puzzles and flashlight mechanic is fun, you can tell that the game has some rough edges and lacks polish. The guns don’t feel grounded enough, as you’d expect from a shooter, but it is understandable knowing that the game was created on a tighter budget. There are some bugs though, that hinder your exploration. The bugs I have ran into don’t mess with the campaign, but instead do so with the collectibles. Like for example, during the arctic level, you have to zip down to a broken cabin in order to collect a treasure. However, the door that was supposed to let me out didn’t open and I had to restart from checkpoint. Performing the same actions resulted in the same frustrating results and I had to instead forget about the treasure and carry on with the story instead.
Now I wouldn’t have had a problem with it if the treasures were merely collectibles for an achievement, but instead they act like currency for upgrades. Upgrades for abilities that can give you the edge in combat. So hopefully, an update will fix that, but from where it stands at the moment, it is frustrating as the game is riddled with bugs at times. Fortunately though, it did not mess with the main campaign.
One area where the game excels in flawlessly is with the level design. The level design is absolutely beautiful in this game, and every items found inside each level are unique to the location. For example, during the arctic level you have frozen icicles hanging everywhere, frozen structures and snow-vehicles scattered everywhere, while on the first, tropical level, you have sand everywhere, and dry looking structures. The 3D modelling in this game is incredibly detailed and relevant to the world which looks breathtaking.
Also, the music is absolutely phenomenal in this game, especially the main theme, which just hooks you in with its enchanted melodies played with exotic instruments, that all form together to create a memorable main theme. It is so good, that I will purchase the soundtrack for it. Another one of my favourite things from this game were the exciting action sequences. Yes, that is right, Call of Duty isn’t the only game with jaw-dropping sequences as Deadfall comes damn close. I really would love to see what these developers will do with a bigger budget, as I would love to see a sequel to this fun game, one that is both bigger and better.
Deadfall Adventures was a very pleasant surprise. With its amazing level design, entertaining story-line, memorable music and jaw-dropping sequences, the game hooked me in and kept me playing. If you want to play a FPS that obviously has heart in it, you should give Deadfall a chance. Here is hoping for a bigger sequel! Lastly, I understand some people might be put off by the price of this game, but I don’t see any problems with that as the game is loaded with content, and has a multiplayer and survival mode too. I think people who like movies like The Mummy, or Curse of King Tut’s Tomb will love Deadfall Adventures.