Deadlight: Directors Cut (2016), or zombies are as boring as ever

Deadlight: Directors Cut (2016), design and story by Raúl Rubio-Munárriz, developed by Tequila Works, published by Deep Silver

The modern zombie genre is and has always been relatively boring. Zombies as monsters is a boring concept, a mindless being, that exists only to infect and feed. That's why most zombie movies and games try to bring something else to the table, like slashing out social commentary by drawing parallels between consumers and zombies, or by having humans that are actual villains and the zombies are just a backdrop. At times it works, most of the time it doesn't, as the stories the genre manages to tell are all relatively similar, especially nowadays when all has to be so dreadfully grim and hopeless.

Deadlight: the Directors Cut is a short action/puzzle side-scroller, where a man named Wayne gets separated from his crew when they were on their way to a Safe Point somewhere in Seattle. He has to cut and shoot, run, jump and climb, his way through the dangerous landscape while he's constantly overwhelmed by zombie genre cliches, be them brainless hordes, evil humans or strange survivalists.

As an action game, Deadlight isn't terrible. It has some nice ideas about it, like the stamina meter that drains down when you climb or beat the zombies with an axe. But as a whole, it's not really doing anything amazing either. Like many games these days, it does feel like something that is emphasizing the storytelling more than anything else. The action and the puzzles, no matter how out there some of the scenes are, are built around a story, which gets pretty predictable in its nihilism very early on. The story it is telling can end only in one way and nothing about it comes out as a surprise.

Deadlight is at times a moody little thing, but like in many other modern zombie tales, the mood it has turns tiresome fast. And that really is the crux of the whole genre: if you are tired of the style it has, there's very little actual interest in seeking out most things it has on offer.

Now granted, I'm not a specialist about the genre, far from it, as I don't actively seek out zombie flicks. I do watch them on an occasion, but the series like The Walking Dead have let me pretty cold and even the most recent zombie comedies I've seen have felt pretty flat. So in that sense, Deadlight had a quite of an uphill to thread before I even started to play it. And that uphill wasn't something it managed to overcome.

Zombies as monsters aren't something I care about. As a whole, they are unimaginative and boring creatures, with little going towards them. In many ways, I prefer the zombies of old, that was just something evil priests conjured up, but which wasn't a sloppy metaphor for the rotten nature of humans. Or maybe the genre always was like that.

If you want to play it, I'd recommend waiting for a sale. As for me, I got it for free. And that was the only reason I played it.

Deadlight: Directors Cut is available on GOG and Steam.