Deadfall Adventures is a highly flawed game; the AI can’t shoot straight, the story feels laughably archaic, and the poorly-voiced characters feel mundane and mostly unlikeable. Despite all this, Deadfall Adventures has “the Deadly Premonition effect”. It is outrageously fun to play, and is one of my favourite First Person Shooters of this generation.
Deadfall Adventures suffers an identity crisis. You play as cocky wise guy James Lee Quatermain, the ancestor of a famous treasure hunter, whose hint-filled book he carries with him for the duration of the game. It all feels very Nathan Drake of Uncharted fame, but without a personality. Furthermore, the game often feels like it wants to be an Indiana Jones film, making reference to the series on more than one occasion. You travel from Egypt to the Arctic to some Mayan Temples in Guatemala with a female companion, American Agent Jen Goodwin, racing German Nazis to find all three fragments of the Heart of Atlantis, a long lost relic with unknown power. It’s very cheesy and thinly strung together.
The majority of the game is made up with grand shooting segments. Deadfall pits you in large rooms full of cover to hide behind and weapons to swap between. This basic approach actually does Deadfall justice. Far removed from the rollercoaster feel of other recent shooters, there’s room to manoeuvre, plan an attack, and execute. Unfortunately, the enemy AI is sometimes terrible. I once stood directly in front of a Nazi as he unloaded a full clip, missing pretty much every shot. As the game progresses, the combat segments surprisingly become more vibrant and varied instead of repetitive and laborious. Undead enemies are thrown into the mix, which you have to weaken with your torch while trying to kill them, similar to Alan Wake’s key mechanic. Traps are also introduced; shooting specific targets will unleash a range of different mechanisms. Spikes stick out of the ground, flames emerge from the mouths of statues, walls smash together, darts fire in all directions, and so forth. You can even shoot open the concrete coffins of mummies, unleashing the undead upon unsuspecting Nazis, causing a chaotic three-way fight. All of the traps are fun to play with and keep the combat fresh to the very end.
When you aren’t killing, you’re exploring. Scattered throughout each level are a series of collectibles that can be used to upgrade your character’s health, reload time, etc. Unlike most games that just tuck collectible into dark corners, Deadfall opens up alternate paths full of traps and puzzles to surmount. You’ll have to disable crushing mechanisms, dodge falling boulders, solve patterns to activate switches in the right order, and whole manner of other cliché traps. These are all fantastic and multiple times had me scratching my head. Searching for treasures using your compass, which will point towards nearby treasures, your notepad, which offers hints and tips to solving certain puzzles, and treasure maps, which need to be found within the levels themselves, adds a whole new element to what would otherwise be just another FPS.
Throughout Deadfall you’ll also come across compulsory puzzles that you need to solve to progress. A lot of these are hit and miss, with your notepad sometimes providing you with the exact solution to the puzzles. Quatermain states without irony “I know, collect the skulls, pull the levers” towards the end of the game. On the other hand, new elements are even introduced in the final act of the game, preventing potential repetition occurring.
The boss fights are worth a notable mention for being the weakest portions of the game. I didn’t realise that the first boss fight was even a boss fight until the subsequent cutscene showed me his death. The second boss fight was a puzzle that failed to deliver, with the boss magically vanishing when I completed it. The final boss fight required me to shoot a man on a high pillar at such an awkward angle that the majority of the time I couldn’t hit him because I couldn’t see him and had no way of changing that. The couple of supernatural boss fights were average but only because they were fights against a horde of enemies, with a slight puzzle element, disguised as a boss fight.
This review does not take into regard the multiplayer sections of the game because as of time of review the servers are empty. The game’s multiplayer offerings include; competitive multiplayer with a range of modes and maps, the maps containing Deadfall’s signature traps to kill your friends with; and a Survival mode that acts as a mummified answer to Call of Duty’s Zombies, also replete with traps and hazards.
- + Combat is fun, especially when traps are involved
- + Solving puzzles and finding treasures is continuously fun
- + Almost everything about this game is fun
- - AI suffers from Stormtrooper syndrome
- - Boss fights are atrocious