Review

Deadfall Adventures

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The inspiration for Deadfall Adventures is immediately clear, but despite developer The Farm 51′s aspirations to create an action game in the same vein as Indiana Jones and pulp novels like King Solomon’s Mines, filled with archeological adventure and intriguing mystery, the game’s limited charm doesn’t outweigh its many and varied problems.

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What You Need to Know

Cast as adventurer James Lee Quatermain (and great-grandson of fictional adventurer Allan Quatermain), Deadfall Adventures is a globe-trotting first-person action adventure game set around the time of the 1940s. Together with United States government investigator Jennifer Goodwin, Quatermain must thwart attempts by both the Nazis and Russians to find (and harness the power of) an ancient artefact while shooting through dozens of gun-toting enemies (and at least a few irritable ‘zombie-like’ mummies) in Egyptian tombs, South American ruins, snowy mountains and at least one cavernous, sprawling mine.

Along the way there are also some light puzzles (with hints provided by Allan Quatermain’s personal notebook) to solve that increase in challenge depending on the difficulty setting you choose, which involve turning dials, matching symbols, placing hidden objects and lining up light beams – standard fare for the action adventure genre.

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What’s New?

While not technically ‘new,’ there aren’t a lot of first-person shooters set in Deadfall Adventures’ time period and locations, the most recent high profile example of which would be Wolfenstein. The subject matter is of course thoroughly explored in games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider.

The use of Deadfall Adventures’ flashlight, too, isn’t new but it is unique in that when dealing with the more supernatural undead enemies you’ll need to burn them with your beam, while puzzles and more difficult enemies will also require the use of light and an upgraded flashlight to progress.

What’s the Same?

All of the tropes of a standard adventure tale are here, from an antagonistic but blossoming love story and expected twists and turns, to the inclusion of a Nazi drunk with power, visits to exotic locales and cheesy one-liners – there are even extended minecart sequences.

Gameplay-wise, you’ll find the same weapons you would expect from a game set during World War II, with a (peculiar) ability upgrade system and the above-mentioned stock-standard puzzles.

You’ll Enjoy Deadfall Adventures If You Liked…

- The World War II-inspired weapons and supernatural themes of Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein.

- The puzzles and settings of Uncharted and Tomb Raider.

- Games that hang their hat on the paper thin charm of their characters.

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What I Liked

- 3.) Any game that plays on my love of Indiana Jones movies, as well as globe-trotting journeys through ancient temples and ruins, is immediately alluring to me.

- 2.) Exploring tombs and trying to snatch up hidden relics before a floor fell away or spikes impaled me were enjoyable.

- 1.) The pulp novel approach to the adventure and narrative drew me into the story.

Favourite Moments

Feeling as though I had outwitted the game by solving puzzles off the beaten path, with a new relic as my reward, were consistently the highlights of Deadfall Adventures for me.

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What I Didn’t Like

- 5.) Deadfall Adventures is full of rough edges, from sounds cutting out during gameplay and cinemas, to poor cut-scene transitions and very noticeable drops in framerate.

- 4.) Through a certain lens the voice acting could be classified as ‘charming’ with a bit of raw personality, but I simply think it’s not very good.

- 3.) For an adventure game, it’s a peculiar choice to make water fatal if you drop into it.

- 2.) Relying on specific relics for specific upgrades is very limiting – allowing me to upgrade any ability (and having a much wider range of upgrades) using found relics as an overall currency would have invested me more in the system.

- 1.) Throughout the game I encountered a number of game- and progress-breaking issues involving event scripts that didn’t trigger and AI enemies that got stuck in parts of the levels, meaning I had to load from a checkpoint and replay a section.

Least Favourite Moment

There is an enemy at a certain point in the game that needs to be killed with a rocket-launcher, but I somehow managed to knock him down using grenades. He didn’t die though, holding up progress, but simply lay on the floor stuck in a pile of rocks soaking up hundreds of bullets to his legs sticking out of the geometry.

Deadfall Adventures – Announcement Trailer

What’s Extra?

There are dozens of hidden relics to be found in Deadfall Adventures that feed the game’s upgrade system.

There are also a number of solo and team-based multiplayer modes with various classes and upgrades to work through, with an additional co-operative Survival mode for up to four players. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though anyone is playing online, with only around one hundred players contributing to the global leaderboards so far.

The Bottom Line

The ambition of Deadfall Adventures is clear, but despite the rich sources of inspiration and attempts at witty character writing, The Farm 51 unfortunately falls far short of the charm and enjoyment of games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider.


Deadfall Adventures was review on the Xbox 360


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