Deadfall Adventures Review

[As Read on GIO.]

Lost in the Desert with No Way Home

…And that’s How it Should Stay

Let’s start with something entirely too ironic to be left out of this review: Allan Quartermain, and that series of late nineteenth century novels. The fact that many adventure films, games, and protagonists owe their concepts and very existences to Quartermain and that this particular game centers on one of Quartermain’s grandsons is entirely too ironic to not be mentioned. Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, you name it. This terribly flawed game strikes a ‘bargain’ with gamers- promising to bring them a hearty adventure story with all the fine-tuned elements of a modern first person shooter and with a thinking man’s game of puzzles, only to ape other games and take your fifty or so dollars and leave you pretty much empty handed.

Since the story doesn’t try very hard and ultimately takes a back seat on the back burner for the duration of the story mode campaign, all you need to really know about the protagonist is that he is a Quartermain, and of relation to the ‘great’ Allan Quartermain as well, on down the line a ways. This less canny and cool Quartermain globe trots and embarks on a very misinformed quest for something obviously belonging to Indiana Jones’ series- one Heart of Atlantis, which reminded me heavily of the still-better Staff of Kings game… But I digress. In typically Indy fashion, you’ll encounter period-centric Nazis out for your blood, mummies straight from The Mummy Series, and even on a pretty much copied train scene from that movie, and for added measure- copying off of both Mummy and Indy Jones, Arab thieves and pickpockets as well! This game’s description may as well have been, “copy all elements from every other adventure saga and FPS out there.”

Basically, Quartermain is an extremely watered-down and very much less-cool Nate Drake as well, because his specific female companion in this adventure is one Jennifer something or another. Basically, she has the cliched attitude of “I’m coming and that’s final,” and Quartermain “grudgingly” goes along with it, although we all know how that will probably end. The dialogue is atrocious, as is, fittingly, the talent on the part of the voice actors as well. So don’t expect the telling of the story to be very strong either. In fact, just go ahead and forget about the entire story and just shoot whoever pops up in front of you, make your way as quickly as possible through the campaign, and put the game down and proceed to cry. The fact that Quartermian and crew try to “break the fourth wall’ a bit and joke about the cliched script only makes things worse, as it fails and falls flat too, along with the rest of the train wreck of a script. In fact, they would’ve been better off being silent protagonists, or better yet- having never been dreamed up in the first place.

Having successfully ignored the story, you will quickly begin to notice that the gunplay and other gameplay mechanics are mostly mediocre as well. None are really great, but also, on the other hand, not all are as terrible as the completely irredeemable story which goes beyond terrible and bridges the gap all the way into the ‘Tartarus’ zone. The gunplay is typical first person shooter fanfare, minus most fanfare, as it is pretty standard and operates just about like an older Call of Duty game or Medal of Honor title- say European Assault, or CoD 3 era… The regenerating health and simplistic “covering” mechanics are pretty much as current-gen as you will find, because everything else can be found in last-gen shooters pretty much, which isn’t necessarily bad- just very, very out of date and out of time. You’ll miss the slight auto-aim that most games implement nowadays, as annoyingly enough there is no assistance whatsoever to be had in Deadfall, and the controls are barely functional enough to make their way to line the crosshairs up on targets anyways.

“Check out all the realistic blood around my eyes!”

The framerate is scarily shoddy and lags immensely whilst in the process of saving or during heavy combat encounters, which often results in reloading the last checkpoint or death- resulting therefore in a mixture of rinse and repeat over and over and over each time. If you didn’t know the definition of insanity before, this may help you to find out firsthand. Speaking of the saving and whatnot helping to hang you up at checkpoints as well…yeah, there really aren’t very many checkpoints to be spoken for, and those that do appear are in some pretty bad locations. Hopefully though, you’re ready for what will basically be a full-game speedrun, because it’s essentially Iron Skull-on all the time here, and if you die…well…you’re screwed my friend. All I can say is watch the corners- those boobytraps are a real mother.

Now, on a note about traps and other environmentally placed hazards and such dangerous things, please take careful note that these rare (I jest) instruments of pain and misfortune are incredibly more potent than your standard foes, and will often send you to Davey Jones’ locker for good if you aren’t attentive to your surroundings. So take care and tread lightly. As for your enemies, they won’t be much of a challenge once you’ve ‘mastered’ the crappy aiming and can gun them down with relative ease, or at least as easily as the poorly constructed and tuned controls will allow. In this, the controls and enemy AI both reminded me of the poorly thought out 007 Legends, which is not a strong or even good comparison for any game to be made akin to, so beware.

The enemy AI is programmed smartly enough to aim for your general location and take you out with deadly ‘efficiency,” however, strangely enough, they are also stupid enough to stand in plain sight as they do so- making dispatching them easy if you know what to do and avoid taking too much fire and having to reload a really far off checkpoint. Funny enough, it is only when they take cover that they are hindered by the mortal coil and them become stormtroopers who, true to that title, suck at shooting anything down but can dodge plenty of blasterfire themselves. For the most part, your enemies function exactly the same in combat, providing no real challenge until you discover the undead mummies chasing you around as well. As if things weren’t bad enough already.

The mummy AI is a little different than the other enemies, though no better in the long run, aside from providing a thankfully different combat approach and a slight bit of tactics and strategy as well- though I must stress that it is a very small amount of strategy and still can be accomplished with brainless shooting that would make Captain Price and crew proud. Simply shine your flashlight on mummies Alan Wake style and then fire away with a continual hail of bullets and eventually they will fall to the ground, slightly deader than they already were and with more lead in them as well. That’s about it in terms of the ‘special’ additions required to take these tougher foes out, though you’re also welcome to try your hand with a combat knife as well- though I can guarantee you the knife mechanic is laughable at best in most cases and slower than Black Ops 1’s, which is amazingly possible somehow.

“The flashlight- still better than most of the guns.”

The only other real gameplay mentionable in Deadfall Adventures is the puzzle gameplay which is really, truthfully less puzzling and more head-bangingly annoying instead. Whereas these moments could’ve been the relatively saving grace of an otherwise totally mediocre game, they instead made it just as mediocre as before without really helping in any way other than lengthening the so-called “story” and campaign. Most puzzles don’t really require much thought and aren’t so much puzzles as simple shifts in the game’s pace- such as shooting marked objects and rearranging tiles to match a certain pattern for example. Others are pretty much impossible to figure out without countless hours of retrying them or looking them up on the internet or blind luck. I won’t even begin to explain some of the most obscure answers I finally found on my way through the game, as they are pretty insane indeed.

Thank goodness we at least have the prophetic in-game journal ready with mostly unhelpful or game-ruining hints and the occasionally decent tip as well. The one decent thing about the puzzles is that they at least allow you access to treasure which in turn fuels your upgrades, adding to your health, power, and other small categories in different ways. Nothing game-changing or really memorable, but nothing nearly as terrible as what I’ve seen in the rest of the game, so it can’t be all too terrible after all, I guess… Just be aware that pretty much any place with treasure or puzzles is guaranteed to have a plethora of cunning (more like poorly placed) traps to take you out in one fell swoop and send you packing your bags back to thirty minutes earlier, at the last checkpoint.

As with many games these days, this one has its fair share of bugs and assorted glitches- ranging from the hilarious and degrading to the strange and slightly insane. Your screen shakes and quakes whenever you near an object that the developers apparently thought you wouldn’t ever touch for whatever reason, causing you to panic and get the heck out of dodge generally, as you have no idea what the hell is going on. You’ll constantly be able to magically reload your dual wielded weapons inexplicably, though you are still holding them in both hands- don’t ask me how, as Quartermain is obviously a superhuman, albeit the worst I’ve ever met. And another strange occurrence I witnessed was some oddly untextured, floating head and gun that yelled at me like any other enemy and proceeded to shoot me to death. I just stood there stunned because I was too busy laughing and later wondering just how an entirely untextured character made it into the game, and much less- why he was missing anything below his head…

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the game also features an obscene amount of multiplayer and cooperative content- as if anyone would thoroughly enjoy the game enough to play it, though I suppose there are always a few people who manage to enjoy crappy games out there. Survival mode is mostly forgettable, though once you’ve accomplished the task of completing the campaign itself, survival is a walk in the park and not as buggy by comparison- though it is a direct clone of basically every survival mode out there and not unique at all.

The other team-based and objective-based modes are just as non-unique, though they can actually prove to be decently amusing at the least, if not actually fun at times. They are pretty much your standard fare of team deathmatch, capture the flag, and a few other content based modes that are direct copies of other ones as well. So don’t expect much in the way of creativity, or new maps, as those are mostly pulled directly from areas in the campaign itself as well, for added insult to injury.

“If they ever make a sequel, I will dual wield middle fingers to ward it off.”

Seeing as I doubt very many people play this game to begin with, especially with all the negative reviews of it on pretty much every site out there, it is hard to believe that anyone would really take the time to play a sub-standard multiplayer component anyway in such a forgettable title. Plus, the quality itself and the fact that nobody really has heard of the tittle all the way up until it’s release is a telling factor as well, I’d say. Deadfall Adventures had an honorable and thoughtful goal of mixing elements of shooters and puzzles together, but it totally falls flat and fails to be really fun or even remotely pleasing in most aspects. Some moments may pique your interest slightly, but the Medal of Honor games of old are much better done than this so-called ‘new” shooter. Don’t waste your money on it, bottom line. I’d even recommend the heavily-flawed Turning Point: Fall of Liberty over this game, as that one is six years old and about five dollars or so.

Concept: Copy Indiana Jones and fail, fail, fail.

Graphics: Though the environments are all pretty bland and cliched in their own right, the graphics aren’t really that bad at a distance. When you get up close however, objects are blurry and things look muddied as they run into one another as well.

Sound: The voice acting is pretty bad and forgettable, but the soundtrack is average and not too bad overall- reminding me more than once of better adventure games.

Playability: The gameplay is often marred by lag and framerate issues, and the controls don’t allow much in the way of actual control, which makes things harder than they should be and very inaccurate in the activation of items and the shooting or otherwise dispatching of foes.

Entertainment: Though I am almost positive nearly nobody recalls the Quartermain novels of old, and wouldn’t be caught dead playing this game even if they did, the adventure story doesn’t feel very adventurous or even remotely very much fun, and I too wouldn’t want to be associated with it.

Replay Value: Very Low.

Overall Score: 6.0

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