With all the big releases out at the moment there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Deadfall Adventures. The game is a first-person action-adventure from Polish development studio The Farm 51 (PainkillerHD) with Nordic Games handling the publishing.
Imagine a game made up of elements of Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider Call of Duty, Uncharted and Alan Wake and you’ll have an idea of what Deadfall Adventures is all about. Set in 1938, players take the role of protagonist James Lee Quatermain – the great-grandson of the legendary adventurer Allan Quatermain.
Quatermain is recruited by former colleague and US agent, Jennifer Goodwin. She needs help seeking out an ancient artefact known as the Heart of Atlantis. Predictably the Heart has been split into several parts and you’re also not the only one looking for it. An occult obsessed Nazi division called the Ahnenerbe are also after it too.
Your adventure begins in sunny Egypt but throughout the course of the game you also get to visit the icy Arctic and jungles of Guatemala. Graphically the environments of the game look rather nice and the character models are well done too. Sadly the animation and voice work are a bit rough and could have done with more time spent on them.
The mention of Alan Wake at the start of the review is because Quatermain carries a flashlight that can be used to weaken enemies such as mummies. The shooting parts of the game are clumsy and one of the weakest parts of the game. Just a few minutes in and you’ll be frustrated by the controls which are badly in need of tweaking. In particular turning is nauseating making movement tougher than it needed to be. Fortunately shooting isn’t the main focus of the game.
Instead large parts of the game are all about exploration and puzzle solving. Hidden around the largely linear levels are various treasures for you to discover. This is made easier by your trusty compass which is able to direct you towards these treasures. Strangely the game tends to prompt you when it’s time to take out your compass which spoils the fun somewhat.
The treasures that you find provide Quatermain with more than riches as they are able to enhance him. They fall into three ‘Paths’ which are Life, Light and Warrior. The Life treasures boost your stamina and health points, Light enhance your flashlight while Warrior improves your shooting skills. Players who like a tougher challenge can opt to ignore the treasures thus leaving themselves with base stats.
The puzzle elements are quite satisfying and can have you scratching your head while you solve them. One early puzzle requires the use of light and mirrors to activate a circle of statues. Shortly after this there’s a hidden image puzzle where you must rotate a seemingly random bunch of light beams to uncover a starmap.
Puzzles can be frustrating when a solution isn’t immediately obvious. To help you out Quatermain carries his great-grandfathers diary which conveniently is jam-packed with helpful sketches and hints on how to solve each puzzle. It’s just like the diary of Indiana Jones’s dad in The Last Crusade. Using it is entirely optional and at times it can be hard to understand what it is trying to tell you.
In addition to the singleplayer campaign Deadfall Adventures also features a selection of multiplayer options. The usual modes of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are present plus a Capture the Artefact mode. More interesting is a Treasure Hunt mode and a co-op based Survival mode. The biggest test for these modes will come once the game launches. As we’ve seen so many times in the past if the game doesn’t sell well then finding people to play against can be tough. It’s probably not an ideal time for the game to be launching with many of the big releases of the year just out – including Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Also next-gen Xbox and PlayStation are now upon us which will further reduce the visibility of the game.
We enjoyed Deadfall Adventures more than we were expecting to. It’s an ambitious game for The Farm 51 that provides a decent adventure but it is let down due to the size of its limited budget. Tighter controls, better combat and more choice would have really helped the title shine. If you’re not a massive shooter fan but love Indiana Jones and problem solving then it’s worth checking out.
Deadfall Adventures launches on November 15th for PC and Xbox 360.