Deadfall Adventures Review
Let’s go find some treasure.
In 1885, Sir H. Rider Haggard wrote a book called King Solomon’s Mines and introduced the world to the legendary adventurer Allan Quatermain. Fast Forward to 2013, and Polish developers, The Farm 51, have created a new First-Person Shooter called Deadfall Adventures, which stars his great-grandson, James Lee Quatermain. Creating a new story in an already established universe is never easy, and it’s even tougher when you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the crowded First-Person Shooter genre. Let’s take a look at Deadfall Adventures and see how they did.
Set in the year 1938, Deadfall Adventures puts you in the shoes of James Lee Quatermain, an adventurer for hire that uses his family name to keep his pockets lined with gold. Having a famous family name is tough for Quatermain though, since a lot people don’t believe the supernatural stories that his great-grandfather once wrote about. One person who does believe them is US Agent Jennifer Goodwin, and she wants Quatermain to help her find a powerful ancient artifact before it falls into the hands of the Nazis. Reluctant at first, Quatermain agrees to help, and soon finds out that there is more to his great-grandfather’s stories than he could have ever imagined. The story is interesting enough, but the dialogue can get cheesy at times, and the characters could have used more personality. The voice actor for James Lee can be a little dull at times and definitely doesn’t have the same kind of charm or wit that Nolan North had when he brought Uncharted’s Nathan Drake to life. It’s said that Allan Quatermain was the inspiration for Indiana Jones, and James Lee is a poor man’s Rick O’Connell at best, so this is one area that The Farm 51 should have focused on more.
Character issues aside, Deadfall Adventures is a decent First-Person Shooter, but it’s not quite on par with the top shooters out there. It features a pretty standard arsenal of weapons, including Shotguns, SMG’s, Sniper Rifles, Rocket Launchers, Pistols, Grenades, and your trusty Knife for melee kills. One thing that sets Deadfall apart from the competition is that you’ll be fighting Mummies as well as the Nazi forces, and you have to use your flashlight to burn them before you can kill them. You can unload an entire clip into them, but if you don’t burn them first, they’ll just keep coming at you. We’ve already seen a similar flashlight system in Alan Wake, so it’s not a ground-breaking new mechanic, but it works well and adds another layer of difficulty to the game. Deadfall Adventures is definitely a First-Person Shooter first, but it’s also a game about exploring, solving puzzles, and treasure hunting.
As you explore each level, you’ll find secret areas with puzzles to solve, and treasure waiting at the end. Most of the puzzles require you to either shoot something, or flip switches in the proper order, but that doesn’t mean they are all easy to solve. I was stumped on a few of them, but fortunately your great-grandfather left you his old notebook that has clues to help solve them. You can also pull out your compass to help show you which way to go, and it will point you in the direction of hidden treasure if you get close enough. Once you’ve collected enough treasure, you can use it to learn new skills, which will increase your health, reload time, fire rate, flashlight recharge time, and more. I actually like this system, because instead of just finding useless treasure, it gives you extra motivation to explore. If you want to learn a new skill, you’ll have to take the time to look around and solve every puzzle you can find.
For the most part, Deadfall Adventures works great, technically speaking, but there are a few issues to be aware of. The biggest issue is the AI, both your companions and the enemies that you’ll face. The undead enemies usually work as expected, but the human ones aren’t the smartest bunch you’ll ever meet. They’ll hide behind crates and let you walk right up to them and put a bullet in their head without ever moving, they’ll throw grenades nowhere near you, and your companions will get your way every chance they get. Enemy hit boxes are also a problem, because you can shoot a few feet from an enemy and the game will still react as if you hit them. I also found the controls to be a little stiff, whether I was using an Xbox 360 controller, or the keyboard and mouse. Your weapons just don’t move in a nice smooth way like you would expect from a game in the year 2013. The game also crashed on me a few times, but it’s hard to tell whether it was the game’s fault, or something else on my PC, so I can’t put all of the blame on the game.
Overall, the single player campaign is a decent adventure, and if The Farm 51 fixed a few of the technical issues, it would be even better. Once you’re done with the campaign, there are no other single player modes to play, but that doesn’t mean that your adventure is over.
The campaign may be a solo adventure, but Deadfall Adventures includes a four player survival mode, so at least there’s something to play with your friends. The five included maps are full of environmental traps that you can shoot to kill enemies, and they are extremely useful when you are being chased by a group of them. As you fight through the increasingly difficult waves of enemies, you’ll have to find ammo stockpiles before they disappear, choose new guns in the vault before it closes, and make use of the special weapons that you’re rewarded with between rounds. Just like in the campaign, you’ll have to use your flashlight to burn enemies before you can kill them, and this makes things that much harder in survival, especially in the later rounds. It’s fun for a bit, and the traps and flashlight help mix things up, but unless you’re a survival mode fiend, you’ll probably move on to something else after a few hours.
Deadfall Adventures also features a full multiplayer suite, with modes like Team Deathmatch, Capture the Artifact, Treasure Hunt, and more. There’s a pretty basic progression system where you unlock new weapons and equipment as you level up, and you earn in-game rewards for kill streaks, but the problem is that no one seems to be playing it. The game has been out in the public for two days now and I’ve still only been able to join a handful of games. Most of the time the public server browser is empty, and trying to find a quick game, whether ranked or unranked, doesn’t find any players. This is the tough part about the review, because I had a good time during the few games I was able to play, but with no community behind it, Deadfall Adventures is just an online ghost town.
Deadfall Adventures is an average shooter that is destined to end up in the bargain bins at your local video game store. The single player campaign is decent, and could be a lot better with a few patches to fix some of the technical issues, but the multiplayer lobby is a lonely place where no one wants to go. The co-op mode is fun for a bit, but good luck convincing your friends that it’s worth the $40 price tag. If I was you, I would wait for the Xbox 360 version to show up the bargain bins, and for the PC version to be featured in one of the upcoming Steam sales. You’ll appreciate it more when you didn’t have to pay a whole lot for it.