By: Ted Chow
Deadfall Adventures: Heart of Atlantis is a FPS adventure game that emphasizes puzzle solving and storytelling. The game is set in the universe of the Allan Quatermain series, whose author is H. Rider Haggard, though if you are familiar with the Uncharted series you may get a similar vibe. However, the game suffers without a compelling story or characters that resonate and synergize well with each other.
The controls are similar to other FPS console games with the left analog stick to move and the R2 bumper to fire. Triangle is used to switch between weapons, R1 for grenades and square for reloading. L2 and L1 are used for zooming in and focusing your flashlight. Lastly, switching between essential items is left to the d-pad. As far as re-mapping goes, there is no available option in the settings.
While the graphics are passable in most areas of the game, it is rather apparent that the resolution on most textures is pretty low. Character models and animations seem stiff and the bloom effect on their faces is overbearing at times. Enemy variety is low and often shares the same faces whether they are Nazis or zombies. Lighting is inconsistent and doesn’t always complement the overall tone and setting well.
The soundtrack is reasonably good with the Indiana Jones adventure theme, but the voice acting is sub-par with the main cast excruciatingly bland and uninspired.
You play as the main character, James Lee Quatermain, who is your stereotypical gunslinger/treasure hunter that lacks any emotion, provides ill placed one-liners and is pretty one dimensional in every sense. You are hired by Jennifer Goodwin, an archeologist of sorts for the US Government, to help find the Heart of Atlantis, an object of supernatural powers. The setting takes place around WWII with much of the technology and events inspired by that era. The main antagonists are the Nazis, who are trying to hunt down sources of all mythical objects, and random zombies that protect the tombs you raid.
Most of the game’s locales are inspired by real world locations, and you will be continent hopping to try and find the Heart. Egyptian pyramids, arctic tundra and Mayan jungles are some of the areas that you will visit. The journey itself seems to be more of a goose chase as you trail the Nazis to secret bases in the most obscure places just to say that the game provides enough superficial gun fights for the player not to be bored. Throw in zombies and their many undead variants — I swear, zombies in a frozen submarine — and you have a game that provides even more senseless killing.
The puzzles that the game emphasizes are lackluster and do not provide much of a challenge. Most are limited to interacting with environmental objects or resorting to using some form of violence to achieve your goal. If you are in need of help then you can either use your clipboard with convenient hints or check an option in the game settings to help flash the solutions. This takes away from the innate challenge of the puzzles, but without them you may just feel stuck because of poor lighting or other design choices.
Combat is generic, and the weapons lack substantial weight and impact. With the given AI, both your allies and the enemies follow a repetitive chain of orders that don’t provide much of a challenge and can be downright stupid at times. Bosses tend to be bullet sponges with a lack of diverse stages in combat and can be extremely cheap with instant locks on your character.
Multiplayer fares slightly better than the story and comes in two flavors with basic team death match and survival mode. Each mode provides seven different maps inspired by the game’s locales. In the lobby you’re allowed to choose from pre-built classes or mix and match your weapons and create your own class.
Survival mode puts you onto a map where zombies come at you in waves. Supply drops and a vault of weapon caches becomes available in between rounds to restock and equip more powerful weapons. The overall goal is to survive as long as you can with your team.
Deadfall Adventures: Heart of Atlantis is dead on arrival and provides a sub-par experience in most of the game modes. Multiple game bugs, inept AI and forgettable characters don’t bode well for the series and leaves an overall bad impression. Multiplayer does give the game a bit more life, but compared to other FPS games out in the market, it’s only average at best.