Lost in translation
Fierce and challenging; I can’t think of a better way to define DeadCore, an action platforming puzzle game reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge and, to some extent, Portal that was first released on PC in 2013 garnering some great reviews from critics and praise from players. Four years later the game arrives on PlayStation 4 but this console port isn’t free from a few issues.
The objective in DeadCore sure sounds simple on paper, ascend a massive tower as fast as possible. The problem is that in this seemingly post-apocalyptic world of floating platforms there aren’t a whole lot of elevators or flights of stairs. In reality, we’re dealing with a 3D first person hardcore platformer where the smallest nudge of the analog can be the difference between over or under jumping a small platform that leads to a jumper that’ll force you to dodge several lasers while in mid-air. The level design really is the biggest highlight of DeadCore, I love how open ended each stage felt with a number of secret collectibles, abilities and secret paths sprinkled in.
One of the main items in the game is the Switch Gun, a strange weapon that can enable or disable certain contraptions and enemies at any given time, though the ammo is rather limited which makes for some challenging puzzles later in the game. Unfortunately, the aiming feels unnatural with a regular controller, having an aiming assist would go a long way to alleviate some of this frustration.
Despite this issue the moment to moment gameplay still feels tight and responsive, it might take a while to get used to the game’s physics but once you do jumping around from platform to platform will feel like second nature, if you fail it’s most likely your fault and not the games fault. With that said, the game isn’t a cake walk by any means.
The sci-fi’esque futuristic design fits in with the thematic of the game perfectly, the same can be said about the sound design, but unfortunately, it quickly starts to grow tiring looking at the exact same platforms with little to no change between each of the stages of the main campaign. Another problem specific to the PlayStation 4 version has to do with the lack of V-sync, I understand that the developers had to make some compromises to have the game run as smooth as possible on consoles but this really brings down the presentation of the game as a whole.
The game feels like it was built with speed runners in mind as the game is rather short (heavily dependent on your skill level) but has some incentives to beat the main game as fast as possible, as well as having some extra challenges that are pretty much time trials.
DeadCore is at its core a tremendous, if a little forgettable, action-platformer that unfortunately gets dragged down by the limitations of the PlayStation 4 hardware. Regardless, the level design is great and there’s a decent challenge to be had with DeadCore, as long as you’re able to overlook some of its flaws.
SGR SCORE: 7/10