The deeper problem becomes apparent as you continue on your journey. There is usually just one way to get out of a given room, and your course is often charted with tiny white arrows or glowing objects. A few out-of-the-way niches hide collectibles and the satisfaction of straying from the main path, but substantial detours are very rare. Linearity isn't inherently negative, but performing the same few moves to progress down a clearly marked path doesn't hold its appeal for long. Furthermore, the simple environmental puzzles consist only of the most basic actions, so figuring out and executing your next move is almost never a challenge. It's not long before you're just going through the same motions you've performed dozens of times before, and Deadlight starts to feel repetitive and flat.
Don't shoot until you see the vacant, vicious reds of their eyes.
When zombies get involved, the action gets a bit livelier. Avoiding them is your first and best tactic, so you learn to lure them into advantageous positions. Tempting zombies to gather below a ledge you are standing on lets you easily jump over them, and baiting the abominations into a pit or a trap is a great way to clear your path. These solutions are clearly telegraphed in many cases, however, so you rarely get the satisfaction of coming up with them on your own. Sometimes there is no other option but to simply be faster than them, which adds a welcome sense of urgency to your actions.
If you are beset, fighting can keep you alive and gain you some room to escape, providing you have a weapon handy. Randall can swing an axe as long as he has the stamina, but it can take most of your energy to knock down a zombie for the killing blow, so don't expect to chop your way through the shambling hordes. You also get firearms for part of the game (and the shooting animation is delightfully gory), but the ratio of available bullets to lurching zombies usually doesn't work in your favor. It's nice that Deadlight cultivates combat as a last resort, because it encourages you to think of other options.
Unfortunately, there are never many options in Deadlight, and it's usually obvious which one best fits your current scenario. In the three or so hours that it takes to complete the game, you feel less like you are trekking through a dangerous world, and more like you are acting out a script. Deadlight's engrossing visuals make it fun to play the part, but you'll wish you had more lines.
Interested in a few tips and hidden secrets? Check out our Ten Tweetable Tips for Deadlight and make the ruined Northwest a little more hospitable.