All Bark And No Bite! – Light
Price tends to be a big factor for people when it comes to buying games. It isn’t a surprise really, people have a limited supply and want to know they are getting their money’s worth. However, a lot of the time this leads to a debate over whether or not length directly relates to the value of the game. On the whole, value for money depends on your experience with the game, not time spent with it. Sometimes however, like in the case of Light, you can be left wondering if it really was a good enough experience to justify the cost.
Light begins with you, a blue square, waking up in a strange facility, with no idea how you got there. You decide to figure out how you ended up there, and what purpose were you taken for. Seems simple, right? Well unfortunately, that turns out to be exactly the case. It is all too easy to run through the level, collect what you need, kill a few guards and get out in less than a minute. This poses a problem in a game built to promote the stealthy approach. Sure, you lose some points and get a lower score for killing the guards, but there’s no punishment for it. The points are just that, a score. You don’t unlock anything with a high score, there aren’t even any leaderboards. It all feels very easy to complete, and once you’ve completed it there’s no incentive to return.
Perhaps you’re thinking “Well, not every game needs to have replayability”, and we agree there. Spec Ops: The Line for example is a game that only has the developer’s desired effect when you go in blind, afterwards it’s just another shooter. The problem with Light is that it doesn’t have that substance. Most games we’ve only played once through last at least 4 hours, and give you a good amount of enjoyment, but Light, with only 12 levels, took less than an hour to complete, and we’ve actually played through the game twice in both styles, with only an hour on register. This doesn’t give it the substance to justify the £10 being asked for it.
It isn’t all bad though. Light is relatively entertaining. The hacking mechanic is very reminiscent of Gunpoint, as you have to hack terminals before you can access certain areas, or deactivate cameras. Disguising yourself as a guard to reduce your chance of detection is also a nice feature, especially if you want to push a pacifist run. Sadly, many of the game’s ideas are far too simple to offer any lasting entertainment.. The hacking, while interesting, could have been expanded on. You hack a terminal and then flip all of the switches, unlike Gunpoint, in which you need to use what you can access to make the level easier to complete. There is no reason to “un-hack” anything, as the only thing it will do is delay level progress, thus giving you a lower score.
Another big gameplay issue was the “punishment” for killing. When you kill a guard, even if nobody was around to witness it, the police are called, and they arrive after 2 minutes, making the level much harder. The only issue is, the only reason we know that happens is because we waited around at the exit to the level to see. The levels can be completed so quickly that you can finish the game without ever seeing the red squares bursting into the building and clearing rooms. This compounds our beliefe that the game is way too easy and short.
Light had the potential to be a great stealth game, and to a certain extent, all the elements were there to make it so. However, it feels more like Just A Pixel polished up a demo of the game, and then sold it for the same price as games such as Monaco, or Payday: The Heist – both games that are much more substantial. Unless it is in a Steam Sale we would not recommend picking Light up.