Dead Effect – What We Think
Developed by Badfly Interactive, a.s., Dead Effect is a first-person zombie shooter best fit for the casual player who wants to enjoy a game without devoting too much time or effort to it. While the formula might have worked for its mobile platform, Dead Effect’s PC port lacks the originality to stand apart from similar games that are already on the platform.
Melting Pot of Game Clichés
Those looking for an engaging story may need to look elsewhere. You’ve suddenly woken up from a cryogenic sleep on board a spaceship, only to find that everyone is either dead or reanimated into zombies. Your only friend is the disembodied voice communicating to you through consoles, telling you where to go next.
Sound familiar? It sounds like an amalgam of different games that have an established storyline to me, and that’s what the story feels like–a lackluster version of Deadspace with a pinch of Bioshock thrown in. There are recordings scattered throughout the levels that are there for the sole purpose of helping you understand what’s happened, but I found each little tidbit of information so dull that after the first few I read, I began to ignore them entirely.
The Big Chill
I admit that I don’t play many first-person shooters or scary games in general, so the very first scene in the cryogenic chambers made my heart quicken a bit. Just imagine being trapped in a glass chamber, busting it open with bleeding knuckles, only to discover that all of the other chambers around you were filled with the disfigured abominations we’ll come to call zombies. The creep-factor was pretty cool.
From there on, the ship’s layout was bland and lacking originality; every room looked almost exactly the same, forcing me to fall back and retrace my steps because I’d get lost so easily. No area really stood out. They all contained somber colors, the occasional obstacle, a few computer terminals, and zombies. Thank goodness for a variety of guns.
Undead Fish in a Barrel
Switching between guns is relatively painless, and I like that the money you collect throughout each mission goes towards upgrading them even further. I could increase the damage of my weapons, speed up reloading, and even buy new weapons if I had the cash for it. It didn’t feel all that satisfying once a weapon was upgraded, though.
While they look fantastic, the zombies were little more than slowly plodding fodder for my weapons; there might be a few zombies that would require multiple shots to be taken down, but most were one-hit kills. It wasn’t long before I realized that the goal of the game was not to survive the zombie-infested ship by finding a way out, but rather to kill every single annoying zombie if I expected to progress any further.
And there are a a ton of zombies. I decided to amuse myself with an experiment and count just how many zombies I had to plow through on the 2nd mission. Give or take a few missed zombies while I was gunning them down, I counted approximately 104 regular zombies and 1 large zombie with a chainsaw. It’s not so much the sheer amount of zombies that wrecks the game for me, but moreso the fact that they don’t feel threatening in the least.
The majority trudged across the room slowly. A few moved somewhat faster and crawled along the floor. The yellow HAZMAT-suited zombie took a couple of shots to kill. I basically had to rinse and repeat these three variations of zombie in nearly every single room I entered.
The enemies’ AI also comes into question. Let’s go back to Mission 2 once again: A little ways through, you’ll activate a lift that will take you down into a level where 4 waves of zombies wait for you to enter their respective rooms.
Did I mention these zombies were slow? They’ll follow you until you kill them, so I decided to lead them to the lift. I watched as the entire wave decided to wander onto the elevator platform, unable to do anything but be blasted by the grenade I threw in passing. I used this ‘tactic’ for every single wave, including the boss, taking away any and all skill I could have needed to complete the mission.
Your Average Zombie Game
With all of this being said, I can’t call Dead Effect a bad game. The mobile version was very successful and the series in itself is popular enough to warrant a sequel, which is currently in the works. There are qualities about the game that work perfectly for a mobile platform: It’s easy to learn the controls and jump right into the game, the graphics are decent, and the missions are simple (if not a bit lengthy). I just don’t see it working nearly as well in the PC port, where I find myself disappointed with the lack of innovation and the plow-through-zombies-to-proceed gameplay that gets dull way too fast to enjoy the rest of the game.
Watch the trailer for Dead Effect below: