Zombies. Dusk. Guns. A lot of guns. These are some of the coveted things I hold dear to my heart, but in the case of 2013: Infected Wars for PS Vita, my heart skipped a beat right over this one. Originally released on mobile, the transition to the Vita leaves much to be desired for this bland undead shoot fest. It’s hard not to feel that somewhere deep at the core of this game, there could have been a gem, but instead it was left to fend off this dreary zombie horde all on its own.
Developed by Action Mobile Games, 2013: Infected Wars is a post apocalyptic tale about a virus constructed by terrorists that was unleashed and set to wipe out all enemy countries around the world. Now small groups of survivors and mercenaries are trying to outlast the devastation. You play as a nameless mercenary trying to aid these groups and obtain precious supplies to outlive this now nightmarish planet. There is no point in this game where this story contains any substance or depth. 2013: Infected Wars is as mindless as a game can get.
The campaign is broken up into 8 chapters each following the same cookie-cutter formula. You must maneuver your character at a painfully slow pace to each highlighted checkpoint, clearing the way by shooting what feels like the same 4 character model zombies until you reach it. Now just rinse and repeat. A gun buying system greets you before every mission, allowing you to obtain new weaponry using currency earned from in-game feats. The controls are not terrible and feel pretty good for the dual stick hand-held. Although, I did encounter some spotty touch controls while trying to select different weapons in the inventory screen. Overall, control wise it gets the job done pretty comfortably, but a sprint option would have been a well implemented feature to combat the slow monotonous gallop that your character moves with throughout the entirety of the campaign.
Visual competence is pretty much the only redeeming quality for 2013: Infected Wars. Sharp and crisp textures really stand out on the portable’s small OLED screen. The lighting and color palette really help sell the dark, undead horror tone that the title really hopes to portray. The third person camera view also gives a very cool PS2 Resident Evil type feel that was very welcoming for a horror fan such as myself. At points, the high res visuals do come with a price. Many encounters with larger groups of zombies led the game to slow down and drop frame rate to single digits per second. It led to frustrating situations when trying to evade and survive the mob of oncoming dead.
With the type of story 2013: Infected Wars intends to deliver, you would think a rich soundtrack would be key to help intensify the atmosphere. Sadly, this is not the case here. To be quite honest, sound design here sounds kind of cheap. A muffled, static voice is radioed in to you from the mercenary’s headquarters throughout your missions, sounding very similar to if one were to speak into a shoe box. The weapon reloading and gun shot audio fall flat and environmental sounds are extremely drab and unremarkable. Oddly enough the song played while in the settings menu is quite eerie and catches the vibe well, making me wish they offered more of that for the actual gameplay experience.
Solid graphics and adequate controls are not enough to outweigh this shooter’s shortcomings. With a more well devised plot and gameplay mechanics, this could have been a great addition the the lacking Vita family. Unfortunately, 2013: Infected Wars is another zombie shooter that wears out its welcome all too quick.
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