Dead Effect 2 is the sequel of fan favourite Dead Effect, which has received critical acclaim for pushing the boundaries of gaming within the realm of Android and mobile devices. Dead Effect 2, by Badfly Interactive, has also released a version for Microsoft Windows and MAC, it is currently available from the Steam store for £11.99.
Dead Effect 2 is a first person RPG shooter set within the depths of space. The main characters are Gunnar Davis and Jane Grey, of which you can play either during the story-mode The story begins in the year 2045 when you’re woken from cryostasis as part of a security protocol some 170 days into your original journey. You later learn that the crew on-board have been subject of a man-made virus which has both killed and reanimated them, zombies to you and I; the real sucker punch comes however when you learn that you’re also infected. I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, but needless to say, the storyline is actually very good, and should you remain loyal to the game, you’ll be rewarded with a fine conclusion.
The core structure of the game is level based be it progression through zones or developing your character through a level system. The option is there to return to previously completed zones where you can farm cash, experience and weaponry The game allows for both solo and co-op playing styles, which is encouraging for a title priced so reasonably. The zones can be tough, literally fighting for your life tough, which in turn allows for a real sense of accomplishment once you’ve dominated an area, or conversely, scraped through within an inch of your life. As you progress through the game and gather more experience, your overall level will increase which will allow for access to better weaponry and armour.
The greatest threat to your survival is the plethora of zombies and other devilish folk who wish for nothing more than to see you ripped limb from limb. The character design is awesome, there is a grit and brutality to how each enemy has been designed. The enemy has a range of abilities available to them, some will limp slowly in your general direction, others will sprints with a ferocious venom and purpose, shit your pants time when that happens! Others will attack at range and keep their distance. The interaction with your character is quite splendid too, should you nail that decisive head-shot, blood will hurtle into the air after dissecting a main artery with pinpoint precision, the thick red blood spraying onto the walls and surfaces around you, stupendously gory stuff that ought to satisfy the most bloodthirsty of gamer.
Aesthetically the game delivers an immersive experience, in order to have the greatest experience I would always encourage players to wear a headset and crank the volume to traumatically high levels, if you’re brave enough to play with the lights off then you’ll have an even better experience. The sound effects are beautiful, the music compliments the style of play extremely well and encourages the player to believe they are actually on a spaceship somewhere out deep in the cold universe, isolated and in danger. Never a good place.
Graphically the game is adequate, compared to modern titles of a similar ilk it doesn’t quite stand-up to scrutiny. Compare Dead Effect 2 with the likes of Farcry, Call of Duty and Battlefield, then it doesn’t have the same polish. Sure, it still looks good but some of the textures can bug-out on other surfaces, water doesn’t look as realistic as some, the excessive blood can glint and shine as if layered with a thin exterior of clear plastic. I’d compare the visuals with a title such as Killing Floor 2, although it still looks good, just seems to lack a certain je ne sais quoi, however, in defence of the game, I’m being hyper-critical with that respect.
Thankfully the controls are fully customisable, you can opt to use mouse and keyboard, or should your preference by game-pad then you have that ability too. All controls can be remapped at your own leisure. The movement within the game is good, although at times should you manoeuvre too close to a wall or junction point, it can feel as if you’re snagging on the environment. Correcting your movement can pull you from the immersive experience, which is a real let-down, although this is not a regular occurrence and should you take care; easier said than done when you’re being chased down be a horde of zombies, then you really shouldn’t encounter this issue. The movement is fairly slow-paced, depending on your build of course, so don’t expect to be jumping from ledges (there is no jumping in the game) or strafing around your foes, as you’ll be horribly punished, believe me. Dead Effect 2 requires the precision of a staggered and systematic approached, often the zones are claustrophobic and close which means you’ll do well to run past the on-coming entourage of undead.
Without question, the greatest accomplishment of the game is the character customisation and development. There are quite literally hundreds of permutations you can employ when designing the type of solider you wish to be. Armour, weaponry, special perks can all be developed and changed to suit your style of play. It doesn’t stop at simply buying a better item, but each item can then be customised further with a whole host of perks. If you spend time and effort, you can craft your ultimate solider. Such customisation encourages you to farm for money and items to sell within the zones, this type of mechanic presents a game that has a huge amount of re-playability, and is something that I particularly enjoyed.
Unfortunately though, Dead Effect 2 is not without its own irritations. For example, the voice acting of characters is some of the worst I have ever had the displeasure of listening to. The acting is static, boring, unbelievable and although initially it can be quite humorous, it quickly descends into annoyance. This is a real shame as the game excels in so many other areas. However, immersion should be of paramount importance to any game developer, and cutting corners with character believability is something that can sometimes make or break a game. Thankfully though, other areas of the game are so good that I found myself able to accept the terrible voice acting and continue with my enjoyment elsewhere.
The AI in the game is non-existent, don’t expect enemies to protect themselves by dodging behind line-of-sight, or trying to flank your position, this will never happen. What you’re presented with is simplistic and predictable. Should an enemy be aware of your presence, the they follow until they’re destroyed or clawing at your face. The only issue that will challenge your expertise is their power in numbers and the overall level of your equipment, nothing else. It’s disappointing that a more decisive intelligence system wasn’t incorporated into the game, as can be seen in a whole host of other titles out there.
The weapons in the game could have used some further development too, although the customisation is excellent, unfortunately the game lacks in credibility when firing your gun or slashing with your sword. It is rare to get a feeling of being overwhelmed by your choice of arsenal, it’s all a little blasé, predictable and lacking that unique touch. Shots connect with enemies and the visual effects of dismembered bodies is gory and satisfying, but the actual feel of impact and power is lacking in design. Although, again, being hyper-critical.
At no fault of the game developer, unfortunately Dead Effect 2 isn’t the most popular of titles out there, as such it is difficult if not impossible to get a random co-op game going. I’ve yet to join a game with a random player. Should you and your friends have the title then this shouldn’t be a problem, sadly though, for the solo player out there I fear it will be pot-luck to group with a random player over the internet.
With minor irritations aside, Dead Effect 2 has enough content and style to keep you entertained for hours and hours, way past the point of considering whether £11.99 is value for money or not. The amount of depth, game-play, achievements, customisation and challenge is more than enough for to satisfy the average player. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and zombie warfare, then you should consider the title. Throw in enough character customisation to make the most nerdy of World of Warcraft players wet their pants, then you’ve got a game that deserves recognition as a good quality title. Unfortunately though, Dead Effect 2 does have some imperfections that will limit the shelf-life in your collection, some of the design is uninspired and drab, this in-turn has a detrimental effect on the overall experience. There is a re-playability with the game, however, this may be limited by some of the irritations. The price tag does much to make this game appealing to the mass-market, certainly worth investing your time and deciding whether the imperfections out-weight the value for money or not.
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