Developer: inDev Brain (Mobile version), BadFly Interactive (PC Version)
Release Date: September 12th, 2013
Available On: Mobile, PC
Reviewer’s note: I played the PC version of this game. There may be differences between versions.
Dead Effect: even its name sounds like it just mashed together Dead Space and Mass Effect. The best way to describe the game is as if someone made an FPS trying to be as unoriginal as possible. Featuring zombies on a space ship, a crazy German doctor, and space marines, Dead Effect may be one of the laziest and worst first person shooters I’ve played in a while.
The only real notable thing about Dead Effect’s story is how stupid it is. You play as one of two characters, either space marine Gunnar Davis or space assassin Jane Gray, as they wake up from cryosleep on a space ship to find everyone dead and zombies just wandering around. Lucky for them they are contacted by Dr. Wagner and told what’s going on and given some basic instructions. From the game’s terrible voice acting, to the boring story, the laughable writing, the predictable plot twist, and the whiplash inducing sudden ending, just everything about Dead Effect’s story feels tacked on and awful. If you want some hilarity play as Jane Gray. While all of her voice work is done by a woman, they still keep the same “I’m hurt” grunting sounds from the guy. Along with the same “out of breath” sound when you sprint too long. It just goes to show how little effort was put into this game.
Dead Effect follows most of the basic FPS norms: left stick move, right stick aim, right trigger fire. You’ll have a stun gun as a melee weapon (though I don’t think the developers know what a stun gun is as it causes enemies’ heads to explode) and can equip a secondary weapon, a primary weapon, and a grenade. At the start your character has some weird magic-like ability that allows him to blow up any nearby enemies which was useful for getting out of a jam, though I never really understood where on Earth this ability came from. About a third of the way through the game (which is about 4 – 5 hours long depending on how much exploring you do) you get injected with a vaccine to stop the zombie virus which has the “side effect” of slowing down time (wut?), and you can start doing so when you need it. You’ll collect money to buy upgrades, and half way through the game they also introduce a “suit upgrade” chamber that lets you apply upgrades to your suit for some passive buffs. It’s all done okay, but it’s nothing other games haven’t done better.
Using all of this you’ll fight zombies and… well, more zombies. There’s a grand total of about 7 enemy types in the game. One is the basic zombie, another is “zombie, but crawling on the ground”, a third is “zombie but bigger and stronger”, and a fourth is “demon that acts so much like a zombie that I’m not sure what the point is.” Of what’s left the only notable one is the grenade zombie, and it’s not notable for any good reason. Long story short: this zombie throws grenades over long distances with really good accuracy and if you get hit by one you die instantly. Yay. It feels like a pretty blatant difficulty spike for no real reason and the best defense you have is hoping you spot it before it spots you and quickly using slow-mo to take it out. There’s a single boss fight a third of the way into the game that includes some awkwardly done quick time events (that never show up ever again), and also a hacking minigame that just has you matching shapes.
Dead Effect also includes an arena survival mode after you finish the game, but the combat and enemy variety isn’t really fun enough for it to be worth playing. There’s no multiplayer of any kind so once you finish the game’s story (if you even bother to do so) you’re basically done with it. One thing that stood out to me is how parts of Dead Effect honestly felt like they weren’t finished yet. While I used the controller to play the game, I could only use the controller to actually play the game itself. Any attempt to go into a menu required me to switch to the mouse. Pick up a PDA? Back to the mouse. I also can’t help but notice the obvious “virtual buttons” that haven’t been removed from the mobile version. I hope you don’t mind playing with a “pause” button in the left corner of the screen at all times. Or the super obvious “sprint” button taking up the left side.
Dead Effect is a disaster. It has a nonsense story, boring “by-the-numbers” gameplay, a lack of enemy variety, and just doesn’t feel like it was ready for release yet. Despite its cheap asking price, it’s a game I have trouble recommending for anyone.