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Game Info:

Dead Effect
Developed By: BadFly Interactive
Published By: BadFly Interactive
Released: December 17, 2014 Available On: iOS, Android, Windows (tested via Steam), Mac, Linux
Genre: First Person Shooter
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single Player
Price: $4.99 (Steam) and Amazon (Affiliate Link)

Thank you BadFly Interactive for sending us this game to review!

The year is 2045. You're part of an elite security team known as "Unit 13." Suddenly you are awakened after 178 days in hibernation onboard what is believed to be a spaceship headed to colonize a distant planet. Subsequently, you realize the entire crew is infected by a virus that has turned them into zombies. To investigate the mystery behind the deadly virus as well as to prevent the ship from returning to Earth, you must now engage in a battle against the undead. Brace yourself for lies, deception, and a whole lot of gore in an effort to uncover the deadly truth in this sci-fi zombie adventure. 

Dead Effect is a first-person sci-fi shooter set in outer space. While it does not offer anything new to the genre and borrows features from other games, Dead Effect undoubtedly gets a lot of things right. This is an action packed game from the beginning and the story is told via verbal dialogue. Tablets are scattered throughout the game, which provide further details to the story. There are 12 missions that range from 10 to 30 minutes each. You have a choice between 2 characters, Gunnar Davis the War Hero and Jane Grey the Assassin. The only difference between them, however, is the starting weapons. The suit worn by the character equips two special abilities: Bullet Time and Devastation. Bullet Time primarily slows the environment down allowing for precise shooting. Devastation is an AoE skill that damages those in close proximity. About half-way through the story, your character is provided opportunities for enhancement at "augmentation terminals." These can provide more health, longer Bullet Time effect, increased speed, etc. 

The tutorial, which acts as the first mission, provides the necessary instructions to play. Anyone familiar with first person shooters will learn the skills and interface rather quickly. The first mission certainly sets the stage for the entire game. The spacecraft is highly detailed displaying various areas of damage. The lighting reflects this as well. There are broken gas lines as well as the green airborne virus flowing through the vents. Damage to the spacecraft also offers a dark aesthetic setting. Often times a flashlight is needed to navigate. There are dead bodies and blood splattered across the floor. This is a natural occurrence throughout the missions. There are few zombie types with a couple mini-bosses reminiscent of other games such as Resident Evil 5. The zombies are rendered in great detail as well. In some missions, hacking into terminals is required in order to complete an objective. This feature is clearly reminiscent of Mass Effect 2. 

Dead Effect
Highlights:

Strong Points: High replay value, weapon variety, fast-loading times, 3 game modes, 3 difficult settings, 2 special abilities, ability to upgrade character, highly detailed, impressive special effects, intriguing story
Weak Points: No compass or map, heavy on gore, limited controller support, no multiplayer, visually dark environment
Moral Warnings: Swearing, violent, very gory, graphic dismemberment to limbs, human/zombie experimentation

The dark aesthetics, music and sound effects present an eerie feel to Dead Effect. Screams of pain can often be heard in the distance. When zombies are close, a slow methodic sound emanates from them. The music is loud and a change to the tempo is abrupt at times. This caused a great deal of suspense and tension while I was playing. In order to open lockers, the space bar needs to be repeatedly tapped. This leaves you in a vulnerable position. Often times, I turned around very quickly in anticipation of a zombie attack. 

Typical with many zombie games, the weapons are a major component. Each character has a slot for a main weapon such as an assault rifle or shotgun and a secondary weapon, which is usually a pistol. There is also a stun gun and grenades with each having dedicated slots. Thus at any given time, there are 4 weapons to choose from. Excluding the stun gun and grenades, there are a total of 13 weapons in the game. The weapons can be upgraded up to five ranks. These include more damage, larger magazine, reload time, accuracy and in some cases, piercing. 

The in-game currency is credits. These can be found throughout the game as well as a reward for completing special game missions. Killing zombies in certain spots such as the chest or the head will drop gold bars. Credits are used to purchase and upgrade equipment while gold bars allow for special weapons such as the minigun.

It was only upon death early on in the third mission that I understood the game's high replay value. There are no checkpoints. Credits are used in order to continue a mission upon death. Realizing I wasn't properly equipped for the third mission, I returned to the second to earn more credits to purchase a better weapon. Higher quality weapons are expensive but can be unlocked during gameplay via the two extra game modes. Not only do the gold bars allow the opportunity to purchase special weapons, but earning enough will also provide your suit an auto heal ability, which is vital to survive.

Navigating through the spacecraft proved difficult. As previously stated, due to the limited lighting it is difficult to see in many areas. There is no map or compass to aid as a guide. There is however, the "Objective Helper," which is the [H] on the keyboard. This will point you in the right direction to complete an objective. Unfortunately it doesn't always work. If an objective is completed, it won't always show the next one. Further, you can get turned around fairly quickly when engaging zombies. Trying to find your way in this frightening environment without a guide can grow wearisome.

Dead Effect
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 94%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 65%
Violence - 1/10
Language - 3/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

As with most zombie games, a well placed headshot yields an instant kill. Heads explode with blood on the screen if close by. Aiming at a certain body part, such as the arm or leg, will dismember the limb. As a result, body parts and blood get splattered across the floor frequently. Not only do the crossbow and grenades cause a huge explosion disintegrating zombies upon impact, they display excellent special effects as well. The Devastation skill is by far the most graphic. Zombies will fall to pieces into a mess of flesh. Fortunately, the bodies and blood do not remain on the floor as they disappear via a glowing effect. 

As previously discussed, the replay value for Dead Effect is very high. There are weapons to unlock via credits and gold bars. Once a mission is completed in campaign mode, it can be replayed. There is a completion page at the end of each mission. This displays various stats including the time to complete the mission, headshots, tablets and secret orbs found, etc. There are two special game modes. Biohazard consists of seven missions each located in a different area of the spacecraft. It involves surviving waves of zombies. It can be set by duration and difficulty. Survival includes six missions that require battling zombies for a set amount of time. Completing campaign mode enables "New Game Plus," which involves restarting the campaign on a higher difficulty setting but retaining previous equipment.  Dead Effect has 61 achievements. Many include finishing a mission on any difficulty or killing "x" amount of zombies. 

I completed the game with Jane Grey the Assassin. She swore only once. A sexual reference about her is found in one of the tablets early on. This was a surprise as there are no other occurrences in the game. I played several missions with Gunnar Davis. The amount of swearing greatly increases during gameplay. While I do not intend to spoil the story, there were several areas that involved experimentation on humans that eventually turned into zombies. Despite the fact that I found the story interesting, much of it involves deceit. 

While I was playing Dead Effect, I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, this game would be great to play in co-op mode with a friend." Unfortunately, one of the caveats of the game is there is no multiplayer. Another is the limited controller support. Controller mapping is available and most keys are automatic. However, I was unable to map all the keys to my Xbox 360 controller.

It had been a while since I played a zombie shooter. Although the game was free for review purposes, its $4.99 price for consumers is a surprise given the low cost and large amount of content. The price is well worth it especially since no more money needs to be spent. Out of curiosity, I looked at the game on iTunes and was taken aback at the cost to buy credits and gold bars. With all the features, including two special abilities, the ability to upgrade your character as well as weapons, and high attention to detail, it's a fantastic game to play. The replay value and various game modes kept me coming back for more. I do caution on the violence, gore, and sound effects, however. It is not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless you may want to play the game with the lights on in the room. 

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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