Waking up from cryostasis, you find yourself aboard the ESS Meridian. You are a soldier, a weapon, without fear or restraint. A virus has turned the crew into mindless Zombies, and a clean-up team has been sent to exterminate them, even you. You must uncover the secrets that lie within the ESS Meridian but most of all survive as you too have been infected.
Developed by Badfly Interactive, Dead Effect 2 is the sequel to the fan favourite Dead Effect and comes in the form of a class based FPS shooter. After initially being released on mobile in October 2015, the development team then moved on to a PC version that was released in May 2016, before finally focusing their attention on the Console market. So does it deliver on expectation or is it destined to float in the desolate void of space forever?
On starting the game you are given a choice of three characters, Gunnar Davis, who is your typical gung-ho soldier who specialises in Heavy Weapons, Jane Frey, a veteran who likes to get up close and personal just to put a shotgun in your face and Kay Rayner, expert with the sword and small kitchen utensils (ok I added that bit). Never less each character brings its own style of play to the game in the form of unique voices and one liners to various attributes that can be tweaked to enhance your chosen characters abilities. Now each character offers a suggested varying degree of difficulty with Gunnar Davis being the easier to play and Kay being the harder. Once your character is chosen you are thrust into the Dead Effect 2 story.
A short cut-scene gives you a little bit of an idea as to what you are and what’s going on before you find yourself waking up from Cryostasis. Once awake you hear a woman’s voice talking to you explaining it’s all gone a bit horribly wrong and that a man made virus has turned nearly all the crew into zombies. Just to make things worse you are infected too and slowly dying. Definitely a bad start to the day. From here, the voice guides you through the initial part of the game explaining how to interact with doors, fire weapons and other things whilst guiding you to safety. This was a nice way to get a feel for the game with a tutorial, whilst also facing immediate danger of the infected ship and rogue security protocols. After a few minutes of zombie shooting, door interacting and locker breaking you’re soon face to face with Danette, another survivor who leads you to a safe part of the ship which will become your base of operations. On meeting Danette I could not help notice that she too was suffering the effects of Cryostasis and was still feeling the cold, and whilst my chosen character Gunnar Davis tried to chat her up and get a kiss from her. I could see Badfly’s fun and humour trying to sneak into the game.
Once in the safety of your base of operations Danette sends you on a couple of missions into the ESS Meridian to locate other living members to assist you. The first is a character called Minikin, an engineer who can’t talk very well but is a whiz with gadgets and weapons. There’s also a doctor, Dr Bielik, who will provide you with enhancements and upgrades which is a bit Deus Ex in style. Once these have both been rescued and are safely back at base, you then have your core time to assist you whilst you progress further into the game uncovering the dark secrets as to what has happened.
The missions in Dead Effect 2 come in several different flavours, from main story to side missions and survival, and you won’t find yourself trawling hours over them as they can be completed quite quickly. Saying this it doesn’t remove the fun from them and your find yourself constantly up to your neck in zombies and security personnel with one thing on their minds, to kill you. Add to this the extra nooks and crannies that you find scattered throughout the levels that hold hidden surprises and secrets, I think there is enough to keep the casual or serious gamer interested.
The gameplay, graphics and AI are good, yes it has a few glitches here and there but bear in mind that Badfly Interactive is only a small indie development team whose purpose was to make a good first person shooter that was fun to play, unlike other larger development houses that in my mind still turn out some utter rubbish time to time even though they have the people and budgets. The graphics are good with some great use of lighting in places, but also mixes in my mind a style from the handheld devices with the large pickup icons, but this I feel adds to the style of the game. The blood, and yes there is a lot of it also brings a slightly chaotic experience to combat and the original music score really wraps it’s nicely to add suspense and sensory awareness to areas and situations that you enter into. Controls are not over complicated and this means it’s a game you can pick up and play straight off the bat without having to spend 30 minutes going through training tutorials, which in my mind is a great thing.
Overall Dead Effect 2 isn’t going to wow everyone but it is a really solid and fun FPS. Offering over 20 levels via the storyline, dozens of special missions, Boss fights, and the ability to upgrade your characters with over 30+ special abilities, 40+ weapon upgrades and 300+ collectible gear items and body implants This game really does offer a level of depth and customisation that I wasn’t expecting. Also with the ability to play through the story again with different characters that have different styles of combat and tactics also adds to the replay-ability of the game. To me this game just keeps giving and at a price of under £10 I think this game’s a steal. If you are looking for a good, fun, easy to pick up FPS that has the surprising depth to it but won’t break the bank, then look no further than Dead Effect 2.