Dead Effect
Gameplay 6
Graphics 6
Sound 5

Dead Effect is a first person shooter where you play as yet another space marine who has to clear out a zombie infestation on board a spaceship. Shooting zombies is quite satisfying, but the levels feel cramped and generic while the story is laughably cliched. The game does offer a ton of content for a very small price, but with so many better games available, it is hard to recommend this one.

Gameplay: Entertaining in parts, but overall a little lacking.

Graphics: Not bad for a game that started out on mobile, but definitely not cutting edge.

Sound: The voice acting is bad and the music unremarkable, but the sound effects are surprisingly good

Summary 5.7 Above Average
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Dead Effect

Developer: BadFly Interactive, a.s. | Publisher: BadFly Interactive, a.s. | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / First Person Shooter / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Dead Effect opens with your character waking up from cryogenic sleep aboard the ESS Meridian, a starship that is supposed to be heading towards Tau Ceti f. Unfortunately, it seems that things have gone horribly wrong and the entire crew of the ship is now either dead or zombies. What was to be a mission to colonize the first planet in the history of mankind is now a desperate fight to prevent the infected ship from turning around and heading back to Earth. Fortunately, you are a member of Unit 13, which means that your character is handy with a gun and itching to use it on the zombies.

To be honest, the plot for Dead Effect is about as generic as you can get, which is appropriate as the game itself is pretty generic. Even without the baggage of being a port of a mobile title, Dead Effect is also a first person shooter, which is a genre that certainly is underrepresented on the PC. In all fairness, the story does try to incorporate a few twists towards the end, but with only 12 missions, it doesn’t have a lot to work with. Still, being a heavily armed space marine on a ship full of the undead did have the potential to be fun, but sadly everything that Dead Effect has to offer has not only been done before, but done better.

Dead Effect gives players a choice between two characters, Gunnar Davis and Jane Gray, but apart from their starting weapons, there’s not much to distinguish the two. No matter who you pick, the story remains the same, with only the character voices and lines they deliver changing. According to the developers this version of the game has more rooms to explore compared to the mobile release, but seeing as the whole ship is just a series of narrow corridors and dimly lit rooms, this doesn’t help much. The levels are all also very small and uninspired, which makes the whole experience surprisingly mundane for a shooter. There are a number of the undead who are out to make your trek across the ship a short one, but most of them can be dealt with easily enough. It is only later in the game when the grenade tossing zombies showed up that we felt any sense of danger, and even then it only made the game annoying instead of tense. This is because the grenades can kill you in one hit and the zombies have a tendency to toss them at you from within a crowd before you spot them. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that Dead Effect has no manual saves or even quicksaves. Instead, if you die you either have to pay up some cash to return to the fight, or restart the level from scratch if you are too broke to do so.

The money can be picked up while exploring or earned while playing, but since it is also used for upgrading your weapons, it is more than a little annoying having to part with it due to the grenade zombies ambushing you in a narrow corridor. If you do get hurt, the only way to recover health is to make your way to one of the medical stations that are scattered around. Late in the game you’ll also begin encountering upgrade stations where you can make improvements to your armor.

Levels are generally quite short and there are only twelve of them, which means that the story can be completed in just a few hours. If you want to pad out the experience a bit more you can also take the time to search for all the diaries left behind by the crew or to hunt for the secret orbs tucked away on each level. Just don’t expect anything interesting from these diary entries or you’ll be very disappointed. Most of your time in Dead Effect will be spent shooting at the undead, but you’ll also have to time some time out to punch open lockers and hack security codes. The former is done by hammering on your space bar, while the latter consists of a basic mini-game where you have to match symbols under a certain time limit.

Although Dead Effect wasn’t a bad looking game on mobile devices, it is a little less impressive on PC. Most of the rooms and corridors in the game look so similar that you get a constant sense of deja vu while wandering around. Thankfully, you activate a market to show you what direction to head in if you become disoriented. In addition to the generic zombies and soldier zombies that carry grenades, you’ll also encounter chainsaw wielding zombies and large zombies that can vomit projectiles at you. The zombies have the nasty habit of showing up out of nowhere and because the levels in this game are so cramped it is easy to get backed into a corner of you are not careful. We have to give Dead Effect credit for the weapons as most of them look and feel quite satisfying to use, while popping zombie heads with carefully placed shots never gets old. It is also good to see that the game allows you to target the arms or legs of zombies and shoot these off instead of just the heads. Your suit has a recharging stun gun built-in, but you can also carry a primary as well as secondary weapon around with you. Since it costs a lot of money to upgrade your weapons, we found ourselves sticking to one type of gun for the duration of the game to ensure it is as powerful as possible. In addition to the guns, you eventually also have access to two special abilities, bullet time and devastation.

Completing the story mode doesn’t take very long, but along with a New Game Plus mode, Dead Effect also has a bit more to offer. In addition to replaying any of the completed story mode missions, players also have access to Survival and Biohazard missions. Survival consists of six arena style levels where your objective is simply to stay alive until the time runs out while shooting as many zombies as possible in the process. Biohazard features seven missions, where your goal is to clear out waves of zombies in succession. We actually enjoyed these modes more than the main game, although once you have completed all of them, they tend to become a little repetitive. Unfortunately, Dead Effect also lacks any type of multi player or co-op mode.

The audio in Dead Effect is mostly forgettable, although the incredibly stiff voice acting is quite funny and makes the game feel like a b-movie at times. Both of the player characters sound like they are just reading the script, but the highlight is a German doctor who guides you through certain parts of the game. Half the time we couldn’t hear what he was saying over the growls of zombies and loud gunfire, but he definitely sounded like someone trying to imitate Arnold Schwarzenegger. As for the music, the tunes are dark and moody enough, but none of them really stands out as particularly noteworthy. We didn’t have any major issues with the controls, but could never shake the feeling that we were playing a mobile release due to the interface. We also didn’t encounter any major bugs, apart from one level, which we had to restart because a door refused to open when it was supposed to do so.

Although we have been quite harsh on Dead Effect, it is definitely not a complete waste of time and can be entertaining at times. It’s just that there are so many other games available on PC that follows the same formula. One thing that Dead Effect has in its favor is that it has a dirt cheap price tag, so if you are in the mood for a bit of mindless shooting and don’t want to fire up one of the bigger titles in the genre, then it could certainly scratch that itch. However, if you are not a fan of the genre or demand something a little more interesting from your shooters, then Dead Effect can be safely skipped.

System Requirements

  • OS: WindowsXP (Service Pack 3)
  • Processor: 2.4 Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia 8800 GTX | Radeon HD 4770
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: Install size will gradually increase with future updates.
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 3.0 Ghz Quad Core CPU or faster
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 460 | Radeon HD 5850
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: Install size will gradually increase with future updates.
  • OS: 10.6
  • Processor: 2.4 Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia 9800M GTS | Radeon HD 6770M
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
  • Additional Notes: Install size will gradually increase with future updates.
  • OS: 10.9
  • Processor: 3.0 Ghz Quad Core CPU or faster
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GT 650M or 750M (strongly recommended)
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
  • Additional Notes: Install size will gradually increase with future updates.

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