Zombies are hot! Not only in movies but also more and more in games, with Dead Rising as the most recent example. Infected, a game that’s been released for quite some time in the US already also visits us now and the setting of the story couldn’t have seen a better release date for Europe.
It’s two weeks before Christmas in New York. The Christmas tree lights are being turned on when suddenly the sounds of Jingle Bells marks the arrival of some zombies who immediately start to remove all sorts of intestants from your body. The atmosphere and tone are quite funny, combined with dark humour and over-the-top blood gushing around. Some jokes are a bit cheesy or completely fail but there are a couple of nice catches present, something you don’t find too often in games.
Pretty quickly you notice you’re immune to the zombie virus that started it all and due to that you’re immediately bombarded to savior of the world. The fact that the enemy explodes when coming in contact with a drop of your blood of course also helps. After setting up your character (later on to be adjusted with unlockable stuff) you can get to work with in the background all sorts of heavy metal music.
The action is quick and deadly: shoot those zombies until they’re soft to afterwards finish the job with your other “Virus Weapons” and/or combos. The zombies, however, won’t go down easily. They spit green stuff, use bazookas and don’t hesitate to rip you apart. On top of that, they move faster than you would think and certainly at first you’ll have problems with the controls to run quick and tight. The lock-on brings rescue though as it allows to easily strafe and thanks to all kinds of upgrades you’ll soon have a nice arsenal of yourself.
The variation during the single player campaign is disappointing. Over 35 variations on “kill everyone” and “brings this safely to there” is all you get. Seeing the short span of each mission you’ll burn through the story in just a couple of hours, or you would have to be an obsessive collector of virtual games.
Luckily there’s the multiplayer part to bring salvation of the all too quick zombification of the game since both locally as well as over the internet you can start some bloody games. With the typical deathmatch options there’s some fun to be had and there are also an “Evac” and “Mad Cow” modes where you need to remain in the possession of named costumes. If you go online the options are as extensive as the brain cells of your opponents: you can only play one-on-one with a random other user.
The twist that should make everything a bit more interesting is the infection! You can infect the PSP of your opponent with your character after which that person will have the infection on to others and so on. To see how far you’ll make it in the world of PSP-epidemic there’s some sort of map that shows where you’re present. Sounds pretty cool but in the end it’s as interesting as guarding a plastic bag in your underwear drawer and when the gameplay isn’t good, such tricks won’t add much either.
To conclude, let’s talk a bit about the audio and visuals of Infected. You’ll get to hear quite a lot of voices that are pretty decent, the sound effects suit nicely and also the soundtrack is pretty good, at least, if you like dark metal and techno, with names like Junkie XL and Slipknot. Graphically the style is similar with lots of quick action, a good framerate and a couple of beautiful effects. The surroundings are never truly impressive and the design is little inspiring but it does what it needs to do.
Infected sounded a lot more interesting on paper than the final game shows. The gameplay is pretty decent but limits itself to locking onto enemies and pushing the two fire buttons. There’s no depth and also a decent AI is something you can keep looking for. Only fans of superficial action games will have fun with this one but in the meantime we’ve become used to seeing better things on PSP