2013: Infected Wars is a third-person action adventure shooter game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita with compatibility for PlayStation TV. 2013: Infected Wars is Action Mobile Games’ debut game having originally released for iOS on November 27th 2013 and now making their debut on PlayStation Vita.
The story is set in 2013 and revolves around a society in total meltdown after a virus known as The Scourge has been stolen and unleashed upon the world as it was intended to send the West back to the Stone Age by mutating the western population into mutants, but the virus spread across the entire world only leaving pockets of remaining human civilization attempting to survive as the mutated beasts vastly outnumber humans. Groups of professionally trained mercenaries explore the crumbling ruins of civilization in an attempt to salvage critical supplies in order for people to continue to live which is exactly how the lead character comes into the picture as over the course of 8 missions he is not only looking to retrieve important supplies, but is also attempting to find Alpha Team who have not maintained radio contact after venturing out to retrieve supplies for survivors.
There are 4 classes including field support, marine, sapper and sniper with each class having their own unique specialty weapons and perks such as the field support class being specialised with shotguns and pistols along with a damage bonus of 5% and ammo bonus of 10% whereas the marine class being specialised in assault rifles and SMGs along with a damage bonus of 5%; the sapper class is specialised with explosives and bonuses including a damage bonus of 5%, an increased damage radius of 5%, 40% less explosive damage to your character and an increase in grenade capacity of 5, alongside the sniper class which is specialised with sniper rifles and bonuses including a damage bonus of 5%, an increased fire speed of 5% and improved recoil recovery of 5%. Every class starts out with a pistol but can use their specialty weapons by purchasing them via the in-game shop which is required as players can only level up by using the specialty weaponry assigned to that specific class with the player starting out at level 1 before progressing to level 2 at 20,000 XP, level 3 at 60,000 XP, level 4 at 180,000 XP, level 5 at 540,000 XP, level 6 at 1,620,000 XP and level 7 at 4,860,000 XP. The variation between each class is an excellent design choice as it allows the player to strategise in regards to how they approach the game with the most appropriate loadout.
In-game currency is earned by killing zombies, accurately performing headshots when killing zombies, completing missions and finding salvage scattered throughout a level allows players to randomly select their reward from 3 bags of salvage with the potential rewards including a 50% increase in armour, 300 cash or 3 gold coins which is a further excellent design choice as it rewards the player for careful exploration of the surrounding environments.
The in-game shop allows players to improve their arsenal of weaponry including short, medium and long range weapons as well as explosives and a set of upgrades for the weapons your character already owns with every weapon, explosive and upgrade costing various amounts of in-game currency and having their own range of statistics. The game possesses a powerful artillery of weaponry comprising of short range weapons including the desert eagle, sawed-off shotgun and pump shotgun, while the medium range weapons include a uzi, AK-47 and M4 Carbine, alongside long range weapons such as a hunting rifle, M34 SWS and SASS with the explosives including everything from grenades to rocket and grenade launchers which mostly tend to cost between 1,000 to 4,000 in cash with a sell on price for half the initial purchase price in order to reclaim half of the in-game currency which had been previously spent. Short, medium and long range weapons include such statistics as their purchase price, total amount of ammo, clip size, damage, range and rate of fire, while the explosives include a purchase price, total amount of ammo, damage, range and rate of fire. Upgrades consist of abilities which applies to all of the weaponry such as an ammunition belt which provides a 25% increase in ammo capacity, fast reload which increases reloading speed by 25%, iron sights which provides 25% less recoil when zoomed in and much more besides, while upgrades cost between 50 to 200 gold coins which is different to the cash for weapons purchases. The in-game shop can also be accessed during gameplay which is rather helpful as health and armour as well as ammunition for weaponry can be replenished with in-game cash which means the player must be very weary of low health or armour and the amount of bullets they have when surrounded by enemies, especially during the hardest difficulty level.
The conclusion of every mission brings about a set of statistics to summarise how well the player performed including how much XP was earned, how much cash was earned, the amount of enemies killed, the amount of headshots, percentage of accuracy, the amount of shots fired, the amount of character deaths, mission time and mission score which is a great design choice as it allows the player to analyse their performance and which areas may require improvement.
Character design is in keeping with the mercenary vibe required for the lead character, while enemies come in all shapes and sizes as male and female zombies have a variety of clothing, styles and mutations which either run or walk and most certainly punch and claw at your character as well as even biting when within close quarters distance, while there are also mutated animals and hideous unrecognisable creatures to survive as well as enemy bosses including Imrod in the seventh mission and Lazy-eye in the eighth mission which require a fair bit of gunfire before they contemplate giving up the battle, alongside Caretaker who is a chainsaw wielding mini-boss which appears from the fourth mission onwards who screams and looks maniacal in everyway possible and usually requires over a dozen well placed shots before it goes down.
Environment design is good as the first 3 missions mostly include navigating through underground train tunnels with debris and wreckage, while the fourth mission onwards gathers momentum of more diverse environments such as streets filled with abandoned cars, malls turned into bases for survivors, a park, a car park and more besides.
The controls are well mapped to the Vita with the control scheme consisting of pressing R to fire a weapon; pressing L to zoom in on target for more accuracy; pressing O to reload ammo; pressing square to use or interact with a nearby object; pressing X to confirm a selection; pressing right or left on the d-pad to select the next or previous; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to navigate through such important in-game menus as weapons, items and shop; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move your character; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera; and pressing start, select or triangle to display the pause menu. The touch screen is used as an alternative to pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to navigate through in-game menus by tapping an icon or menu name or swiping across the screen to switch from a menu or a selection of an icon to another, although there is no support for optional controls via the rear touch pad or gyroscopic motion sensing functionality.
Graphically, 2013: Infected Wars utilises Unreal Engine 3 which certainly shows in areas such as the realistic sky, character and enemy models, blood splatters and some of the scenery in the immediate surroundings and backdrops, although there are occasions of pop-in, collision detection and frame rate drops when things get quite hectic, but there is nothing absolutely major that reoccurs regularly to the point of spoiling the game.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus such as the main menu, campaign menu, character inventory and class menus, settings menus, help menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the d-pad and face buttons, although there is no support for navigation via the left or right analogue sticks and rear touch pad. The background of the main menu consists of an aged and blood splattered wall, while the title logo is positioned in the top centre of the screen.
Ryan Buckley performs excellent voice-overs for everything from the commander to the zombies and personnel which provides atmosphere with an appropriately gritty voice-over for the commander providing narration of a full picture of the story and your mission objectives via radio chatter, although a voice-over for the lead character would have perhaps gave him more personality and provided further narrative to the story by emoting his thoughts and feelings of what is going on around him to make him more than a mercenary; regardless of that omission the voice-over work is always on point and more than paints the scene accordingly. Sound effects include shooting a variety of weaponry at the oncoming hordes of zombies, zombies growling as they stumble or run towards your character, reloading weapons, running and ambient sound effects such as an engaged telephone, insects, breaking glass when zombies jump through a glass structure from atop a mall turned survivor base and eerie distant screams of horror, while the music includes a title song called .45 by the rock act Motherseat accompanied by atmospheric music prior to each mission.
The trophy list includes 12 trophies with 8 bronze trophies, 3 silver trophies and 1 gold trophy. The vast majority of the trophy list includes a total of 8 bronze trophies for completing each mission, while there are harder trophies including the Flawless Lazy-eye and Flawless Imrod silver trophies for defeating Lazy-eye and Imrod respectively without receiving any damage, alongside the potentially hardest trophy as the Ironman gold trophy for completing the entire game in Ironman mode only allows the player a single life to complete the entire game with, but is made easier by attempting it on the recruit difficulty level which is the easiest in the game. The most time consuming trophy is the Class Master silver trophy for achieving level 7 in any class by using the specialist weaponry associated with the specifically chosen class, although there is a helpful glitch in which the trophy unlocks at level 6 instead of level 7 which is especially helpful given that level 6 requires 1,620,000 XP in comparison to 4,860,000 XP with 3 farming spots including mission 5 by not disabling the mall speakers, mission 7 by not disabling the police car alarm and mission 8 by not disabling the car alarm. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 12 to 15 hours to 100% the trophy list.
There are 4 difficulty levels including recruit, solider, veteran and elite with the major differences between each difficulty being a basic challenge in recruit increasing to a moderate challenge in solider, an expert challenge in veteran and an overwhelming challenge in elite as there appears to be more enemies which seem to be faster and far more aggressive in their attacks in comparison to the recruit difficulty, while you will lose your weaponry if your character dies when playing the veteran or elite difficulty levels, although an appropriate incentive is provided to play on a harder difficulty level as every step-up in difficulty provides an additional 5 gold coins as a reward for completing the game. The 4 difficulty levels are also accompanied by an ironman setting to provide only a single life to last throughout the entire game, therefore making any of the 4 difficulty levels significantly harder and more challenging as a single mistake could be the end of the game.
An area of the game which is disappointing is the lack of any multiplayer features even though the iOS version includes online co-operative multiplayer for the entire story campaign, although the developer has stated that the online multiplayer was cut due to insufficient funds to port that area of the game over to the Vita. Given that the game was developed by an indie developer and that the reduced cost of development by not incorporating such online multiplayer features has seemingly been passed onto the players as the game is available for a budget price of just £4.49, then it is something that can certainly be forgiven. However, it would naturally be appreciated and fantastic to see if the online multiplayer features was included as downloadable content with a nominal price for a digital download to enable such online co-operative multiplayer features and an update to include online leaderboards covering the amount of enemies killed, the percentage of accuracy when firing at enemies, the amount of XP earned for your chosen class and how quickly each mission and the entire game was completed within.
The replayability stems from 8 well paced missions, customisable loadout via earning XP to level up classes and an in-game shop with plenty of weaponry and upgrades, alongside 4 difficulty levels with an ironman variation to make any of the 4 difficulty levels that much harder and what is effectively a New Game Plus mode in the sense that the player has the opportunity to return to the start of the game after having completed the entire game while retaining all of their weaponry and gold coins to use in continuing to purchase upgrades.
• Title: 2013: Infected Wars
• Developer: Action Mobile
• Publisher: Action Mobile
• System: PS Vita
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• Memory Card Space Required: 778MB