Infected (PSP) Review

Developer: Project Moon Studios / Publisher: Majesco || Overall: 8.5/10

Just in time for the holidays, Infected is the right game to spend your free time with. Instead of killing your zombie-like family members, you can kill computerized zombies on your PSP in the corner of Aunt Suzy’s house with no one ever being the wiser. If your Aunt Suzy happens to be tech savvy, you can take your zombie shooting obsession online with the PSP’s wi-fi capabilities. Just be careful, because the PSP screen is so big it might attract the zombies of your real life — your family members.

The story of the single-player mode in Infected is very simple. A disease breaks out that turns people into mindless zombies, and they start causing lots and lots of problems. Like eating and infecting people. It’s basically run-of-the-mill when it comes to that much. Before each new mission, you’ll get a dose of humor in one way or another – either through voice-only briefing or an actual cutscene. After the preliminary story material, you proceed to select and finish the next mission.

In Infected, you shoot zombies, and as if that isn’t obvious enough, with weapons. As you upgrade your weaponry through the Upgrades screen, you’re able to use more powerful weapons and power-ups. Every time you start you’ll begin with the least powerful weapon, the Pistol. As you kill more and more zombies, you’ll build up your Ballistic weapon gauge, and as it fills up more and more you’ll work your way up to a shotgun, machine gun, and two types of rocket launchers.

In the single-player mode, there are different kinds of objectified missions. They range from evacuation of citizens, defending a certain target, simply eradicating all of the zombies in sight, or a combination of types of objectives to make a mission harder and more complex. The concepts of the objectives are very easy to learn and understand through straightforward tips given. Because the single player mode is not story driven, the motivation to play the game comes from the gameplay itself. The game is easy to learn, but to master it you’ll need to learn how to use the controls almost by reflex to get further in the game. Luckily for those who require a little more or little less challenge, you can change the difficulty between missions with no penalty. Infected is a fun game, and when it starts getting less than that, you can fix it. There are quite a few single-player missions to go through, but they won’t take too much time to complete. There is also a ranking of how well you do a particular mission, so you can go back and get that gold medal in the mission you originally got a silver or bronze on.

Multiplayer is a fairly important aspect of the game. While it isn’t as technically immersive as the single-player mode, multiplayer does arise some interesting concepts. Other than just combating against other enemies in deathmatches, when you beat an opponent, you will infect them with a “virus” named after you. By infecting your opponent with your virus, you can spread it around farther and around the world; when a player gets infected by a virus, to clear that virus they must either defeat three other people in multiplayer or three tagged single-player missions. By defeating other opponents in multiplayer, they spread your virus to the other players, and the process repeats. But if you play the tagged (called “infected”) levels in single-player mode to replay, you can stop another person’s virus from getting spread farther. It brings up a new kind of massive competition, and if you really got into it, you could work up to the point of having your virus the most infected. To keep track of these stats, Infected uses the PSP’s web browser to check all the stats corresponding with your stats and also the overall trends through all the copies of Infected spread through the world. It’s definitely a cool thing to see a game use the PSP’s web browser and have this kind of interactivity level for a game. Not to mention it doesn’t cost anything extra for it.

As for graphics and sound, the graphics are pretty cool. The textures shown in the game could have been a little less bland, but they’re tolerable. Between shooting zombie mall Santas and the like, it’s not going to matter as much. Cutscenes are nicely animated and generally well-made. As for sound, the voice acting included in the game isn’t bad at all. Sound effects are awesome since there’s lot of explosions and guns shooting. The best part hands down is the soundtrack. Full of hard rock and death metal (if that’s what they can be called) songs, a large selection of which are composed by Slipknot, it genuinely creates an overall feeling that is needed in an M-rated zombie-shooting game. It might not float many people’s boats, but if you’re like the music that is on Slipknots latest album, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, you’ll dig the other few songs by other groups in the game as well. In total, there are 22 songs and all can be turned on or off in the options screen.

Your character’s appearance is a fun aspect of the game. You can basically create your own character or unlock different “avatars” by buying them or finding them through the game. Other than being able to make anyone from a goofy lookin’ nerd to a person who looks like he could be in a Good Charlotte-Green Day band, you can play as all the members of Slipknot! What fan would pass up the opportunity to go around shooting a bazooka with Corey Taylor?

Where Infected really does suffer is in its controls. While it can be considered part of the challenge of the game to get used to the controls, the game really would have benefited from a second analog stick. It’s just an unfortunate fact that camera angles and control hold the title back from being better. As a consequence, the controls in general aren’t very sympathetic to your inability to adjust the camera, especially since the view is locked to being right behind your character showing the waist up.

If there’s one thing to say about Infected, it’s that there’s definitely fun to be had with it. While on its own, it isn’t a console-selling “killer-app,” Infected does bring out a concept or two to show what is possible with the PSP. Infected shouldn’t be overlooked — it’s a fresh experience, filled with humor that will make you either burst out laughing or cringe in embarrassment.

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