Video Games

Steam Librarian: Dead Effect

Steam Librarian is an on going series in which I, QuizzyQuin, discuss and review the plethora of untouched games I’ve accrued over the years in an attempt to catch on past purchases.

What have I gotten myself into.

I thought my second Steam Librarian was going to be about F.E.A.R. but I was sorely wrong. The plan was to write about it and then find a smaller game to tackle. I’m keeping it on hold for a bit while I play through the expansions; it seems like there’s more to the game that I can’t put into words yet. While I mulled that over, my Humble Monthly Bundle came in; I was happily surprised to find Black Mesa among the picks. I also spared a few bucks and picked up more games off Bundle Stars (I now realize how much adding the word ‘bundle’ to a set of games entices me.)

But no, it wouldn’t be that simple. Instead I chose to write about this.

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Though everything in this image is in the game, it’d be impossible to find anything as polished.

Dead Effect is a game, apparently.

Okay to Dead Effect‘s credit it is a fully running, playable game; it’s just most everything else that it gets wrong. There are many ‘games’ I’ve played where you can hardly load into the main menu, let alone play.

After loading in I was greeted by a trailer for Dead Effect as if to hype me up and get me excited that I’m about to play. It’s one of the most peculiar parts of my experience but certainly not unwanted, I found it very funny. It’d be like seeing a trailer for a movie you’re already in the theater to watch, what’s the point if you’ve already bought the ticket? I soon realized this was a very blatant ruse to try and hide the fact that every piece of this game, from UI, to voice acting, to gameplay, all feel wrong. They’re working the way they’re suppose to but it just doesn’t fit together right. It’s as if a myriad of nitpicks had coagulated to the point where they became one great problem.

I noticed this when I was given control of my character and began spinning like a Merry-Go-Round the moment I turned my mouse. I checked the configuration options to find that all mouse options were automatically at there max, this including mouse smoothing and acceleration. Of course it was simple enough to turn down these settings and fix the problem but I was still perplexed. Why would the game have been automatically set so high? I never found the answer but did continue on through the game, curious of how far these problems went. With aiming done, I tried out the rest of the controls. Running felt like my head floated down to my waist-line and there was no way to jump but I dismissed these problems for the time being. The true test was seeing how combat was.

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Here we can see a fantastic spectrum of metallic grays used in Dead Effect‘s Level Design.

Gameplay, in just about every way, was clunky and uncomfortable. You have two weapon slots, ideal for having a primary and secondary if the situation gets too sticky. I chose the female protagonist and started with a revolver pistol and shotgun later on. The enemies are gaggles of zombies that are in dire need of bullets to the face. It was even simple at first, a head-shot will do in the run-of-the-mill Zamboni. The only variation in their shambling approach was when within short proximity of the player they lunge at you, ducking in the process. This ruins any aimed shot I planned on making and aggravated me to no end. Thankfully there is a vast ‘variety’ of Zambinos such as the slightly larger, tougher zombie, the ranged zombie that periodically shoots a ball of red at you, and finally the even larger, tougher zombie. Perhaps if I had played farther into the game I would have found many more interesting and colorful opponents but after the first boss I found no will to continue.

The first boss of Dead Effect succinctly describes many of the issues I had with the game. It’s a rather standard first boss, its only attack pattern is to bum rush you like a bull at a red shirt party. A simple move to dodge, my first thought was to find something in the room that it may need to hit in order to stun it but no. It simply charges at you, becomes stunned for a short period, and charges you again.

I beat the boss in less than 2 minutes, if I had to guess the exact time.

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My computer almost crashed after I took this screenshot. I still don’t know why.

The controls are slippery, the combat has no weight to it, and the voice acting is flat all around. Nothing in Dead Effect is visually pleasing, it’s gray, it’s bloody, and it looks like there’s a thick layer of gloss over everything including the Zambeanie Babies. Thankfully I hardly wasted a dollar on this game and for the hour of I wouldn’t call it entertainment but blog material I’d say it was worth it. The only downside is I spent a whole dollar on Dead Effect‘s sequel, Dead Effect 2.

I could have bought a pack of Bubblegum with that dollar.

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