Due for release on October 22, Dead Effect 2 is a first person shooter that’s clearly been influenced by the likes of BioShock and System Shock 2. Somewhat predictably for anyone who’s spent some time with those games, that means that Dead Effect 2 is at its strongest when it’s taxing your brain rather than your reactions.
It’s clearly still a work in progress, given that thetutorial is littered with references pertaining to keyboard controls, but it’s still looking rather delightful. As you’d expect with any sci-fi horror game, Dead Effect 2 is pretty dark and moody as you navigate your way around a spaceship full of puzzles to complete and zombies to annihilate.
A virtual joypad dictates your direction while the right hand side of the screen is littered with buttons for your weaponry, as well as interacting with objects. That’s one of the main issues for Dead Effect 2: on the iPhone 5’s screen, it can be too easy to tap on the wrong button, activating the wrong ability at the worst time. By default, auto-fire is switched on, meaning you can just hover the reticule over an enemy to shoot at it, but that ends up feeling a little weightless.
This becomes an issue when up against numerous zombies at once, meaning you feel like you’re fighting against the controls as much as the enemies. That’s in harsh juxtaposition to the slow but measured approach taken to figuring things out while away from combat. During those moments you’re expected to crack codes and use a bit of lateral thinking, which is immensely more satisfying and much easier to deal with on a smaller phone screen.
There’s time yet to see how this manifests in the full release and whether compensations are made for those with small screens and large fingers. In its current form, Dead Effect 2 is shaping up to be an appealing - but flawed- game.