Infected Review

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Graphics: 9.0
Sound : 8.5
Gameplay : 8.5
Multiplayer : 8.0
Overall : 8.6
Review by Andy Levine
The problem with the recently titles released for the PSP is that the games are merely ports instead of being exclusive to this lovable handheld. Luckily, the developers over at Planet Moon conjured up an intense 3rd person shooter entitled Infected that was created for PSP from the ground up. When a nasty infection turned citizens of New York into brain thirsty zombies, it’s all up to Officer Stevens to come to the rescue.

Officer Stevens is destined to save the plagued victims because he is the only one immune to the virus. In addition, if his own blood enters the bloodstream of a zombie it will cause it to explode instantly. Stevens must first weaken his zombie foes using a variety of guns including pistols, shotguns, sub-machine guns, and vaporizing grenades, to name a few. Once your enemies have been weakened to a certain spot, a red indicator will show that they are finally ready to be terminated. You can even earn combo points if you manage to weaken several zombies in a row before firing off the final viral shot. The zombies initially only know how to throw limbs and bodily excretions at first, but as the game progresses they’ll also learn how to use weapons. An effective lock-on targeting system easily allows for Stevens to strafe around and select different targets. Controlling Stevens is fairly intuitive, and it shouldn’t be overly difficult for newcomers to be stringing combos together once they become familiarized with the control scheme. Infected is easy to jump into for any amount of time, a favorable quality for a handheld title.

The levels are divided up into different zones, which are essentially different segments connected by narrow passageways and tunnels. Each zone will receive a constant influx of zombies from manholes until the entire area is cleaned out. If you let too many zombies populate one area, an outbreak will occur and the infection will spread to other regions. If you really let things get out of hand the zombies will go berserk, making them faster, powerful, and hungrier for blood. The viral overload bar warns you if a certain zone is at risk of becoming berserk. A satellite map displays an overhead view of the entire battlefield and shows where every enemy is located. Monitoring the infection will help make your job a lot easier and save a lot of lives in the process.

The single player portion of the game is a mission based series of events that always involve wiping an area clean of those pesky mutants. The most basic mission type, ‘kill ‘em all,’ simply involves destroying everything in your path; while the slightly more complex modes like ‘helipad evac’ have extra conditions, such as having to rescue civilians before they become plagued. Based on your mission performance, bronze, silver or gold medals can be rewarded if you meet certain criteria and will award you with bonus cash. Money can also be earned by performing large combos, and these earnings can be used to purchase and upgrade new weapons. At the beginning of each scenario you only have a measly pistol available, but as more and more zombies are slaughtered the more powerful components of your arsenal will be ready to go. Lastly, the Kudos section keeps track of all of your in-game stats, including the total number of zombies killed and the number of civilians rescued. The 35 missions don’t last very long, making the entire campaign last for only a few hours. Although this game is somewhat replayable, it would’ve been nice to see a more developed story progression and upgrades.

Infected can be played on both the ad hoc and infrastructure multiplayer modes. Locally, eight players can come together and compete in a bunch of different ways. Aside from the typical deathmatch and team deathmatch options, savior mode challenges gamers to rescue more civilians than their opponents, while the mad cow game type has the rest of the players try to bring down the player with the cow avatar. The infrastructure online component isn’t too appealing, though, because every game is a one-on-one deathmatch with a random foe. By winning a match you infect your rival, and they must win several more matches to get rid of it. Your virus can be tracked to show how many people across the world have been infected with your original virus. The two player deathmatches aren’t too exciting and the lock-on system takes away from some of the fun, but the multiplayer mode here shouldn’t be ignored.

Infected comes across as a brutal, violent title right from the start, and it retains this image throughout the game’s entirety. Taking place a couple of weeks before Christmas in New York, the snow-covered environments are just waiting to be splattered with zombie blood and guts. The Infected are gruesomely detailed with severed limbs and awkward gaits, which makes it even better to see their corpses explode into unrecognizable pieces. Throughout all of this, the background is filled with shrieking civilians and a fitting soundtrack with heavy rock bands like Slipknot. The cinematics that tie the campaign together include a lot of humorous moments to make the game feel a little cheerier. Infected delivers enough violence to fulfill anybody’s zombie thrashing needs.

In conclusion, Infected is a breath of fresh air for the PSP’s game library. This title delivers a fast paced 3rd person shooter experience with a fairly substantial amount of depth. Although a more substantial single player campaign and better infrastructure game modes would’ve certainly helped, as it stands Infected is a worthy action title for the PSP.