I felt like this deserved some love and attention, and rightfully so.
Infected: The Twin Vaccine (now with "Collector's Edition" attached to it, because a free update (amazing treat by the devs to the people who got the game) gave us artwork, an extra level, dev diary/commentary and a bunch of other stuff...) sounds like what to you?
Well, since you, reader, are used to the generic bandwagon of console shooters, zombie shooters, and ♥♥♥♥ cashgrab co-op games that are co-op just because that is a sell-point to little kids! What do you think?
Oh! And in a related news, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is in the top 3 sellers on steam already and it will only be out in October...
Anyways, you will be (probably) glad to hear Infected: The Twin Vaccine is none of that!
Introducing the good return to old-school point n' click adventure.
No no no no no, wait up! Don't leave just yet! Infected isn't the traditional ♥♥♥♥ fest of incoherent puzzles with ghost stories. Rather Infected takes a "realistic" approach, grabbing as a premise a real disease that is deadly and very contagious. In Infected you will find the town of Oxford locked down, as everyone either left it or died in it, due to the spread of said disease, which causes coughing, fevers and other nasty stuff, before the sick person enters in shock and has seizures, and eventually dies.
It really gives a sense of reality to the story and makes it feel truly real, like it CAN happen! That adds depth into the story and more care into the characters than any other point n' click game out there that is all about the ghosts and poorly made, "afternoon nap" puzzle logic.
In The Twin Vaccine, you find the disease starting in 2 twin sisters, 1 of which dies and the other survives and gets back on her feet, only to disappear in a local train station.
You, as a microbiologist, alongside the rest of the scientific community, think the surviving twin is the answer to the cure and fixing this widespread biological terror.
So you start investigating! You go back to the dead, cloudy and misterious (quite post-apocalyptic, which I'm a big fan of in this case) town of Oxford, where you will find you are not the only one looking for Theresa, the surviving twin, where she was last seen in.
The story is simple and I honestly was expecting a nice plot twist by the end.
A plot twist that never came...
And that is fine! The story is straightforward mystery afair, that succeeds in telling something you care about! Something you can be afraid of in real life! Something that gives us a deeper vision of what some human values truly mean!
And that is what I wanted, something I needed in a game for a long time, something that had gameplay and needed my wits to be able to finish it instead of playing "press and hold the "W" key" like Gone Home or The Stanley Parable.
This went way too much under the radar and I will put this in the list alongside Journey and Brothers. A game that is short (took me around 3 hours to beat, but depending on your exploration and puzzle solving skills, you may beat it in something between 2 and 4 hours) and ultimately pricy, BUT still deserves the money value (or at least after a 50% discount) because of what it tells and not how it plays.
Infected uses simple, yet logic (for the most part) puzzles in an open world environment (you can and WILL have to backtrack in some points) and is so well paced I managed to finish it in one single sitting without crying of boredom like other point n' clicks. And by "other" I mean "Every other"! Which pad the game too much and are too repetitive. At least Infected varies stuff up a bit and never outstays its welcome!
The game has a few cutscenes, some are a mix of real life characters and animated movements/lip syncing. People you meet (not many at all) in the map and you can interact look real, because well... they are real! Like filmed and CGI'ed into where you are. It hard to explain, I've never seen anything like this to be honest. Other point n' clicks feel lifeless and atmosphere isn't that good.
I:TTV manages to give life to the atmosphere, making the world feel dead. Yes I know, it's a really big almost non-sensical antithesis but it's true!
To make a world feel dead, to give an atmosphere the sense of loneliness and death, you need to give it some "life" and that takes skill!
Point n' clicks are shovel ware, TTV skull♥♥♥♥s the idea and is the prototype of what point n' click can actually become in the future! It is the AAA version of point n' clicks, because it has quality over quantity and costs 14€. 14€ you pay for quality.
Funnily enough, AAA nowadays means 60€ pieces of absolute ♥♥♥♥ and lying schemes by big corporations, instead of the previous AAA, like, you know? 50€ Good PC Ports with lots of elbow grease rubbed on them...
Ok so, it's not all good. It's short, yes and that short time, is a good time! BUT, that isn't an excuse. Something extra could be made for sure! And no, the extra's aren't enough, they are like 30 extra minutes at best!
The main plot is great! And the end is heart-breaking. But the side plots (little stories you uncover from exploring) feel like not enough attention was put into them. This could've been a great idea to both add a new side story and make it interesting (because it truly does feel interesting), and increase the legth, without making it feel stretched or forced, but everything I got was a few "implied" endings to them, which felt underdeveloped at best.
This is NOT a Spoiler in my opinion, but you can skip to the next paragraph for the rest of the review: ***At one point, you will discover a side plot and argument that happened a few months back between a Carl and a Marty guy, and one accused the other of something (which I won't tell, of course). But I never found out who was right or not, nor the fate of one of the guys.***
It was sad, very much so, it was a really mysterious and engaging side story that never felt like it got the ending it deserved.
Voice acting is good for the most part, one character will feel a bit over the top and weird. But his delivery is still pretty good.
Graphics are taken from real life, like most point n' clicks and it works like the other games of the same genre! But trees and grass could move to the wind to make everything feel a bit less stagnant. But it's still pretty good overall and some changes to the environment like fire, smoke and explosions are still there, which is nice.
Audio and music is fantastic, and add tons to the atmosphere!
Overall, buy this for a good afternoon! You will have nice puzzles and never reach the point of frustration (some, though very few, lack some logic, but that's a given in point n' clicks. Other games of the same genre are all hugely stupid and abstract while this isn't 70% of the time, so kudos for it.), a great story and premise, and an overall great atmospheric world!
Some scenes will be truly shocking and left me pausing the game for 5 minutes. Of course I wont tell which, I'll leave that to your finding and your own surprise shock. You will care about the characters and the world, like I said already, sorry for repeating myself this much, and that is why you should buy I:TTV. It's Point n' clicks done right and you should totally buy it.
8.5/10, you will have a good (if short) time with this one. If the price still scares you, wait for a 50% or 66% off sale on steam (or somewhere else).