PERSONAL RATING 7/10
RECOMMEND FOR CERTAIN PLAYERS BUT NOT ALL, READ CAREFULLY!
Contagion is the closest thing to being the game equivalent of traditional “George A. Romero” Zombie apocalypse…or max brooks zombie survival guide setting…or the walking dead…you get the picture. Slow, hard to kill…zombies. My review will touch on aspects I feel focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the game. There are plenty of both trust me.
GRAPHICS AND ATMOSPHERE
The visuals serve well on initial playthroughs. I honestly felt helpless and weary what could be around the next corner. The stark contrast in environmental lighting made good use of my flashlight. All of it makes a trigger finger really twitchy. Weather changes with rain in some maps adds nice ambience too.
My only complaint that the exterior parts of some maps lack of variety, changes in lighting in procedural sort of way could remedy this. Much like the ever changing maps on each walkthrough can stir up silent dread awhile longer. After my first 10 hours or so even on solo play-throughs, the fear diminishes pretty quickly.
By far the strongest aspect of the game, players will be served PVP modes on ALL game types. Died as a survivor during escape or extraction mission? No worries, you’ll always have a guaranteed turn as the member of the undead. Cut loose and wreak havoc and fear on your friends and enemies.
The game mode Hunted, is specifically catered to this. You can start a game with a group of survivors or a player controlled zombie. Gunning, mauling, and devouring each other till the last man standing wins. Of course, even if you’re killed it’s only the beginning. Zombie gamplay is present in this mode as well.
Even though I fall in the lets say…..%10 of the gamer population that does not enjoy pvp, I’ve actually had fun…given that the company wasn’t too obnoxious or a bunch of hate mongering trolls. Mind you this pleasant experience only occurred once in my 24 hours of total game play. But hey…if you enjoy trash talkin and pissing some one off over the mic or text.…this game definitely for you.
Now for the downsides…. If you’re not big on player versus player….you’ll hate this game. A gratifying experience is slim. The best way to try to enjoy this of this is to wrangle up a group of friends and some how make a private server. Even that’s not STRAIGHT FORWARD OR FREE, AS IT SHOULD BE.
When surviving with friends (and at very rare times random players) that have a good sense of teamwork, CO-OP in contagion is tense, gory, and suspenseful fun! It requires a lot more thought and planning. Running in with guns blazing has its place but doing it all the time will doom yourself and your fellow survivors….which in most circumstances you DO NOT want…trust me. I admire this pacing cause it’s more of a thinking man’s game.
When player synergy is possible reaching extraction points and claiming victory is quite gratifying in a “high five” sort of way.
9 times out of 10, your co-op mission will fail when joining public games. Too many things can go wrong such as….
-Having to deal with being lost for long periods of time if joining mid game
-Players that join mid-game as zombies can quickly spoil your chances of survival
- Uncoordinated player survivors will slow progress to a crawl.
-Confusing or vague clues for reaching the next objective
The pvp aspect has too much of a presence in co-op gameplay, even if you create or join a server that disables the “infection” or “player zombie” feature. Once you’re dead…you’re out. There should be a optional “left 4 dead” feature that appeals to PVE players, such as being incapacitated into a “bleedout” status.
Other players could be allowed a window of chance to aid comrades to their feet when health is depleted, at least for a limited amount of times before death. This would give a nice set of balanced options for PVE and PVP, more appealing across the board. At the moment this game unfairly leans to the latter.
If you wish to truly experience terror and what it means to be prey, initial walkthroughs of extraction and ESPECIALLY escape mode on your own will certainly deliver…. Most likely only skilled players will be able to accomplish this, and victory is so very sweet when you’re able to run screaming toward your escape. I’ve only been able to pull it off twice in each game mode, but man it was thrilling.
Replay value on your own is basically zero… Even with procedural map generation, throwing yourself at the similar set of objectives the second time around is quite boring and a tedious chore. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, this is it… contagion highly depends on group game play to be anywhere near fun or even approachable the second….third….time around. Most likely there’d be never be a forth….
If you really want this game to have staying power in your library, bring friends....and some how your own server.... >:(
Contagion is well suited for those looking for PVP for public lobbies. Pick a game mode, join a pub server and you’ll shooting or munching on other players in no time. Nuff said.
-No “friend only” lobby option
-No direct private server options
-Servers for RENT are available on contagion….
-Free private servers can only be created via 3rd party programs
With aspect like these, contagion still feels like a mod and not a developer’s fully released game. Lacking intuitive or direct access to people not accustomed to modding or pc gaming.
If you’re looking for a great combination of zombie survival and PVP gameplay, definitely grab a copy.
For players that have a strong affinity for co-op fun and thrills..... should think twice though….if you have a dependable group of friends and a means for creating your own servers, then it’s worth a buy.
If not….stick to l4d2.