Dead Effect is a story driven first-person corridor shooter set aboard a futuristic research vessel/station, where an accident suddenly turns the crew into homicidal zombies. It is a very well made game enjoyable to play and satisfying to beat. Essentially it is a free 2 play iOS port. One of the few I have played that works well as a PC game.
You are part of an Elite unit awakened from hibernation to respond to an emergency aboard the vessel. You can choose to take on the role of a male or female soldier the only difference being the starting weapons and the voice-overs. Once armed you go up against a horde of zombie type enemies. Your job 'as always' is to go from level to level and complete objectives in order to progress to the end boss.
Enemies consist of several types of zombie: crawler, zombie, scientist zombie, soldier zombie, spitters and grenade zombies, plus a few specials which I wont mention and spoil for you here. Combat against the zombies is one of the strong points of the game. While they are only effective in packs and at close quarters, the badder zombies can spit venom or throw grenades which can be deadly from range. Furthermore even though the zombies close distance slowly their strength is in numbers, especially when moving through the vessels tight walkways.
As you move along the infested decks of the vessel you will be able to collect ammo and grenade refils, and credits from the (un)dead crew. In addition you can collect datapads with snippets of story to help explain the events which unfolded before you awoke. Killing enemies sometimes provides valuable item drops such as gold bars, credits (i.e. in-game cash), new weapon unlocks or weapon upgrades. Gold bars seem to be largely a remnant of its free2play days, which I suspect were gained largely through some sort of microtransactions. Thankfully though these do not exist in this PC version. Gold bars can be used to buy a handful of ultra-powerful weapons or an auto-heal feature which seems redundant for most players except for casual gamers. Credits allow you to purchase or upgrade combat weapons.
You start with a basic 1000 volt stungun which is good when you fighting lone enemies. As you play you get access to better weapons. Even though you can only carry two types of firearm (1-handed sidearm & a 2-handed assault weapon) and 1 batch of grenades during a level. You can switch between several model types between levels. This limitation is quite realistic even if you prefer the old skool method of carrying an arsenal into combat.
Weapons include different types of: handgun, assault rifle, shotgun, bows, energy weapons and a minigun. Melee lovers take note that there is a chainsaw weapon which you can get close and personal with the enemy but I found it to be the least satisfying of the weapons to play. Whats even better about the guns is that they can be upgraded during play. 5 levels for each weapon that increase stats like: reload speed, magazine capacity, damage and accuracy. New weapons can be purchased with the credits you collect. By far the most satisfying weapons are the shotgun or the bow with exploding arrow heads! :) You also get two special if limited abilties: Bullet time (slow-mo action) and Devastation (powerful strike eminating from the player).
The campaign consists of twelve levels ranging from short to long in terms of duration. All levels though similar in the challenges and obstacles they provide are pretty well designed. You will probably have to play through the game twice to complete the campaign achievements. In addition there have been two modes added and play similarly to Killing Floor - Survival maps require you to not die for a number of minutes, while in Biohazard maps you must survive numerous waves of ever increasing difficultly. There are around six maps for each mode. These I found were adequate at best. To be better coop is really needed here.
Overall I found the gameplay and aesthetics (graphics & sound) were pretty good, setting the right tone that will remind older gamers of Doom 3 or System Shock [if you have played either]. The story while pretty standard does its job in immersing you within the setting. Graphics for a port are really well done bringing a claustraphobic feel as you move around the vessel. While voice-overs (there are three one for each marine character and the only other survivor a scientist who guides you) are quite good for an indie game. I did discover a very few minor bugs which were not game-breakers but these were fixed during my time playing the game.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote that Dead Effect fails in its ambition. After playing through the game I found that what the game may lack in terms of ambition it more than makes up for in immersion, and quality implementation and delivery. In conclusion Id say so many games that come through Early Access fail to deliver, Dead Effect does that and more.
For the price its an easy recommendation. Looking forward to the sequel.