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Affliction review

Now this is a schoolbook example of what not to do in a zombie apocalypse.

Ok, say that you are being overrun by a horde of stinking undead. What would you do? Would you place yourself in the middle of a parking garage without any kind of cover? Would you try to place yourself on something elevated such as the roof of a mini-van? Would you take cover in a corridor to make sure you only get attacked from one direction? If you say any of the latter you have done your homework, but if you say that it is a good idea to stand in the open you are plain stupid.

In Affliction our unnamed generic gun-toting hero stands, you guessed it, in the middle of a parking garage. Not only is this particular garage badly lit, but it also offers 360 degree access to your body. The zombies can come from any direction, and obviously they do. Kind of slow at first giving you ample time to ponder why you can’t climb on top of that white van parked only a couple of paces away. Blasting away at zombies is almost always fun. I say almost since in the case of Affliction it isn’t particularly fun at all. Simply tap to shoot when you have one line up in your small on screen crosshairs. If you hit them in the head they go down right away, and body hits makes them grunt a little until they die of leadpoisioning.

The zombies look more or less the same, and there are little in the animation department. They drag themselves towards you in a kind of surprised haze. It is like they are thinking what I am thinking about getting on top of that van, or even trying to drive away in it. One thing the game does right however is the fact that the zombies look sinister, and I really want to put them down right away.

You only get a couple of guns to choose from if you don’t want to spend IAP on a powerful AK47 for example. The meek weapons functions well enough to kill the zombies, and boredom sets in far earlier than the urge to get a bigger gun. There is no variation to the game. It gets harder with more, quicker zombies. Other than that you are stuck standing in the middle of an onslaught.

The thing that is special about Affliction is that it uses gyroscope controls exclusively. You have to constantly swivel around to cover the 360-degree field of attack. On a smaller device such as my iPhone this works quite well, and it doesn’t get too uncomfortable. I have played Affliction a lot on my iPad, and that has been a pain in the neck. Not only the fact that it is quite heavy with a case and all, but the screen is more sensitive to changing lighting conditions. To play properly you have to more or less dim a room. I tried playing during the day in my living room, and whenever the sun got in the screen I got blinded. Having only gyroscope controls limits the appeal, and playing opportunities quite a lot. A virtual joystick has been promised for a future update.

There is two-player coop through Game Center, but it only means that you share the sense of stupidity with someone. The experience is far away from for example Call of Duty: Zombies where it makes a difference having a friend to play with.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that the game didn’t keep track of my progress. No automatic save, and having to start over from the slow first wave all the time is too boring to contemplate.
There is no background to why you are stuck in this parking garage. With no story whatsoever the game solely relies on you getting hooked on replaying the game, as an arcade shooter. This is not the strength of the game at all. Without story any arcade game has to bring some other kind of mechanic to keep me entertained. Getting better guns, or new kinds of ammo would be one. Bonus if a limb was shoot clean off would be another. Now I simply get to fire my gun, swivel, fire, swivel, fire, swivel and reload.
The graphics are sparse, but do convey a sense of lonely desperation. Great lighting effects combined with a fairly detailed environment make for good atmosphere. The zombies could be more diverse, and have dismemberment effects for example. The sound is also quite good at conveying a sense of terror with grunts coming from all directions.

Affliction is an augmented reality zombie survival shooter with a lot of issues, and limited content. It feels more like a tech demo, or proof of concept than a proper game. If you want to blast zombies there are better alternatives out there.

 

Final Rating

not-good

Affliction $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Version: 1.0
Seller: Will Perl

 

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  • neetyneety

    It seems that on earlier gen devices, (presumably those without a gyroscope) you’re limited to the virtual joystick control setup. Obviously this takes away a whole chunk of the appeal, since it seems that they intended it to be like an augmented reality experience. Plus, I don’t know if it’s any more fun on co-op mode, as searching on Game Center for even half an hour yielded no results. Disappointing really, as I was hoping for something absolutely horrific and tense. N.Y. Zombies is a much better alternative, plus it seems a sequel is in the works.

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