Zombies, genetically altered humans, monster dogs, and an impressive array of toys to kill them all with. That is just a taste of what Badfly Interactive’s latest installment of the Dead Effect series, Dead Effect 2, has to offer. Need more? How about three playable characters, unlockable skill progression, and a crazy amount of customizable items, armor sets, and implants to get your fearless, undead killing machine up and running with ruthless efficiency?
Take a look at our gameplay video below:
It is fair to say that Dead Effect 2 has a decent amount to offer the VR shooter scene, but in the end, items and waves of bad guys will only entertain us for so long. So how does this game differ from the countless other available wave shooters currently on Steam? About ten hours of play in the solo campaign mode with a decent story is a great place to start. The four additional gameplay modes, such as Survival and Biohazard mode, are just icing on the cake. Let’s take a closer look.
Select and Customize Your Playstyle
In Dead Effect 2, you will take on the role of one of three different genetically engineered humans: Gunnar Davis – a heavy weapons hulk, Jane Frey – a short range specialist with a love for shotguns, and Kay Rayner – a melee weapons fighter that is also skilled with the compound bow. All three share some common unlockable skills and abilities, but each also has its own unique “special ability” skill tree that compliments their intended playstyle. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, your creators (think mad scientists) have decided that you and those like you need to be terminated. You now must fight their security forces and horrific experiments in order to survive. The situation looks grim and your best bet is to pick up a little help along your way.
You will come across a few NPCs that will join in on your fight, each bringing something new to the party and offering a range of quests that will progress the single player campaign mode. Most notably, these NPCs will unlock access to some nifty item shops and customization menus. For example, the engineer will give you access to a weapons shop and an upgrade menu that will allow you to further customize each weapon. The creepy doctor will give you access to an equipment and implant shop, each with upgrade menus, and the mysterious woman you meet at the start of the game will grant you access to the skill progression menus.
All of the shops will offer different items for a limited amount of time before updating their inventory. The currency to buy all of these wonderful toys is found throughout the missions and is awarded, in addition to experience points and items, at the end of each mission.
Finding Your Way One Corpse at a Time
Badfly Interactive boasts Dead Effect 2 as having ten plus hours of solo gameplay with the possibility of co-op gameplay in the future, giving this VR shooter a crazy amount of replay value on top of an already impressive single player campaign. The groundwork is already evident by looking at their mission selection and setup design choices. Once a mission is offered, you can access it any number of times from a map of the ship in your character staging area. This is also where you access the various shops, upgrade menus, and quests. Once selected, you can choose a difficulty setting ranging from “Easy” to “Hell” before you launch into the mission zone. This is definitely a multiplayer friendly design, and the higher level difficulties offer better loot, providing an incentive to replay once your character is more developed in both single and co-op gameplay.
On the Move
Dead Effect 2 has both free movement and teleport movement available at the same time through the trackpads on the Vives controllers. The only trouble I ran into with movement was that backing up could sometimes be tricky. I would start to back up but then just stop dead in my tracks. Being forced to turn tail and run during later levels in places where I should have been able to backpedal and keep shooting was disappointing, but there is no shame in a tactical retreat when demons start jumping over guard rails in your direction (I barely screamed at all though). The other controls will be familiar to most by now. You interact with objects through touch and grip, and use your trigger to fire. The touch controls really make the various menus and keypads in this game feel natural.
I would have liked a little more balance while using the various types of weapons during gameplay. The guns seem to kick excessively on screen while the feedback through the controllers is very low, and the mix makes the experience odd. The melee weapons could also use a stronger feedback when you chop or stab into something. I am not saying that simply because I am a little twisted in the old noodle; that feedback goes a long way to enforce the overall VR experience.
She’s Got the Look
Graphically, this game is easy on the eyes with an almost Doom 3 vibe. The various environments make each level unique and creepy enough to keep you looking over your shoulder. The gore and monsters are definitely good quality, but the friendly NPCs have a very odd and rigid appearance, which is unfortunate because you will be spending a fair amount of time interacting with them. I would have almost preferred a cool looking robot to the first NPC you come across; she looks like a Half-Life scientist in drag, but with no soul. The various weapons all have their own flavor and look fantastic. Oh, and most importantly, you have actual arms! No running around with floating guns in this game (seriously devs, floating guns are just ridiculous) so thank you, Badfly devs, for that.
The game has a fairly decent soundtrack that gets your blood pumping when bad guys start flooding in. This definitely provides the necessary audio cues to let you know that things are about to get crazy, but at the same time you can shut the music off and not be handicapped. The sound effects are good with a fair amount of range between monster types and weapons, but the background ambiance could use a little more love.
The environments feel a little flat with the music off; some spooky sounds and spaceship noises would go a long way for players that don’t enjoy the soundtrack. Dead Effect 2 also has voice acting, and it actually sounds great. The creepy doctor is by far my favorite and had me mimicking him during my bloody exploits. Seriously, give it a go and you will wish it was your character’s default voice in no time at all.
Another Step in the Right Direction
My first play session with this game was almost three hours and a large part of that was simply because this game is filled with little features and mechanics that I really enjoyed playing with. You have a head mounted flashlight that you turn on by touching your head and a motion scanner that will make you feel like you’re hunting down xenomorphs. There are various hidden items throughout the levels and, much to my liking, a nifty arrow that will guide you to your next waypoint that you can access through your PDA.
You are sometimes required to play little mini games to unlock doors, and while they are by no means difficult, they do add a little something extra to the game. While none of these are really pivotal to the gameplay, these features do show off the designer’s love for this game and desire to make it enjoyable for most types of players.
Dead Effect 2 is not a perfect game, but it is definitely a game that addresses what other VR shooters are lacking and flaunts a great deal of potential for an early access game. At $19.99, this game is a definite buy if you’re a fan of shooters. With a strong player community on Steam and regular developer updates, Dead Effect 2 is shaping up to be one of the top shooters currently available on Steam.
Check out the game trailer below:
Title: Dead Effect 2 VR
Genre: Action, Indie, RPG, Early Access
Developer: BadFly Interactive, a.s.
Publisher: BadFly Interactive, a.s.
Release Date: Jun 8, 2017