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Infected (PSP) artwork

Infected (PSP) review


"I think there’s one problem with the PSP that most of us reviewers are ignoring: we don’t know what we want with it. Since the technology is so advanced, we want a console experience in our hands. We want the best graphics, the best gameplay, and the best stories. We want it all. But at the same time, we want quick, breezy games with fast load times, so when we’re waiting in line or for the bus, we can just turn it on and play a game. It doesn't seem like we can have both desires solved by a sin..."



I think there’s one problem with the PSP that most of us reviewers are ignoring: we don’t know what we want with it. Since the technology is so advanced, we want a console experience in our hands. We want the best graphics, the best gameplay, and the best stories. We want it all. But at the same time, we want quick, breezy games with fast load times, so when we’re waiting in line or for the bus, we can just turn it on and play a game. It doesn't seem like we can have both desires solved by a single game.

Sure, the PSP has a few games that do a good job at just loading up and going, but there aren't any games as accessible as Mario Kart DS. Infected tries to answer all of our wishes in one UMD-sized package. It’s a pretty breezy, light game that’s quick to load and provides short-bursts of gameplay, but it's also loaded with features like wireless multiplayer, character customization, and some impressive graphics.

Infected is basically a videogame adaptation of the hit film 28 Days Later that starred the dreamy Cillian Murphy. Disease-ridden zombies are running around the streets of New York, infecting anyone that stands in their way with flesh-rotting viruses. You're humanity's only hope, an armed-to-the-teeth cop who isn't affected by the virus!

(!)


As you've probably guessed, it’s your job to go from area to area saving the few remaining civilians that have resisted infection and killing as many zombies as you can. You’ll quickly discover that killing zombies on your PSP is just as enjoyable as killing zombies anywhere else. Infected isn’t a Resident Evil-style zombie adventure where ammunition is scarce and the gameplay is slow. Instead, you’re packing lots of ammo and constantly running around, trying to find the best vantage point to launch loads of buckshot into zombies from your shotgun.

Infected's combat engine is a little different than most others in this genre. First, you have to attack them with a conventional weapon, and then you need to shoot these walking bags of disease with your “viral gun,” which makes them explode. If you can weaken a whole group of zombies with physical attacks and lure them all together, you can perform a combo attack that creates a truly epic mess of zombie parts. Watching seven or eight zombies explode in a bloody pile of limbs is incredibly satisfying.

Yeah, Infected is simple, and with some graphical concessions this game would probably be possible on the original Gameboy Advance. Here's that’s the thing: this feels like a handheld game. It isn’t a PS2 port; it's a game specifically designed for the PSP, and I think that's worthy of praise. It doesn’t feel like the developers set out to make a console game to port to the PSP, they set out to make an entertaining PSP game. Sure, it can get repetitive at times, but it’s great for just sitting down and playing for ten minutes at a time when you’re on the bus or waiting for class to start. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It helps that Infected is so attractive. Sure, the PSP has a few games that look better, but I doubt you’re going to see a chainsaw-wielding Santa Clause in Coded Arms or Spiderman 2. One of the biggest pluses in this game is the sheer amount of on-screen action: dozens of zombies will be coming right at you, flinging pus and vomit along the way, and the game never slows down. Combine this with loads of character creation options and neat weapons effects, like flying plasma and rockets, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more competent graphics engine on the PSP.

A lot of time went into the sound, too. I’m not a huge fan of any of the bands on the soundtrack, which is dominated by Slipknot, Ill Nino, Fear Factory, and Chimaira, but anyone who likes this shit is probably going to be pleased. If you’re like me, you’ll probably just turn it down because it's awful. During the game, periodic news sequences pop up tracking the progress of the zombie invasion, and these are quite funny (they reminded me a lot of Starship Troopers). When the delightful blonde reporter interrupts a children’s show and begins talking about mothers “ripping out the stomachs of their children,” you can’t help but crack a smile.

Ultimately, it’s Infected’s multiplayer options that you should purchase it for. You can play either wireless against your friends or out in cyberspace against random guys. In multiplayer matches, your character is a unique “virus,” which means if you win against someone, your virus infects them. If they win a match against someone else, they spread your virus to them. You can then track how far your virus has traveled, which could potentially be across the globe in just a few games. This awesome feature is supplemented by a dozen different maps to play on, so you won't get bored soon.

With over forty levels, it’s got just the right amount of depth to be a top-shelf PSP game. The great graphics, awesome multiplayer, and reasonably long campaign mode are sure to keep you pleased for a while. I won’t even mention the fact that this is pretty much the only “gory” or “adult” game on the PSP that’s any good. Infected is an entertaining game. Don’t hesitate to pick it up.

Rating: 8/10

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Featured community review by asherdeus (January 24, 2006)

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