People mocked me when I said that I would trade in my PlayStation Vita for a Nexus 7 a couple of months back. Then along comes a title like SHADOWGUN: Deadzone and I’m quickly reminded why I made the switch. The original SHADOWGUN was dubbed by many folks as “Gears of War mobile” and with good reason since it borrows a lot from the successful console and PC shooter. With DeadZone, the team at MADFINGER Games finally introduces an online multiplayer mode. So how does it play? Read on to find out.
For starters, you need to keep in mind that the game is currently in beta in the Google Play store. Also, it is only for devices featuring the NVidia’s Tegra 3 processor. Because of it’s Tegra 3 requirement, you should already know that the game looks just as good as its single player predecessor. You may encounter the occasional “invisible gun” here and there, but for the most part, this is one you’ll definitely want to use to show off your mobile device.
The beta features two modes of play. The first being “Deathmatch,” which is obviously — you against the world. The map you play in, named “core,” is an indoor, multi level factory. At first — due to some vertical elements — it appears to be a large map, but once you run around you’ll quickly realize that it’s actually tiny and spawn camping can quickly become an issue. Once people pick up on the ability to use a rocket launcher as a default weapon, things can get silly, quickly.
The second mode (and the real star of the show here) that you can play in the beta is “Zone Control.” It takes place on a map named “invasion.” This map is of the outdoor variety and is actually rather large. It consists of two bases on opposite ends of the map with plenty of cover and alternate routes of advancement between them. Its size and layout certainly play as a strength to this particular mode of play.
Zone control has two teams, red and blue, fight one another in order to control different points of the map. Like other domination modes found in popular shooters, each team need to control different zones (see what they did there) on the map for a set amount of time until they make it their own. Once a team controls most of the map for a majority of the time, they win.
As far as the controls go, if you’ve played SHADOWGUN before you’ll know exactly what to expect here. Again, this is a shooter created for touch screen devices, so at first you will have to look down at the buttons as you get started and firefights will seem a bit frantic without the feedback of physical buttons, but once you get used to it you’ll realize that it can be just as intuitive as a regular non-touch controls. Although, I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t be trying this out with my PS3 remote, just to see what kind of damage I can do using that kind of advantage.
Whenever playing a multiplayer shooter game on a mobile device, hit detection can be hit or miss. I can say that in DeadZone, not only is it on point, but you’ll also be alerted on your headshot kills as well as any kill assists. Considering that kill types are being tracked, one would hope to see some kind of progression or challenge system come in to play for different kills, but from what I’ve seen so far, no dice. Hopefully this is something that is changed when the game comes out of beta.
Also included in DeadZone are weapon and item load-outs, both of which can be customized at the game’s main screen. Players will also be able to hook up with their friends in battle. Although the beta, at this point, does not feature a lobby system, you can simply search for your friends by their username and jump right in.
All in all, the beauty about SHADOWGUN: DeadZone is that even though it’s only on mobile devices, it offers a fairly deep online shooter experience with the flexibility to jump in, get a quick multiplayer fix, and jump out. If they can somehow cram in chat support (fingers crossed here, but not holding my breath), SHADOWGUN: DeadZone has the potential to easily be a Google Play favorite and one of the best mobile games of 2012.
If you have a Tegra 3 device, you can download the beta here.