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Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Shadowgun: DeadZone

Madfinger Games comfortably sits among a small handful of iOS and Android developers that can push mobile graphics to the limit.  Time and again, the studio delivers a visual experience that looks almost as good as the stuff we’ve seen on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Graphics, of course, can only take a game so far, and nowhere is this more evident than with Shadowgun: DeadZone, Madfinger’s newest creation.  We can see where the company wants to go with this title.  Whether or not it’ll get there remains to be seen.
With this in mind, DeadZone is a third-person multiplayer-focused shooter.  Up to 10 players can wage war across two modes (Deathmatch, Zone Control) via online connection, and a research option lets them unlock the more high-powered weapons over time.  It’s basically a console lite experience in your pocket, but with touch controls.
What’s Hot
When it works, Shadowgun: DeadZone provides frantic multiplayer mayhem.  Sure, the modes are fairly standard compared to other games, but there’s something cool about seeing this on an iPad.  The virtual controls work just fine, with a left analog stick to move, the right side for manipulating the camera, and assorted buttons to shoot and roll.  Grenades are a great way to score double kills, and more effective guns improve the fun, considerably.
Of course, this being a game from Madfinger, the graphics are top notch.  Granted, DeadZone has a very Gears of War vibe design wise, but the futuristic environments and character models will have plenty of curious passersby doing a double take.
What’s Not
Prepare for lag, and lots of it.  Players teleport around the maps, making them tough to hit.  Of course, joining a match may take awhile, as the game appears to have server issues.  What’s more, although Madfinger offers a premium subscription (this costs actual money) that adds voice chat, this feature doesn’t seem to work all that well.
The Verdict: A Work In Progress
At this point, Shadowgun: DeadZone’s biggest selling point is the fact that it’s free, which means you don’t have to waste a couple bucks to find out it’s broken.  Thankfully, Madfinger is aware of the various issues and has an update on the way.  We think the game is worth a look, but it should provide a better experience weeks from now. Be on the lookout for that update.

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