SONY PSP REVIEW: INFECTED
Infected
Excellent control
Edgy soundtrack for the kids
Most innovative PSP game ever
Online losers who log out when they're getting beaten. BOO!!
Lock on = great in single player Lock on = not so great in multi
Same 3 objectives

I wasn't sure what this game was all about but just to be on the safe side, I wore a condom while reviewing it. by Vaughn Smith

December 16, 2005 - You've got to hand it to Planet Moon Studios. Their short list of developed titles include some incredibly entertaining games such as Giants: Citizen Kabuto and the hilarous Armed & Dangerous. Infected is by far the most innovative PSP game ever developed for the system. It takes advantage of the wireless online play in a way that hasn't been done before and it ties it directly to the game theme. Double creative whammy!

Infected is a zombie shooter game. Humans are "infected" and turned into wandering stooges of the undead. As rookie cop Officer Stevens whom is immune to the virus thanks to his special DNA, it's your job to stop the zombies dead in their tracks by shooting them with his normal weapon which weakens the poor souls (they'll glow red when weakened). You can then finish them off with the "Viral" gun. The Viral gun is hardwired to Officer Steven's body, allowing him to shoot out his immunized blood at high velocity which will then cause the undead to splater. If you can get a couple of weakened zombies together you can cause a combo hit. And ff you're really good you can set off a cool combo chain reaction by lining up as many weakened "infected" as you can before splatting them into the hereafter.

The arcade style play is perfect for the gaming on the go nature of the PSP. It's not heavy on story, nor is it needlessly complicated. The game takes place in New York City so you'll recognize some of the landmarks as you attempt to rid the city of this new plague of bad news. You'll be given a selection of creative options to fashion your own Avatar and name it which will be spread if you play online (and win). As you advance you'll be able to unlock other Avatars such as Majesco's female butcheress Bloodrayne.

The single player game consists of almost 3 dozen levels. However each of these levels features only 1 of 3 objectives: Defend the humans, Rescue X amount of humans or kill all of the zombies. Unfortunately having only 3 varying objectives repeating over 35 levels makes Infected feel more than a little repetitive at times. You'll have to stick it out until the end of the game to mix it up a little bit more. But be warned that while most of the game is fairly easy, the last two levels really ramp up in difficulty. You'll really need to strategize regarding where to go and what to do if you want to pass Levels 34 & 35.

You'd be forgiven if you were under the impression that a FPS wouldn't work on a system that didn't come stock with 2 analog controls, but Planet Moon has managed to sidestep this issue by developing Infected with the PSP in mind. The PSP nub actually handles movement and camera control simultaneously and does so quite well. You'll be up and running in no time, thanks mostly in part to a lock on system that works great but does manage to alleviate the challenge throughout most of the game, especially online matches.

As mentioned Infected manages to incorporate the PSP's ability of online play to great effect. Although online play only supports One on One deathmatches (Ad Hoc supports up to 8), when you win a match either online or ad hoc, the loser(s) will be Infected with your avatar. This effectively means that if you continue to play well your avatar could seemingly be infecting "Infected" games throughout the entire world. Hats off to Planet Moon for devising this ingenious game mechanic which stays true to the heart and soul of Infected while creating an enticing reason to take the game online. Who wouldn't want to be world famous? To check out your stats Planet Moon has provided a World Map where you can see the damage your Infected Avatar is wreaking havoc. To rid yourself of an infection you must complete objectives in the game or battle online and actually stop sucking enough to win - which ramps up play value. Unfortunately the online play is somewhat lacking due to the One on One and lack of modes to play. Ad Hoc play is considerably more fun but you'll need to find other people with the game - and that could prove to be more difficult than saving NYC from a scare of zombies. Sorry, but I'm not sure what the collective noun is for zombies (you know...gaggle of geese, murder of crows...etc. so I made up my own). The biggest problem with the online play is finding someone to play against who isn't a spineless coward. As soon as you take the lead some players just log out which is ridiculous. Every so often you'll find a player who commits to the entire game even if they've got zippo...now that's a gamer! All you quitters should be ashamed of yourself. Losers!

Visually the game looks very nice. Infected features great zombie designs with my personal favorite being good old infected Saint Nick. New York also looks good as Planet Moon did a great job with the city perspective which gives it a sense of real depth. Musically the game features Slipknot and other heavy bands known for their intensity. While the music works well with the subject matter I prefer listening to bands who are known for their musicianship more so than their stage theatrics. If I want to listen to evil looking clowns play crappy music I'll buy serial killer John Wayne Gacy's Christmas CD "Merry Scary Axemas". I know the teenage boys in the crowd get off on Slipknot while rejecting the Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan's of the music world and my only question is "What's wrong with you?" Of course Spears and Lohan aren't musical geniuses, but are you telling me you'd rather look at a bunch of sweaty dudes in Halloween costumes than feast your eyes on a couple of fine looking women? That's messed up. Anyway my diatribe on todays music is over. Feel free to go back to loving Slipknot....maybe they'll hug you at their next concert if you're lucky.

Infected is one of those double edged swords. On one hand it's the most innovative PSP game ever created and on the other it just doesn't carry through on its promise of entertainment value due to the repetitive nature of the single player mission and the lackluster online mode. The other problem stems from a lack of real hype for Infected which translates into having less people to play against online which defeats the purpose of that wonderful "Infected Avatar" in the first place. That's not to say Infected isn't a blast to play. It's a great pick up and play arcade style shooter which will have you coming back for more on your quest for bigger and messier combos. The excellent control and lock on ability works wonders for the single player game but manages to dilute the online play by removing most of the challenge. If you're looking for something completely different, Infected is definitely it. But like a virus, you'll need to spread the gospel of Infected to your PSP pals around the globe so you can all attempt the ultimate bragging rights: Infecting the world!!

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

Rating out of 5
Infected (PSP)
4.5
Graphics
Clean, crisp, bloody and gory - just what the doctor ordered. NYC never looked so good on the small screen.
4.8
Control
Planet Moon did the impossible - created a FPS game entirely for the PSP which plays beautifully. Lock on does take away challenge in multiplayer though.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
I already whined about the soundtrack, but I know you kids like The SlipKnots. Heh heh. The Slipknots. That's what my grandma would call them. If she was alive, that is.
4.0
Online / Wi Fi
Online is lacking in terms of modes, but it's the act of Infecting other players with your avatar that makes this game ingenious.
4.5
Play Value
Go back for more to get bigger and better combos. Play levels or online to rid yourself of infection. Lots of play value, but repetitive.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great -
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
A Second Opinion Review - By Colin Thames

Infected is a mindless shoot em up that makes taking the bus or the subway go down that much easier for a big city commuter like myself. I love a game that I can play in small bites without having to flip through my mental rolodex of dramatic plotpoints just to catch up where I am the next time I power up my PSP. Infected is just my avatar, my weapon and my viral gun and lots of blood and that's just the way I like my portable games. Call me simple.

The game is extremely easy to pick up and play and although most PSP owners will have probably had a few console FPS under their belt, there will be the odd one who has never played one before. Infected is made not only with them in mind but the PSP system as well since it's missing the all important second analog stick. The single player game has taken me a week to play since I only play it during my commute and I have to admit that I haven't found anyone else to play it Ad Hoc. I have played only a couple of matches online and lost a couple, won a couple. I can see the whole global avatar infection being incredibly addictive. Who wouldn't want to see their avatar displayed on PSP's around the world?

Infected is fun with some shortcomings but there is magic here. As a single player game it's great fun, as an online game it has great potential but some missed opportunities.

Overall - 3.8
PReview by Vaughn

Great. Not even the handhelds are safe from infection any longer. Am I going to have to wear a condom when I play it?

Majesco and Planet Moon Studios, those talented quirky developers who brought us Armed & Dangerous and Giants: Citizen Kabuto, are working hard to release "Infected" on the PSP in the Fall of 2005.

It’s Christmas time in New York City and a strange virus has appeared turning seemingly normal citizens into the insane, violent Infected. Rookie Officer Stevens is one of the first victims but unlike others, is strangely immune. The mysterious Dr. Schaeffer discovers that Stevens’ blood can be used to destroy the otherwise invincible Infected, and creates a special “viral gun” that fills shells with blood from Stevens’ arm and blasts them straight into the Infected, causing them to violently explode.

“Infected will certainly be ‘socially communicable’ in that victorious players can wirelessly invade their opponents PSP systems and spread their unique virus literally around the world,” said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco. “This type of compelling game play is further enhanced by allowing players to check their ranking against other players, as well as see just how far their virus has spread.”

“Infected is an original game custom designed to take full advantage of the power of the PSP system,” said Bob Stevenson, CEO of Planet Moon Studios. “We look forward to working with Majesco to provide handheld gamers with an entirely new game play experience that’s full of new ideas and happens to be one hell of a good time.”

Featuring an engrossing single-player campaign with lavishly gory details, Infected unlocks the world of Wi-Fi via exciting multiplayer modes. To participate in multiplayer combat, players create their own character or avatar. Those who are victorious in combat can “infect” the loser’s PSP system with their avatar and gain ranking points. Avatars can be defeated through a variety of methods, as well as passed along from player to player thus creating a viral chain letter of attack.

Features:

  • Infect the world - spread your unique avatar like a virus to other players’ PSP systems via exciting multiplayer modes such as Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch;
  • Through multiplayer victories, players can potentially spread their avatars from player to player around the globe;
  • Form clans with shared uniforms, spreading the same unique virus to the lesser skilled;
  • Ultra-fast paced, two-gun action in the streets of New York;
  • Access a huge arsenal of guns and viral weapons, as well as special weapons like air strikes and fire trails that ignite chains of Infected;
  • Set off massive chain reactions of exploding Infected, showering the streets with blood.
Click For Media
System: PSP
Dev: Planet Moon
Pub: Majesco
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Review by Vaughn

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best