Shadowgun Reader Review
Madfinger Games are going to get a whole lot of rotten eggs thrown at their face. Why? Shadowgun. Gears of War fanboys will be in rage when they see this game and how they say it's 'original'. Now I'm sure that won't happen after all it's just a £5.50 game right? Well sort of. This game was hyped up for two reasons.
- It was Gears for War for mobile devices
- The graphics were insanely gorgeous.
So has Shadowgun delivered on these two things? Yes. But then again that's just two things right? Does the whole game deliver? Not really.
The game begins with arguably the most epic, beautiful opening movie ever conceived on iOS and Android. You are John Slade who in turn is a Shadowgun a type of mercenary in the future. John works for Toltech a police force/mercenary agency company. They ask John to fly out to the planet Eve to find Dr Edgar Simon and bring him back to Toltech, preferably alive. John goes into his ship, The Rook, and flies off to Eve. His company is a robot S.A.R.A. who gives funny dialogue occasionally. As the opening movie comes to a close rockets sent by the Evil Doctor forces you to crash land onto Eve. It pretty much means you now have a good excuse the shoot everything in sight. So not much in terms in story but there is a small twist in the final act of the game (that I wont spoil).
The graphics are very pretty as they say but this was on my iPod 3G so on an iPad 2 the game must look stunning. The graphics in the opening movie and the actual game are very similar which is cool because certain other games (pretty much ALL Gameloft games) build you up with an epic intro but then the REAL graphics kick in and you get disappointed. The locations here look realistic and nice. You go into some corridors, some labs and some bunkers but that's about it unfortunately. When the game runs out of locations it just reuses them again but places different enemies in them, which, for the premium price, is a massive shame. Characters models are detailed but again there are literally only about four enemies and only about two of them are truly detailed. This is because the other two are small robots so no matter how much detail are on them they still look simplistic. However I will say that the main characters (John, S.A.R.A. and the Evil Doctor) all look incredibly detailed and realistic. It's just a shame this high amount of care wasn't implmented into more enemies and locations.
The real question on everyone's lips is: What's the gameplay like? Is it really that much like Gears of War? Simply put, yes it's pretty much exactly the same gameplay but this hasn't been on mobile yet and dont forget the gameplay is still mighty fun. The game consists of three things.
- Hiding behind cover and popping up to shoot the enemies
- Pressing an icon to do something like open a door.
- Play an easy, basic hacking minigame to proceed to other areas.
The gameplay is basic stuff and at the same time it's the game's main flaw. The game is fun, I'll give it that, but shooting mutants in the face is only fun for so long. There are a couple of bosses to mix things up but it's the same thing: shooting them in the face.
There's no variety in Shadowgun at all and with a six to seven hour campaign it stretches on far too long.
The game is just too repetitive for it's own good and if you seriously want to see the end you'll end up having to grind through it with no enjoyment. However I want to say that Shadowgun doesn't fail completely in the gameplay department. The cover shooting is very fun and nice with destructible cover and tense situations. My statement still stands though that once you're on about Level 6 you'll get bored of the mechanic.
Another flaw is that there are literally four guns in the game. A machine gun, a grenade launcher, a shotgun and a rocket launcher. No pistols, no sniper rifles and no alien guns. There was a potential here but Madfinger just fell short.
The controls are quite basic but easy to get a grip of. The left side of the screen controls John's movements. The right side of the screen controls the camera. There's also a weapon selection button, a shoot button and a reload button. My biggest praise for the controls is the inclusion of a 'move buttons' feature. This means you can move all the icons in the HUD around the screen in your most comfortable position. For me, I find myself constantly shooting when I want to turn the camera. However with a change of the button position that never happens, so well done Madfinger for that option. The controls overall are solid and customisable.
Shadowgun is a disappointment. It's a classic case of graphics over gameplay since Madfinger clearly wanted the Unity engine to power their game and yes it looks beautiful but the actual game is flawed. Now they say Shadowgun is the first in a franchise so if they improve upon these flaws, Shadowgun 2 could be a blast. Shadowgun is just not enough for a £5.50 price tag. There's promises of multiplayer which may bump up my score but it's still shooting things in the face and after the campaign I don't think anyone's going to bother too much about that. TPS fans will like Shadowgun but even they will see the lack of variety in just about everything.