Mass Effect Infiltrator is the latest iOS release from Electronic Arts, and it was developed by the same people who brought us the excellent Dead Space on iOS. This app was made to promote and coincide with the release of Mass Effect 3, which sadly I haven’t had a chance to play yet. It’s a fairly solid action title with some nice set pieces and encounters, but unfortunately the clunky controls can kill a lot of the fun, and the story and voice acting aren’t really up to par.
You play as Randall, a Cerberus operative who rebels after his partner is taken. With the help of a mysterious Volus, you take out an entire branch of Cerberus single handedly. The voice acting is a mixed bag, ranging from decent, to cheesy, to cringe inducing. The story itself is really lacking, and it really has nothing to do with Mass Effect. Other than a few meaningless character mentions and a sprinkling of the various iconic alien races, the story really isn’t tied to the epic galactic conflict against the Reapers.
Combat is the main course for this game, and it’s pretty good. The swipe and tap controls really are quite intuitive. Unfortunately, they don’t really work a lot of the time. It’s full of crazy camera glitches and the ridiculous targeting system keeps you from shooting someone just because they’re behind cover, even if they’re wide open and in your line of sight. You control Randall with some basic twin stick action, and aiming and firing is done mostly automatically. Tap on an enemy to target him, and then slightly adjust your aim as your gun auto-fires. The guns themselves are pretty limited and weak in the grand scheme of things. The real powerful attacks lie in your biotic abilities, though sitting around and waiting for those to recharge can be a pain.
After each enemy encounter, you’ll be rated based on your style, remaining health, and the amount of time you took to get the job done. The style system requires that you kill each enemy in different ways, and rewards you for chaining attacks together rather than going in Rambo-style. I like this system, but once again, the frustrating controls and questionable design mechanics make it hard to keep up. You’ll also be rewarded with credits and intel, the latter of which can be traded for credits or uploaded to your Origin account to help out with your Mass Effect 3 completion rating. You can take credits into the store at any time to purchase new items, abilities, and equipment, or to upgrade your existing arsenal.
This game looks pretty great. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but the graphics are definitely polished and everything retains that Mass Effect geometric style. The sound design and music are all top notch as well. Really, this isn’t a true Mass Effect game, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s a fun, action packed spinoff.
That’s also why it’s so frustrating that so many unnecessary elements were included, like the most ridiculous and pointless adoption of the Paragon/Renegade morality system I’ve ever seen. This isn’t a bad game, but it has some serious kinks to work out before it can be considered good. Personally, I didn’t mind many of the flaws and was able to enjoy the game despite them, but that’s just me. Mass Effect Infiltrator is iOS Universal and available for seven dollars at the time of this review. Unless you really don’t care about the difficult controls and design flaws, I’d wait for a sale or price drop on this one.
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