Review: Mass Effect: Infiltrator

Mass Efffect Infiltrator logo

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Despite some flaws Mass Effect: Infiltrator is still an entertaining game and the best example of a Third Person Shooter I've played on my iPod Touch

Mass Effect: Infiltrator is EA’s iOS game from the makers of the Dead Space iOS game. You play as Randall Ezno, a veteran Cerberus agent who goes rouge when the facility director experiments on his friend (lover?) and vows to take Cerberus down.

The whole plot of Mass Effect: Infiltrator is pretty weak. I mean, there is a plot and all that, Randall decides to turn on Cerberus when he get’s back from a mission because the director of the facility tries to experiment on Randall’s doctor/friend/lover/something. The game does a pretty bad job with its story and character development, you don’t really learn who Inali (the one experimented on) is to Randall or who the Volus that helps you is. You don’t even meet the mysterious facility director face to face. Randall turns on the organisation he’s part of far too quickly to avenge someone that the player just assumes is his doctor. It’s not even clear if Randall knows about all the sick experiments Cerberus performs before he goes rouge.

I could forgive the game being light on the plot and story if we had a sort of in game codex that explained who these characters were and why we should care about them and their relationships but there is nothing of the sort. Even having completed the game I still don’t know who Inali was other than Randall’s doctor or handler. It just seems a shame that a game set in the Mass Effect universe, a universe that has such interesting lore, has such poor characters and story. You do get some more insight into the experiments that Cerberus runs, not just on alien species but on their own kind as well.

Mass Effect Infiltrator combat

The game itself though is a cover based, third-person shooter controlled entirely through touch. You start with an Assault Rifle, Shotgun and a Biotic Pull power and it plays similarly enough to the actual Mass Effect games. You shoot at dudes, use you powers on dudes to make it easier to shoot at them and hide behind cover. The encounters are kind of like a shooting gallery. You can chain kills together and get more ‘style points’ by switching up your kills by using different powers or weapons and if you ever get into trouble can activate a stealth mode to turn invisible and run away to recover. For the most part it controls very well with swipes moving you from cover to cover and a tap on an enemy to start shooting at them and then a move of your thumb to aim for headshots. The touch controls don’t work all the time though; I had a lot of trouble switching weapons and biotic powers and some times the game didn’t pick up on me tapping an enemy. This could be a legitimate problem with the game or it could be due to my thumbs and how I hold the device but I don’t have problems in other iOS games I play. On the whole though it controlled better than I expected it would even with the problems.

At the end of each combat encounter you are ranked based on style, time and health and the more stars you earn the more credits you receive. These credits can then be spent in the store to buy new armour, weapons or ability upgrades. Of course there are also in app purchases where you can but credits using your real money if for some reason you feel the need to but I got through the game fine without needing a credit boost, I didn’t even cash in the collectable Intel for credits, I decided to save it to go towards galactic readiness in Mass Effect 3. You get plenty of credits throughout the game if you do well enough in combat encounters and scan terminals around the environments for credits.

Mass Effect Infiltrator outside

Mass Effect: Infiltrator looks pretty damn impressive with some nicely detailed models and textures. I’m not sure how well it looks on the larger iPad screen but on my iPod touch it looked very, very nice. For the most part the game ran fine but there were a lot of areas where the frame rate dropped dramatically. This could be because of the iPod (4th gen) or could just be the game. I may very well perform better on an iPad 2. The game does have a very nice presentation overall though (minus some rare clipping glitches) with some nice music throughout the game and in the menus.

On the whole Mass Effect: Infiltrator is a pretty damn good attempt at making a console like third person shooter on a touch screen device. It looks good and sounds good and is fun to play and longer than I thought it would be (although still kind of short). There is even a New Game + mode to play through so you keep your upgrades and a chapter select and you can always try to get the most points/stars on each encounter.

Mass Effect: Infiltrator is available now on the iTunes store.