Mass Effect is one of the biggest success stories of this generation of games. Bioware’s action/RPG/exploration hybrid series has sold millions and has turned into one of the biggest new franchises in gaming. Mass Effect already has a presence on iPhone with a previous game, a comic and a ‘datapad’ app, but it is fair to say that this is the closest thing we have had yet to a proper Mass Effect game on iOS.
The game concentrates on the action elements of Mass Effect, so it is a third person shooter, although it should be said that this is not a squad based shooter as you might have expected, but rather a single character affair, with you playing the ‘Infiltrator’ of the title.
This aspect is really the first disappointment for me. There is a real lack of squad based 3D shooters on iPhone and iPad, and Mass Effect could have been the perfect launch pad for the genre on iOS, but it was not to be.
The first thing that will strike you about the game is the stunning quality of the graphics. They are truly impressive, which is not unexpected given that this comes from the team behind the good looking Dead Space mobile game. The main character is incredibly highly detailed, and looks like he walked straight out of a full console game, and the backdrops and level feature some spectacular scenery. It really is gorgeous, although some of the enemies are lacking the same attention to detail, the animation on them is of a high standard.
The game doesn’t play like your standard thrid person shooter on iPhone, instead opting for a system where you touch to select an enemey, and then touch which weapon or biotic to use. For example, selecting a machine gun makes your character automatically point in the enemies vicinity, and you must simply finish off the aiming and time your shots. It is a clever system, and one that feels correct for a Mass Effect game, but it does have its drawbacks.
Shooting or interacting with enemies is fine from medium of long range, but the game does fall apart when fighting close up. The fact that there is no way of free firing without selecting an enemy means it is panic stations when a foe gets too close. This creates a situation where you are in cover for 95% of the combat situations. You pick a good spot and take down the enemies one by one, which does get extremely repetitive towards the end of the 5-6 hour campaign, and the game starts to feel very predictable.
There is nothing really wrong with the action, aside from the appalling close up situations, and the distance fighting is well done. Using biotics to pull an alien into midair, and out of cover before shooting him, is good fun, but a critical lack of variety hurts.
Throughout the games bite sized missions, you can earn credits to upgrade weapons and purchase new biotic powers, which is a good encouragement to replay old missions. You can also increase your Readiness Rating on Mass Effect 3 by playing through the game, which is a great touch, as is the nice addition of full voice acting.
The game is a good, solid cover shooter that does suffer from a lack of variety and pace. Mass Effect fans should definitely snap this up to complete their collection and add to the story, as Infiltrator proves to be a nice side story in the universe. For those of you without an interest in the Mass Effect franchise and are just looking for a decent shooter, then Mass Effect: Infiltrator is is a good option. The excellent graphics are the high point, but it doesn’t really stand out in any other way, and as such comes with a perhaps lower than expected score.