2013: Infected Wars review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: iOS
Publisher: Action Mobile Games
Developer: Action Mobile Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes

I’ll be frank: 2013: Infected Wars is a pretty bad game. If you’re looking for a hidden Vita gem, keep on looking, because it’s pretty much the polar opposite of that. By virtually any measure you can imagine, it’s not very good.

And yet…I kind of like it.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to suggest it’s worth buying if your choice is between this and almost any other game. It’s really only worth picking up if you’re a dedicated Vita completist like me, or if your Vita has a third person shooter-shaped whole in it (also like me) or if you just have an affinity for terrible games (again, like me). Basically, 2013: Infected Wars is the perfect game for me and almost no one else. For the most part, people are going to look at 2013 and see only the bad — and really, they won’t have to look very hard.

It’s important to note that, to an extent, 2013 is bad by design. This much should be evident from the name; it was a little dumb when the game first came out in its titular year, and it’s still dumb today. As if the heavy-handed humour wasn’t obvious enough from the fact the game is called “2013: Infected Wars”, it gets driven home by a voiceover that explains how al-Qaeda caused a zombie apocalypse with a dirty bomb in — you guessed it — 2013. The intentional badness is rounded out by other voiceovers throughout the game that sound like they were shouted through a tin can and a piece of string.

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It’s clear, though, that 2013 isn’t just intentionally or ironically bad — it’s just straight up bad, too. That much is obvious from the graphics, which look straight out of the PS2 era — assuming they were subsequently filtered through an older model iPhone, too. It’s obvious from the way the characters move; whether it’s the way your main character seems to stumble sideways through each level, or the fact all the zombies seem to seem to fly backwards like stiff plywood when they get shot, there’s nothing remotely natural or fluid about any character movements here.

Really, it’s obvious in every aspect of the game: the fact all the weapons have the same impacts, even if their respective strengths are clearly different. The lousy aiming, which makes it impossible to tell whether a shot is going to blast a zombie’s brains out or glance off their arms leaving nothing more than a flesh wound. The way that…well, you probably get my point. Any way 2013 could be bad, it is.

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So why do I still like it? For most of the reasons enumerated above. Because I like playing bad games. Because I’m a fan of third-person shooters, even if they’re terrible. Because it allows me to play a mediocre (at best) iOS shooter with buttons instead of touch controls, which — I have to admit — was a big part of why I switched from gaming on my phone to buying a PSP around five years ago.

In other words, not for any reason that’d be enough for me to make the leap from saying “I loved 2013!” to “I loved 2013…so you should too!” From any objective perspective, it’s probably not worth your time, so unless you happen to be me, stay far, far away.

Grade: C