In the last couple of years, Steam has been hosting a number of games of dubious quality. Sadly, a fair share of such âqualityâ titles have been the effortsÂ to port mobile games to PC. Even some of the big development houses messed this up (Deus Ex: The Fall immediately springs to mind), so itâs obvious that itâs not a simply copy/paste task. Thankfully, Global Outbreak is not a crappy port. Sure, it is clear that itâs a mobile game first and foremost, but itâs been nicely upgraded and transfered to everyoneâs favourite gaming platform.
Global Outbreak: Doomsday Edition is a game about saving the world from an alien zombie infection, thereâs no going around that. Basically, about a dozen meteors crash into Earth, each carrying the same strain of a virus that turns infected humans into murderous cannibals. With the worldâs armies suspiciously debilitated, itâs up to your mercenary group to stomp out the plague as soon as possible. Upon the start ofÂ your first campaign, you will be greeted by a digital representation of this gameâs planet Earth â something XCOM veteransÂ are fairly comfortable with. From there, you have to build your first combat-ready base, assign mercs, equip them and start kicking ass. Itâs a fairly simple setup, but Global Outbreak makes it seem complicated due to its strangely convoluted interface. The (sadly low-textured) planet is fitted with a whole load of outpost positions, and since their connecting grid intersects with other neon-coloured points of interest, itâs easy to miss important functions if youâre new to the game. However, it all boils down to three basic gameplay mechanics â and itâs up to you to shuffle between them as different situations arise. The first function is the ground assault, where you send a handful of mercs to complete random missionsÂ on randomly generated maps. The levels would definitely benefit from more tileset variety but the engine is still able to churn out some interesting tile combos. Of course, you get to control your squad as they pursue their objective and cut through hordes of zombies, but weâll get back to this a bit later.Â Sometimes, youâll have no choice but to exterminate the entire population of the infected city via gunships. This is the second function â air strike. Assault helicopters fly to the selected node and wreak havoc. After the deedâs done, the third activity comes into play: the cleanup crew. By sending people in to completely clear the area of infection, you basically reset the nodeâs state to healthy, and youâre ready to move on to the next area. Of course, youâre free to balance as many operations at once as you wish, but focusing on a handful is usually the happiest solution.
And, basically, thatâs all there is to it. Everything else is just there to add fluff and content to the basic system Iâve described above. But you wonât be spending that much time in the overworld anyway, since Global Outbreak has groundÂ combat as its backbone. Upon your squadâs arrival to the given level, you take control over one of the couple of assigned soldiers. Using WASD and mouse, you move and attack, while your AI compatriots do the same by their own accord. Interestingly, your squaddies are usually more precise and less hesitant to shoot than you are, which often leads to AI-controlled men levelling up faster. Since I touched upon the subject, levelling your troops is a fairly simplistic task in this game, and besides changing the givenÂ characterâs visual appearance, it slightly increases his stats, allows the usage of more advanced weaponry and unlocks new upgrades. But I digress.
The missions are played out from the isometric perspective, allowing good visual connection withÂ whatâs actually going on down in the trenches. The first couple of missions isÂ fairly easy and short, but the difficulty ramps up quickly. Itâs not that hardÂ to keep two or three infected away at once, but double that number and youâve got a serious problem at hand. The missions are of the classical variety, what with all the extermation, defense and escort tasks the game throws towards the player. Now, if youâve played an isometric shooter of any kind, you have Global Outbreakâs ground assault covered. But what disappointed me in terms of gameplay is the severe lack of hit feedback this game displays. Lacking the better description, I can only say that while the guns are nicely balanced and powerful enough, killing zombies feels floaty at best. Even a simple hit-marker would help in making it more engaging, I believe. Thatâs not to say that combat isnât capable of hooking you. Honestly, killingÂ the walkers and moving troops across the infected cityscape reminded me heavily of Prototypeâs Blackwatch, which is badass. The animations, however, leave much to be desired, and the game would be much more impactful had they been reworked. Thankfully, the visuals do look nice for a mobile game. Colours are vivid and work in tandem with the intensive shadows, leaving a very positive overall impression. Of course, the textures could be better, but none of them pop out too much, disregarding the oneÂ plastered to the globe. The sounds arenât something to write home about, but arenât too bad either. A mediocre effort, Iâd say.
The story is best left undescribed, however. Now, it does work in the presented environment, but itâs practically nonexistant. The only reason I gave it a score at all is because it exists, mostly as an intro movie. But thatâs not important in this game, really.
All in all, had Global Outbreak been built for PC from the ground-up, we would have a pretty great mash-up of systems that havenât really been properly combinedÂ yet. This way, its rootsÂ seem to cut it down a couple of notches. Still, if you can handle a quirk here and there and like the basic premise, you shouldnât have too much trouble playing the game.