A pandemic has shattered the world we know (or rather knew in this case!) and you find yourself among the few who have survived the initial outbreak! “Contagion” is a predominately multiplayer game that revolves around a simple objective… survival! Work with others or be the lone wolf and glean what few items haven’t already been looted and do whatever you must to survive. Ammo is scarce, and noise detrimental to your health, so be careful with the decisions you make… as a wrong decision could well be your last! Now, before I go any further, I think it’s important to point out that Contagion is still currently in Early Release. Things are still being tweaked, added, and fine-tuned at this point. That being said, I hardly think it’s fair to give it a full preview at this time. Consider this more of a first impression preview. I’m pretty sure I’ll be more than ready to come back to this game in the future though, and give it a proper review after its release date.
So…What do we have here? Another zombie survival game? Well, yes and no. While there are plenty of zombies to worry about, you aren’t likely to be running and gunning, hoping to survive another round of the living dead. That tactic just isn’t likely to work in your best interest in Contagion. Supplies are very limited, and it is easy to run out of ammo simply fending off a hand full of zombies. Thankfully the AI in this game works well with the style of gameplay. The zombies meander along aimlessly, staring at blank walls and seem to genuinely be uninterested in you. That is, of course, until you catch their attention. Then they want nothing more than to run up and greet you!
The multiplayer plays very well, although the load time can be a little long. To survive, you really do need to work as a team. Communication is encouraged, and you can share your supplies amongst each other, dropping ammo and weapons as needed. Even if you’re in a quiet group, the cell phone you carry will let you know when an objective has been completed and tells you where to go next to begin the next objective.
In regards to your weapons selection, I’ve found that melee weapons are your best friend. They allow you transverse the map relatively quietly. While guns, as mentioned earlier, may not be your best option in Contagion, they still definitely have their uses, especially when you have too much attention and need to clear a hole quickly. I do, however, feel like the aiming is slightly awkward as they have no sights on your gun (other than the sniper rifle of course). Even when you raise your gun to take aim, all you really do is place the tip of the barrel over the enemy you wish to shoot and pull the trigger.
Right now there are only three maps to play on and three different modes of play. These are escape (my personal favorite!), Extraction, and hunted. I really enjoyed escape and extraction, as they really encourage you to play as a team, but hunter just didn’t flow well for me. While the concept of surviving the zombie onslaught while hunting other players is absolutely great, the levels just felt too spread out for it to translate to a fun experience. It seemed as though you would wander around for long stints of time before you came across another player, leaving the experience mildly boring. Another cool aspect of Contagion‘s gameplay is your death… One doesn’t simply die in Contagion! When you die, you come back to appreciate the pleasures of the flesh. Just not in the way we as living tend to. Admittedly, playing as a zombie left me a tad bored, but I did like the idea. You come back with some pretty cool abilities as well. If you’re feeling lazy, you can simply put your zombie on autopilot and he will continue to meander the world aimlessly until somebody catches his attention. This also lets you blend in with a mob so you don’t stand out as easily to other players. If you’re feeling much more aggressive, you can give a great chase and when you find other players, you can call in the cavalry to help you in your assault. I have to admit, it is much more fun playing as a zombie than sitting around waiting for the next round to begin.
In conclusion, Contagion is a game that has so much potential and I can’t wait to see what Monochrome LLC puts out in the end! It’s not a game you’re going to want to play for hours on end, but when you’re in the mood for a few rounds of zombie survival, Contagion will not leave you wanting.