Impressions, Video Games

Impressions: Plague Inc Evolved on Xbox One

Plot Summary:

Plague Inc doesn’t really have a plot. The game is basically a “destroy the world” simulator. You pick a disease from different verities, including (but not limited to) virus, bacteria, and fungus. You then proceed to evolve the disease hoping to infect the world. In most cases you are also trying to kill everyone, but there are exceptions. While you are doing this you also have to fight back against your disease being cured and people taking steps to prevent it from spreading.

Impressions:

If you’ve already played the game on mobile or PC then you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The game itself has not changed much from it’s foundation. Rather elements have just been added while the core remains the same. The main game is just to pick a disease, a difficulty, and take over the world. It plays the same as it does on PC. You pick a starting location then balance abilities, transmission, and symptoms. You buy these upgrades by popping bubbles that come up for various reasons. Red ones for instance come up when a new location is infected. While some of the three upgrades are repeated for certain diseases, there are unique ones as well. As an example, the “zombie” plague adds in abilities and symptoms unique to itself.

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There are also scenarios to pick from. They range from silly, like trying to spread Christmas cheer as your disease. To more serious like with the Black Death that adds an extreme challenge for the player. These scenarios are fun, and add a new challenge for gamers.

The game itself is on the quiet side. Everything is played on one map of the world, which you will see a lot of. You can track the infection by little dots as it moves (red or orange). The soundtrack fits well for the game, with slightly creepy and disturbing music. You would think hearing the same song over and over while seeing the same map would get repetitive, and after a time it might. However the game is so enjoyable and such a unique experience that it’s hard not to just get caught up in. The game really thrives on the fact that it takes this simple formula and does a lot with it.

What’s great about the Xbox One version of the game is that it has almost everything the PC did. The only thing missing is the simian flu which came out on the PC to celebrate the Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie. The disease is not missed that much, as it played very similarly to the zombie one. It would have been nice if it were included, but it’s absence isn’t enough to really disappoint most gamers.

Controls might take a little while to get used to. Having gotten so used to how to play with mouse and keyboard I found myself struggling a little to adjust to what it’s like with a controller. Even now I play on a slightly slower time setting than I would on PC. However the controls are solid enough. X opens the menu to evolve the disease, and everything else is pretty much tied to the Right Trigger and sticks. You move to the bubbles to pop them with the stick which automatically snaps to them when you are moving. Active abilities like moving zombies from one location to another are used by clicking in on the left stick. This is probably the worst part of the controls, but not so bad that you can’t get used to it. Once you do learn the controls well it plays very smoothly.

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Really this game is a solid port with just one massive flaw. There are save file issues. For some reason when you save it doesn’t always manage to get all the information in which causes gamers to lose progress. Diseases will become locked again, scores from the scenarios will disappear, and other unlocks will go away. It also happens pretty frequently. Frequently enough that you need to obsessively save, and never delete any saves in order to counter it. Even doing this you might still lose some information and progress. This is a glaring problem. The game works in a complete step one to get to step two format. Getting yourself to step ten only to be pushed back to step two the next time you load up the game is discouraging, disappointing, and frankly a flaw that really hurts the game.

Bottomline:

The game is fun. It’s a nice change from story heavy games, with just small goals to focus on in the much larger game. The port is great, the inclusion of almost everything from PC is appreciated, and once you adjust to the new controls it plays great. The save file issues are just glaring. It’s bad enough that it actually greatly changes my overall score of the game. Hopefully they will let out a patch soon, and when they do I will gladly update my thoughts.

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